TRK: "Vegan Indian Cooking" Book Review (In time for World Vegetarian Day!)

In this Tiny Red Kitchen post I am reviewing  the Vegan Indian Cooking cookbook by Anupy Singla.  I was pleased to receive my very own copy of the cookbook to review, but other than that did not get any compensation. (Nor did I need any...I already purchased her first cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker and love it!)  I met Anupy at the Brands and Bloggers Summit in Chicago this summer  and snatched up one of her cookbooks right away.  Her blog is "Indian as Apple Pie" (Indian food with an American Flair) and she is MARVELOUS. Yep.  Just you wait.

If you love eating and cooking or haven't eaten or cooked Indian food before, this is your cookbook!  It was well explained from history to process to final recipes.  The food is delicious in the way a restaurant cannot touch.  As my husband said "This is good.  It is REALLY good.  And it isn't overpowering like some Indian food we've eaten."  For those of you who know my hubs isn't exactly a rah rah kind of fellow, this is HIGH praise.

I adore Indian food but there are not any locals joints here in Valparaiso, Indiana.  So I make my own.  I'm also lazy, so the slow cooker recipes will be great.  We go meatless quite often so the vegan version will be good too.  Then there was THIS!  I agreed to go meat free for the month of October, now I am entered to (maybe) win $1,000!  Whoo hoo!  I expect I could loose some weight, too. Although my Dad is rocking it out in the weight loss dept. with Paleo Diet.
The Tiny Red Kitchen at Full Capacity
I couldn't decide what to make for the review, so I made three things plus a few spice dealies.  Anupy has AN AWESOME SPICE TRAY called a "Masala Dabba" or "Spice Tiffin" and anyone could get that for me for my birthday in November.  Seriously cool.  And a lot better than my ziplock bag collection of spices for Indian & Ethiopian culinary adventures.  I had just run out of Garam Masala and there was an explanation for that on page 34 with a recipe I missed till now on page 59!  Plus she encourages us foodies to roast and grind our own cumin & coriander;  I had the seeds so I did that too.  And do not get me started on the ginger garlic paste page 67.  I thought about eating that straight out of the food processor it smelled so good.  Why on earth would I buy a jar of that for $6 when I can make it myself?

Starting the Mock Keema Magic
I also made "Baked, Spiced Tofu" from page 68.  It was simple to make and I especially liked that she didn't have you press it like most baked tofu recipes....then again I didn't like it as well as I do pressed and marinated tofu like this.  Her goal was to make a replacement for Indian Paneer, a cheese cube in many she didn't have a lot resting on it as a stand alone item.  And it needs SALT!  (Sez my over demanding 'merican palate!) I cut it into cubes and added it to the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce.  My daughter Portia thought it was chicken!  Hee hee hee. Nope.  Not chicken.

Mushrooms in Cream Sauce

I made "Mushrooms in Cream Sauce" page 188 and since you are paying attention you wonder what makes a VEGAN (i.e.: no animal products) cream sauce.  The same bit of delectable magic I experienced when Tal Ronnen first introduced it.  Basically you soak RAW cashews overnight in water, run them through a food processor and you have a thick creamy sludge that stands in for cream in pretty  much anything.  I eat it by the spoonful.  PLUS if you fail to plan ahead/fridge is too full or produce you aren't eating/you are lazy you can pour boiling water over the cashews and just throw them in the food processor after a bit instead of soaking overnight....still fabu. I finished making this mushroom dish and thought it might be kind of bland and boring.  I snuck a bite (or four....) and it was and flavorful without being obvious, or anything close to bland.  I think I exclaimed out loud in the kitchen all alone how good it was.
Cookbook's Keema

My Keema...PRETTY!

I finished up the adventure with "Spiced Crumbles with Peas (Mock Keema)" on page 205.  It seemed to use a lot of spice combinations and I thought it might be too much.  Then I reread the directions and realized I needed TWO 12 ounce bags of crumbles.  I had ONE of Quorn which is awesome but creepy in a 'we'll all be eating this in the future for all of our food' kind of way.  I diced up some Boca burgers to get enough 'meat' for the recipe.  WHEW.  Glad there wasn't an emergency run to the store at 5pm on a Sunday.  Oh, this Keema dish was my favorite.  So spicy and tasty and I would not have known it wasn't meat for one second. Unless it comes back to remind me later, in a most indelicate non sexy manner. But, I'm married already right?  John should have known what he was getting himself into amiright?

I used my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for whole wheat naan, flattening out a peach sized lump of dough and throwing it into a skillet with a tablespoon of oil on high, flipping it after a bit.  it's not real naan, but for us it is a fine stand in.  I looked through the Vegan Indian Cooking book to see if Anupy had a naan recipe, which she omits for the healthier "rotis" and now cannot wait to make stuffed rotis from the book.  MMMM!

We set up in the living room to watch an Indian documentary during dinner to round out the trip to India.  The girls are raised to eat food we eat, but sometimes....well, this was sometimes.  They gobbled the naan because no bread item stands a chance around those two.  Portia asked for seconds of the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce but Libby didn't feel adventurous today.  She isn't even two years old, I won't hold it against her.  And for the record she barely touched her cottage cheese either.

When I finally stopped eating for a moment and caught my breath, I asked John what he thought and you already heard his rousing approval.  He had seconds and I am pretty sure he cleaned up the girls leftovers too!  Portia kept asking for more of the mushrooms, but we cut her off at a point.  Anupy said in the book the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce was the recipe that started the book, and it is obvious how that happened.  

I strongly recommend this "Vegan Indian Cooking" cookbook.  It is filled with gorgeous pictures, useful information (did you know that curry powder in your cupboard isn't Indian???) and personality along with wholesome food almost anyone will enjoy making and eating.  (If you are the white bread & slice of Kraft cheese singles equals a grilled cheese sandwich type...this ain't your book.)  BUT if you are a foodie, health conscious and adventurous, go buy this book now.  And you can buy the spice tray AKA "Spice Tiffin" for someone special too.  You know.  In November.

Thank you, Anupy for such great cookbooks.  You are making vegan eating and Indian cooking more accessible and DELICIOUS for all with "Vegan Indian Cooking"!

Eat Up!

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