Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Vibrant India

One of my favorite escapes within the city of Chicago is a trip to Devon Avenue's Desi Corridor. I stock up on tea and cardamom - I make fresh, homemade chai tea every morning and the spices and bulk orange pekoe tea at Patel Brothers on Devon are fresh and affordable. I tuck into one of many restaurants for Bhelpuri, one of my favorite Indian treats, and I window shop and just enjoy the sights and sounds. It's like traveling to a different country and yet it's only about a fifteen minute drive from my home!

Here's a new book that promises to bring the flavors of India into your home:
Vibrant India, by Chitra Agrawal, the acclaimed chef and owner of Brooklyn Delhi.

I'm always looking to add more veggie-centered meals to my repertoire, and this veggie-riffic debut cookbook celebrates the flavorful fare of South India.

Chitra Agrawal is a lifelong vegetarian, and all of the recipes are veggie based. The book travels from Bangalore, Agrawal's mom's hometown, to Brooklyn. Some refer to this style of Indian home cooking as the “yoga diet”: light and fresh, the focus is on grains, legumes, fresh produce, coconut, and yogurt—along with herbs, citrus, chiles, and spice. 

The wonderful recipes are all adapted for the home cook, so you won't feel over your head in new techniques, and include step-by-step tutorials to help you bring the flavors of India into your home with recipes for...

  • classic savory crepe dosa, filled with lemony turmeric potatoes and cilantro coconut  chutney 
  • quick vegetable stir frys (corn, basil, and leeks flavored with butter, cumin, and black pepper)
  • salads (citrus red cabbage and fennel slaw with black mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chile)
  • yogurt raitas (shredded beets and coconut in yogurt)
  • chutneys and pickles (preserved Meyer lemon in chile brine) 
  • hearty stews (aromatic black eyed peas, lentils, and greens)
  • coconut curries (summer squash in an herby coconut yogurt sauce)
  • fragrant rice dishes (lime dill rice with pistachios)
  • snacks (popcorn topped with curry leaf butter)
  • creative desserts (banana, coconut, and cardamom ice cream)
  • refreshing drinks (chile watermelon juice with mint)

Most recipes are gluten-free and many are vegan or can be easily modified  to fit your dietary needs.

If you love Indian food like or do, or are just looking to add more flavorful, veggie-rific meals to your diet, check out Vibrant India, by Chitra Agrawal from your local library or independent bookstore today!

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