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

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

by Madhur Jaffrey

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101874875
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/27/2015
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 372,043
File size: 185 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

MADHUR JAFFREY is the author of many previous cookbooks—seven of which have won James Beard Awards—and was named to the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation. She is the recipient of an honorary CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for her services to drama and promoting the appreciation of Indian food and culture. She is also an award-winning actress, having won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival, with numerous major motion pictures to her credit. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

red pepper and tomato soup
lal shimla mirch aur tamatar ka soup

1 cup moong dal (skinned and split mung beans)
4 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
1 medium onion (about 5 oz), peeled and chopped
One 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 lb red peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon nice red chili powder
2 medium tomatoes (about 10 oz in all), chopped
11/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

A very nutritious and delicious soup. If you leave out the cream, it is vegan.
As stock, I use the broth from cooking a dal, a trick commonly used in South India. In that area the leftover dal is used to make a curry (sambar), but I have used it later to make a risotto.
serves 6

Wash the dal in several changes of water. Drain. Put in a pan with 12 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover partially, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scoop off and reserve 5 cups of the liquid. Discard the dal solids or use them to make a risotto (see page 000).

Put the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, ginger, red peppers, and fennel seeds. Stir and fry for 5–6 minutes or until the vegetables just start to brown. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and tomatoes. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add 2 cups of the reserved liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool a little, then blend the soup and strain it through a coarse strainer.

Return the soup to the empty pan. Add the salt, 2 cups more of the reserved liquid, and the cream (if using). Stir to mix and see if the thickness is what you want. You can thin the soup further with some of the remaining liquid. Reheat, stirring, when you are ready to eat.

red lentil and zucchini soup
masoor dal aur courgette ka soup

2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
4 cloves
1 medium onion (about 6 oz), peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon peeled and crushed garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4–3/4 teaspoon nice red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils), picked over, washed, and drained
1 medium potato (about 4 oz), peeled and diced
Handful of fresh green cilantro tops
10–12 fresh curry leaves, lightly crushed in your hand
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (or yellow squash)
About 13/4 teaspoons salt

for the yogurt sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 packed cup fresh cilantro, leaves and small stems only
2 fresh hot green chilies, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt

This delicious soup is a meal in itself, as it contains legumes and vegetables and is served with a yogurt sauce. Slices of whole-grain bread offered on the side would make the meal nutritionally complete.
The sauce that accompanies the soup is really a chutney, which may also be used to dress simply cooked vegetables, such as boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas, or diced and steamed zucchini.
serves 4–5

Put the oil in a good-sized pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cloves and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry them, stirring, for about 6–7 minutes or until they just start to brown. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the ginger and garlic. Add the ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric and stir for a minute. Now add 5 cups water, the masoor dal, potatoes, fresh cilantro, and curry leaves (take care, as these will splutter). Stir, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.

Add the zucchini and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat again, and cook for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool a little.

Blend the soup finely in two batches. Return it to the pan and add 1 cup water or more to thin it to your liking. Reheat as and when needed.

To make the yogurt sauce: Put all the ingredients in a blender in the order listed and whiz until smooth. This sauce should be refrigerated if not used soon. Serve it cold or at room temperature, drizzled generously over the very hot soup. More sauce should be offered on the side.

tomato rasam soup
tamatar rasam ka soup

4 tablespoons plain toovar dal, well washed in several changes of water and drained
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan or gram flour)
3/4 teaspoon tamarind concentrate (sold in bottles)
1 tablespoon rasam powder
2 cups tomato puree
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons olive or peanut oil
Generous pinch of ground asafetida
1/4 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
1 dried hot red chili
6–8 fresh curry leaves, lightly crushed in your hand

Rasams in South India are thin, watery drinks that are very hot, sour, and spicy. They are generally served with rice or just drunk on their own, but you can read more about them on page 359. For this particular recipe, I have thickened the drink so it can be served as a soup. Occasionally, I like to serve it with a little dollop of plain rice in the center. At other times, I serve it in small coffee cups even before my guests come to the dinner table. They just drink it from the cups.
Indian grocers sell rasam powder. Get a good South Indian brand, such as MTR.
serves 4–5

Put the dal and 31/2 cups water in a good-sized pan and bring to a boil. Skim off the froth, then stir in the turmeric. Cover partially, lower the heat, and cook for 30–40 minutes or until the dal is soft.

Meanwhile, put the chickpea flour, tamarind concentrate, and rasam powder into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix to a smooth paste. Add another tablespoon of water and mix again. Add the tomato puree, salt, and 12 fl oz/350 ml water and mix well.

When the dal is done, add the passata mixture to the pan. Mix and bring to a boil. Cover partially, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Let the soup cool a bit, then blend until smooth. Return it to the pan.

Put the oil in a small frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the asafetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Add the urad dal. As soon as it starts to pick up color, add the mustard seeds and chili. When the mustard seeds pop and the chili darkens, a matter of seconds, add the curry leaves (take care, as these will splutter). Stir once and pour the contents of the frying pan into the soup. Stir and cover.

Reheat the soup, removing the chili and curry leaves before serving.

cauliflower soup
gobi ka soup

3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 medium onion (about 61/2 oz), peeled and chopped
1 medium potato (about 61/2 oz), peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 fresh hot green chili, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon nice red chili powder
About 3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
Generous handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lime juice (optional)
4–5 tablespoons heavy cream

A simple soup that I loved as a child. It reminds me of Indian hotel soups in the waning years of the Raj.
serves 4–6

Put the oil in a good-sized pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, and a few seconds later the fennel seeds. Wait 2 seconds and add the onions and potatoes. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Stir for 1 minute.

Turn the heat to medium low and add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder. Stir for 1 minute. Now put in the cauliflower, tomatoes, salt, and fresh cilantro. Stir for 1 minute. Add 4 cups water, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Let the soup cool a bit, then blend it in two batches. Taste for seasoning, adding some black pepper, the lime juice if you want it, and the cream. You can push the soup through a sieve or food mill if you want a very smooth texture. Reheat to serve.

spicy paneer slices
tala masaledar paneer

12 oz fresh Indian cheese (paneer), defrosted if frozen
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2–1 teaspoon nice red chili powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon rice flour (also called rice powder)
1 tablespoon chickpea flour (besan or gram flour)
Oil, for frying
Sprinkling of chaat masala (optional)

My friends Juji and Viru Dayal had told me that the food at the Chinmaya Mission in Delhi was very good and had taken me to sample some of it. I knew that the main branch was attached to the Guruvayur Temple in Kerala, so the food would be both northern and southern. The first dish I was offered was this spicy pa-neer from the north. It was superb.
You can make your own paneer or buy it ready-made from Indian grocers. It is generally frozen in rectangles, but does not take long to defrost. I just put the whole unopened packet in a bowl of warm water.
serves 4

From the Chinmaya Mission in Delhi

Cut the paneer into slices about 11/2 inches square and 1/2 inch thick. The shape of your slab of paneer will dictate the actual shape, but make the slices no thicker than 1/2 inch.

Lay the slices out in a single layer. Dust the first side with half the salt, half the chili powder, and half the turmeric. Rub these in as evenly as you can. Turn the slices over and do exactly the same on the other side with the remaining salt, chili powder, and turmeric.

Combine the rice flour and chickpea flour in a small bowl. Dip one paneer slice at a time into the bowl. Shake off the excess flour and put the slice on a board or plate. Repeat with the remaining slices. You can cover these slices and hold them for an hour.

Just before you are ready to eat, heat a 1/2 inch depth of oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, slide in half the slices and fry them for about a minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Do a second batch the same way.

Lightly sprinkle the paneer with the chaat masala, if desired, and serve immediately.

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