Thursday, December 3, 2020

Cookbook Review: East

Sometimes a cookbook comes along that's as much a work of art as it is a cookbook. That's the case with East by Meera Sodha. The tagline "120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing" lets you know the "east" refers to the eastern part of the globe. The hardcover is a natural brown paper with a subdued orange, purple, and green illustration, and the inside is filled with beautiful, full-page color photographs of nearly every dish. 

Even the table of contents is gorgeous! As you can see from this list, this isn't a fully vegan cookbook. Some recipes do call for eggs and dairy, but since Eastern dishes tend to be less heavy on dairy, there are more vegan recipes than non-vegan ones. The vegan recipes are labeled with a V, and the non-vegan ones are easily veganizable with vegan egg subs and plant cheese.

Indian cuisine is my favorite, and there's plenty of that in here, but I also love Indo-Chinese, Japanese ramen dishes, Thai food, and Korean food. It's all in East!

I tried two recipes from the book, starting with this White Miso Ramen with Tofu & Asparagus. This is a classic soymilk ramen, so the broth is made with unsweetened soymilk, tahini, miso, shiitake, garlic, and ginger. It's super-flavorful! You simmer the broth and then blend in the Vitamix before adding the chile-spiced tofu, edamame, and asparagus. For the noodles, I used Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice Ramen, but any ramen noodle would work here.

I really love the creamy tofu dish, but I loved the Chile Tofu even more. This Indo-Chinese recipe reminded me of the gobi manchurian I loved to order at the old Woodlands vegetarian Indian restaurant in Memphis that closed down years ago. The robust sauce is made with cumin, garlic, ginger, chiles, tomato paste, and soy sauce, and it coats cornstarch-fried tofu and sauteed bell peppers. 

A few other recipes I've got my eye on: Quick Coconut Dal with Tomato Sambol, Sweet Potato & Eggplant Massaman Curry, Scrambled Tofu Akuri (a Parsi recipe), and Mushroom Mapo Tofu. The dessert chapter is less vegan-friendly than the others, but there are a few options: Salted Miso Brownies, Sunken Ginger Plum & Spelt Cake, and Stem Ginger Chocolate Truffles.


Cadry's Kitchen said...

How interesting! They also sent me this cookbook, but it didn't have any color photographs at all. It was all black and white, and the pages were the texture of construction paper. It was so odd! But I assumed they must be sending temp copies to save money or something? I'd never had that happen before. Maybe it was a fluke!

Anyway, they recipes you tried look delicious!

Hillary said...

OMG, this cookbook looks right up my alley.
The ramen looks INCREDIBLE!!!!!