How does this woman do it? Monisha Bharadwaj presents us with the most gorgeous books, each one more sumptuous than the last. The photography of India by Jenner Zimmermann is stunning and the food photography by Will Heap is almost edible.
India’s Vegetarian Cooking is a regional guide to some of the most traditional and delectable recipes from every corner of the subcontinent. You will recognise some of them that have become popular restaurant fare but there are many more that will be new to most of us. There are, in fact, over 130 dishes which typify so much that is fine about Indian vegetarian cuisine.
India’s Vegetarian Cooking isn’t just a cookbook but it is liberally laced with Monisha’s poetic prose which will add so much to your understanding of the religious context, historic evolution and ayurvedic perspective of food in India. The author has been lucky in her choice of parents who encouraged their young daughter to try new foods and to appreciate them in their unique regional setting.
Monisha Bharadwaj writes with passion and evident pride about her love of all things culinary: “… my love of food and cooking developed. It was almost like a bud opening into a flower, the myriad taste sensations gradually becoming more and more distinct as I grew up.” Not only is this lady a fabulous cook but her writing is rich, colourful and evocative…. I think she models herself on me!
You’ll want to know a bit more about the food and I can tell you it’s scrumptious. Whilst not being a fully certified vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat and seldom eat red meat. These recipes would, however, entice even the most committed meat-eater with their flavourful ingredients and comforting textures. Each one is easy to follow and not expensive to produce.
I am a big fan of lentils of all types and Tangy Lentils with Crisp Bread (Dal Pakwan) is exceptional. But one of my all time favourites is Potato and Garlic Balls Encased in Batter (Batata Vada). It’s typical Mumbai street food with a lovely crisp outside and a soft tasty interior. There are so many recipes here that deserve a mention…well, probably 130 of them!
India’s Vegetarian Cooking is a “must have” for any lover of India and her food but also for the discerning collector of cookbooks. This is a classy book from a classy writer.
India’s Vegetarian Cooking
Author: Monisha Bharadwaj
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018