Monday, June 29, 2015

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

Here lately, my favorite cookbooks are those dedicated to cuisines of other countries — especially Ethiopian and Indian food. Those are cuisines that I didn't grow up eating, and so when I was learning cook, they were completely off my radar. And though each cuisine is very different (and their native countries are nowhere near one another), they both were mystifying to me. So many new spices and flavors to work with.

Kittee Berns' Teff Love is educating me on Ethiopian, but up until now, I didn't really own a cookbook dedicated to vegan Indian food. I'd dabbled here and there with dals and curries and even a few Indian flatbreads. But they were from recipes I'd found online or from cookbooks that contained a wide range of global fare. But finally, I own a great totally vegan, totally Indian cookbook! It's Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen, and it's filled with recipes for all of my favorite dishes to order from Indian restaurants, plus lots of stuff I've never heard of.

If you're not familiar, Richa Mingle blogs over at Vegan Richa, and she's always posting recipes for really delicious things with gorgeous accompanying photos. Her blog recipes aren't always for Indian food, but many are. But this book, which is loaded with full-color pics, focuses on Richa's native cuisine and family recipes.

There are chapters for vegetable curries (the Roasted Cauliflower and Radish Curry sounds amazing!), dals (Sprouted Mung Bean Curry with Dinner Rolls or Misal Pav is my kind of street food), flatbreads (Avocado Naan!), and of course, desserts (vegan Besan Ladoo or Sweet Chickpea Flour Balls!). She even has a chapter filled with homemade spice mixes and chutneys.

There are so many things that I want to make from this book. But I narrowed it down to three recipes for this review. I had everything in my pantry to make Mom's Chickpea Flour Pancakes (Pudla), so I whipped up a batch for breakfast every day last week.

Richa suggests stuffing these omelet-like crepes with chopped veggies or vegan feta. I went a little crazy and stuffed mine with sauteed zucchini and squash and Heido Ho Smoky Chia Cheeze. I served these with some Onion-Jalapeno Chutney that had been lurking in my pantry, unopened, for over a year. These tasted a little like tofu omelets but not quite as eggy. More bready or pancakey. And I loved the strong flavor of red onion and cilantro in the batter.

For dinner tonight, I made a couple more recipes — Kofta Balls in Nut-Free Cream Sauce and Mom's Okra & Onion Stir-fry.

The Kofta Balls were so much fun. They're are made with grated potato, chickpeas, and a bunch of spices, and then they're baked (thankfully, my oven worked this time). I considered making my own garam masala using Richa's recipe, but I got lazy and bought a jar from Whole Foods instead.

The sauce looks creamy, like it'd contain silken tofu or cashews. But it's made creamy with cauliflower! Fresh, chopped tomato, cauliflower, hemp seeds, and spices are sauteed until tender, and then you cream the sauce in the blender. Since it's nut-free, the sauce is really low-cal, so I can eat more of it! I added fresh tabasco peppers from our garden, so this was really spicy. But that's how I like it.

The Okra & Onion Stir-fry is simple and delicious. Okra's in season now, but I had some home-canned, sliced okra that my Granny gave me from last season. So I put that to use here instead of fresh. And it worked great! I just didn't cook it as long because home-canned okra gets pretty soft in the mason jar. I added some fresh jalapeno and yellow cayenne from our garden.

This is such a fabulous cookbook! I can't wait to get into the kitchen and try more things!


Corey Cananza said...

I’ve tried all three diets- veganism, vegetarianism, and a meat diet and I’ve always felt the healthiest with a vegan diet. Eating meat always made my energy levels decline and milk and eggs did the same but to a lesser degree. Plenty of protein can be found in so many natural vegan sources so the myth that vegans don’t get enough protein is wrong too. Keep up your good work.

Sheridan said...

Ooooh, I think I would like this cookbook very much! Everything looks great!

Anonymous said...

I love this book! I'm biased because I recipe tested for it, haha, but it truly is awesome. I'm obsessed with the mango tofu, the cumin-scented rice and the roasted cauliflower and radishes. Just tried the potato and quinoa patties this week and those are baller, too. Never thought I could make Indian food till Richa came along.