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Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking

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No one knows Indian food like Madhur Jaffrey. For more than forty years, the “godmother of Indian cooking” (The Independent on Sunday) has introduced Western home cooks to the vibrant cuisines of her homeland. Now, in Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking, the seven-time James Beard Award–winning author shares the delectable, healthful, No one knows Indian food like Madhur Jaffrey. For more than forty years, the “godmother of Indian cooking” (The Independent on Sunday) has introduced Western home cooks to the vibrant cuisines of her homeland. Now, in Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking, the seven-time James Beard Award–winning author shares the delectable, healthful, vegetable- and grain-based foods enjoyed around the Indian subcontinent. Vegetarian cooking is a way of life for more than 300 million Indians. Jaffrey travels from north to south, and from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, collecting recipes for the very tastiest dishes along the way. She visits the homes and businesses of shopkeepers, writers, designers, farmers, doctors, weavers, and more, gathering their stories and uncovering the secrets of their most delicious family specialties. From a sweet, sour, hot, salty Kodava Mushroom Curry with Coconut originating in the forested regions of South Karnataka to simple, crisp Okra Fries dusted with chili powder, turmeric, and chickpea flour; and from Stir-Fried Spinach, Andhra Style (with ginger, coriander, and cumin) to the mung bean pancakes she snacks on at a roadside stand, here Jaffrey brings together the very best of vegetable-centric Indian cuisine and explains how home cooks can easily replicate these dishes—and many more for beans, grains, and breads—in their own kitchens. With more than two hundred recipes, beautifully illustrated throughout, and including personal photographs from Jaffrey’s own travels, Vegetarian India is a kitchen essential for vegetable enthusiasts and home cooks everywhere. From the Hardcover edition.


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No one knows Indian food like Madhur Jaffrey. For more than forty years, the “godmother of Indian cooking” (The Independent on Sunday) has introduced Western home cooks to the vibrant cuisines of her homeland. Now, in Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking, the seven-time James Beard Award–winning author shares the delectable, healthful, No one knows Indian food like Madhur Jaffrey. For more than forty years, the “godmother of Indian cooking” (The Independent on Sunday) has introduced Western home cooks to the vibrant cuisines of her homeland. Now, in Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking, the seven-time James Beard Award–winning author shares the delectable, healthful, vegetable- and grain-based foods enjoyed around the Indian subcontinent. Vegetarian cooking is a way of life for more than 300 million Indians. Jaffrey travels from north to south, and from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, collecting recipes for the very tastiest dishes along the way. She visits the homes and businesses of shopkeepers, writers, designers, farmers, doctors, weavers, and more, gathering their stories and uncovering the secrets of their most delicious family specialties. From a sweet, sour, hot, salty Kodava Mushroom Curry with Coconut originating in the forested regions of South Karnataka to simple, crisp Okra Fries dusted with chili powder, turmeric, and chickpea flour; and from Stir-Fried Spinach, Andhra Style (with ginger, coriander, and cumin) to the mung bean pancakes she snacks on at a roadside stand, here Jaffrey brings together the very best of vegetable-centric Indian cuisine and explains how home cooks can easily replicate these dishes—and many more for beans, grains, and breads—in their own kitchens. With more than two hundred recipes, beautifully illustrated throughout, and including personal photographs from Jaffrey’s own travels, Vegetarian India is a kitchen essential for vegetable enthusiasts and home cooks everywhere. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking

  1. 4 out of 5

    Highlyeccentric

    This is a delight to read, and a logistical pain in the ass to cook from, unless you live somewhere with access to really good Indian grocers. Asfoetida, where do you even BUY that? Still, I'm getting there. My cupboard is now home to four different kinds of daal. I've even put my coffee grinder to work grinding spices, because that's the kind of person I have become.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I learned to make banjan bharta and chapatis, and I shopped for ingredients at a specialty store so altogether I had a very fun experience with this book!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Viriam

    Probably the first cookbook I owned was from Madhur Jaffrey, and i still use it. This one hits my palate straight on, I'm a vegetarian and I love Indian food. Lots of great recipes combined with Madhur's sense of what is new and delicious. great book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ania Gaska

    I was hoping that this cookbook would make me less reliant on the amazing restaurant in my neighborhood that feeds me - and I feel empowered to cook more vegetables, better!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I came across this cookbook in my most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living which had some recipes from the cookbook and I was intrigued. We enjoy Indian food and I thought that some of the side vegetable dishes and flavored rices looked interesting. I did find some side dishes and rices that I would like to try. I have already made the fried potato puffs which we all enjoyed. I was disappointed that there was not a recipe for potato bhajias or naan. After a while some of the recipes just I came across this cookbook in my most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living which had some recipes from the cookbook and I was intrigued. We enjoy Indian food and I thought that some of the side vegetable dishes and flavored rices looked interesting. I did find some side dishes and rices that I would like to try. I have already made the fried potato puffs which we all enjoyed. I was disappointed that there was not a recipe for potato bhajias or naan. After a while some of the recipes just started to sound like they would taste about the same as they used the same spices. Also, some of the drinks just did not sound appetizing. However, I'm looking forward to trying some other recipes in the cookbook and hope my family will enjoy them too!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Preethi

    That's a great collection of veggie recipes. Am definitely going to keep this book on my dining table to remind me of the recipes I bookmarked.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    I'm a bit tossed up whether this book should be a purchase. When compared to her book from 35 years ago, Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, it now has pretty pictures and more on exotic ingredients that you can now get in the US. This book is focused on India as a whole, which is like European cuisine, a very broad category. I like this, at home I'm not required to cook for a specific part of India. The recipes are updated, for example; the Chapati/Roti recipe has been I'm a bit tossed up whether this book should be a purchase. When compared to her book from 35 years ago, Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, it now has pretty pictures and more on exotic ingredients that you can now get in the US. This book is focused on India as a whole, which is like European cuisine, a very broad category. I like this, at home I'm not required to cook for a specific part of India. The recipes are updated, for example; the Chapati/Roti recipe has been updated and the technique more thoroughly explained, it might be a workable recipe for other than 5 year old Indian children. While there's not a lot of overlap between the previous one and this one, it looks like she's cut the oil used in half, so it's probably a tad healthier, though like the previous book, there's no nutritional information given. Most of the recipes are straightforward, a decent cook can make most of these without issue. The ones I've made from her previous book were tasty, so I expect that remains true in this one. There's still a fair amount of oil and frying in this book, so if you watch your weight, watch out! My Standard Cookbook Rant

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I won't review this book as it wouldn't be fair. I will just warn anyone who already owns Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy Vegetarian that this is almost identical, but Americanised (eg. only includes old fashioned measurements). I did not know this when I bought it online. Curry Easy Vegetarian is an excellent book (and contains metric as well as old fashioned measurements), so if you are American, go ahead and buy this version. I would recommend the UK version to everyone else. The best recipe I've I won't review this book as it wouldn't be fair. I will just warn anyone who already owns Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy Vegetarian that this is almost identical, but Americanised (eg. only includes old fashioned measurements). I did not know this when I bought it online. Curry Easy Vegetarian is an excellent book (and contains metric as well as old fashioned measurements), so if you are American, go ahead and buy this version. I would recommend the UK version to everyone else. The best recipe I've tried so far is the Paneer Makhani (Fresh Indian Cheese in a Butter-tomato Sauce, but everything has been good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is now the fourth cookbook I own by this author and I think I will be using it as often as I do the first three. Jaffrey has collected recipes from home cooks around India, often by looking over their shoulder as they made a dish. As always, her recipes are carefully written and tested: they work. Most of them are simple, not terribly time consuming for the experienced home cook, and I have yet to try one that hasn't been delicious. Most have even been a hit with the kids. Many of these This is now the fourth cookbook I own by this author and I think I will be using it as often as I do the first three. Jaffrey has collected recipes from home cooks around India, often by looking over their shoulder as they made a dish. As always, her recipes are carefully written and tested: they work. Most of them are simple, not terribly time consuming for the experienced home cook, and I have yet to try one that hasn't been delicious. Most have even been a hit with the kids. Many of these recipes are actually vegan, or could easily be made so (while ignoring the chapter on eggs and dairy), often simply by leaving out or substituting the yogurt (which I love).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aja Marsh

    i've enjoyed flipping through this book. the majority of recipes seem simple and approachable, which is a nice change from many indian cookbooks that seem to overwhelm you with ingredients (though all of the ingredients really do add a special something, not a criticism, it's just nice not to get that "aack!" feeling when you open the book). i can't yet decide if this is one i'd like to add to my collection more permanently or not-- i do have another indian cookbook, but i could see reaching out i've enjoyed flipping through this book. the majority of recipes seem simple and approachable, which is a nice change from many indian cookbooks that seem to overwhelm you with ingredients (though all of the ingredients really do add a special something, not a criticism, it's just nice not to get that "aack!" feeling when you open the book). i can't yet decide if this is one i'd like to add to my collection more permanently or not-- i do have another indian cookbook, but i could see reaching out for this one more often.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    This one...is a little overwhelming. It's huge, there's tons of stuff in it, and a lot of things aren't pictured, so it's hard to get an idea of what they actually are. But a number of the recipes sound really good. I think this is just a little more intense than I'm looking for. Also, at some point somebody clearly made the Tomato Rice because on that page (and the ones surrounding it) there's a bunch of oil, a big ole piece of tomato skin, and several colonies of mildew--ew! The perils of This one...is a little overwhelming. It's huge, there's tons of stuff in it, and a lot of things aren't pictured, so it's hard to get an idea of what they actually are. But a number of the recipes sound really good. I think this is just a little more intense than I'm looking for. Also, at some point somebody clearly made the Tomato Rice because on that page (and the ones surrounding it) there's a bunch of oil, a big ole piece of tomato skin, and several colonies of mildew--ew! The perils of checking out cookbooks from the library......

  12. 4 out of 5

    TLP

    A wonderful addition to my cookbook library both from an Indian and vegetarian perspective. I'm learning about Dals, loving okra and enjoying healthy, creative snacking. In cookbook reviews, I often see concerns about the availability of ingredients but I have found that once you have stocked your pantry with Indian spices and dried goods... you have only to grab your favorite vegetables and cook!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Salvatore

    Solid recipes, even with tinkering (which was necessary. Bright flavours throughout - the bhagara baigan only gets better as it matures. The book itself is gorgeous. Worth it for the vegetarian and the Indian food love. She even has chili paneer...I also would have never thought that toasted sesame seeds on top of warm caramelized bananas would be a perfect combination.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paris Harper-Hardy

    An excellent cookbook! I cooked my way through about 25 recipes in this book. Although I didn't find many of my Indian restaurant favorites in here (no Malai Kofta or Tikka masala, but saag paneer was there!) there was a whole chapter on delicious dals--wherein I discovered a new favorite seasoning, asafoetida, excellent breads, and many original recipes (Mangos mumtaz).

  15. 4 out of 5

    El

    This is probably my favorite cookbook now, and absolutely the best Indian cookbook I have ever used. I've made so many of these recipes, and everything has turned out really well. I don't consider myself anything more than an average cook to a house of 4, so I was pleasantly surprised how often the recipes seemed fairly easy to execute.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ambur Taft

    Beautiful cookbook. Some ingredients may be a little harder to get if you live in a small town on the peninsula, but the execution of the dishes seems fairly reasonable. All of it looks extremely delicious.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Very cool. I like that Jaffrey divides sections regionally and by type of dish, plus the inclusion of interesting anecdotes about where she learned the recipe and the differences between types of Indian cuisine. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet though!

  18. 5 out of 5

    LemontreeLime

    Read this quickly, but predict will be buying it and reading it again. Jaffrey showcases recipes I've never seen or heard of, and even if I don't use all the spices, I will definitely be using the new (to me) methods!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Beautiful and endlessly fascinating. There are a lot of things I either can't make, or need to substitute, as Midwestern towns aren't always good places to find fresh curry leaves. But enjoyed every minute of this book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I've cooked through many of Madhur Jaffrey's books, but this might be the best one up to now. Hands-down the best photography of her delicious food. I made 15 recipes for a dinner party. Every one turned out well. Who misses meat when vegetarian food can be so filling and beautiful?

  21. 4 out of 5

    E

    Five stars is for the clarity of recipes & reliability of results, as well as the excellent photographs and commentary. This is not an encyclopedic cookbook but a functional one, and a joyful one as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    Love this. Jaffrey includes recipes from all across India. While the spice list might be a bit complex at times, you are eating some really legit Indian food. YUM.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vishal Agarwal

    Great read Great recipe for first time Indian cooks. Highly recommended to know different regions cooking in diverse country of India. T

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Signed copy from Omnivore in San Francisco :) First recipe tried: Chickpeas in a Fresh Cilantro Sauce, easy and delicious. I used 2 Thai bird chilis and a bit more ginger.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Spices are tricky to find. Must live near urban centers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Worth the price for the cover recipe alone. That cauliflower is amazing. (Oh, and the dozen or more other things I've made.)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Things I bookmarked to make: chili paneer, quinoa "upma" with corn and mint, paneer in butter-tomato sauce.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Grace Jones-Taylor

    My favorite cookbook to date! Easy to follow, DELICIOUS recipes. Every one I’ve tried has turned out beautifully.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Beautiful, with careful and compelling descriptions of where each recipe originates, inviting readers on a tour of India through the tastebuds.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Very accessible and delicious recipes! made the aloo gobi and it came together very quickly. i liked the descriptions before each recipe, too.

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