Despite being an avid food lover and follower of many vegan food blogs, it is a very rare occasion when I utter the following words: I have a new, all-time favorite cookbook!
Yes, someone has managed to push Lauren Ulm’s loveable cookbook, Vegan Yum Yum, to the second place of my all-time favorite cookbooks list, and her name is Richa Hingle. I first got acquainted with Richa’s recipes when I turned vegan, four years ago. At that point her blog had a different name and she was at the beginning stages of sharing her kitchen creations with the world. Within these four years, I have been following her work and have been delighted to see her wonderful recipes gain acknowledgment from food lovers all over the world.
Richa’s blog featured recipe creations from various cuisines. However, it was always her Indian recipes that appealed to me the most. I have been quietly and eagerly anticipating the day she will create an Indian cookbook, dedicated to the traditional recipes I love so much, with a vegan, no-cruelty twist. That day has finally arrived!
Everything you crave when thinking of vegan Indian food
Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is what I would call the ultimate vegan Indian cookbook. The book holds all the loveable dishes we associate with Indian cuisine, from rich and creamy dals and curries, to traditional breads such as naan, dosas and rotis; soups, main dishes that will impress anyone who is not afraid of deep flavors, and rice dishes made with favorite Indian spices.
After a short browse through the appetizing recipes this book provides, I just couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and start preparing my very own thali meal, delicious and 100% vegan, without having to think of veganizing or substitutes – it was all there, well thought-out, just for us readers!
Vegan Indian taste test
I marked off about 20 recipes that totally dazzled me and that I wanted to try straight off the bat. These included: Sweet and Spicy Baked Cauliflower (Gobi Manchurian), Split Pea Soup with Spices and Coconut (Bengali Cholar Dal), Creamy Black Gram and Kidney Bean Curry (Dal Makhani), Yellow Lentil Rice and Chard (Mung Dal Chawal Biryani), Royal Tofu and Cashews (Shahi “Paneer”), and Mango Curry Tofu, among others.
This past weekend I ended up making my own Garam Masala spice mixture by following the recipe that appears in the “Chutneys, Spice Blends, and Basics” chapter of the book: success! I also made the Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry (Masoor Aur Kaddu Ki Dal) – which uses grated coconut and deep butternut squash flavors that are so creamy we just couldn’t stop munching on it; the Tofu in Spinach Curry (Palak Tofu) – which has been one of our favorite recipes of Richa’s in the past year; and the Vegetables in Vindaloo Sauce – this dish came out so tasty that even one of my guests, who is not an Indian food enthusiast, couldn’t resist it.
Other reasons to love this cookbook
In addition to the wonderful recipes Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen offers, I also love this cookbook because it displays an array of whole, plant-based foods that are truly nutritious, combining grains and legumes with a wide variety of vegetables, while offering ridiculously delicious dishes with aromas that will totally keep you hooked.
Another great reason to love this cookbook is that it is great if you have any dietary restrictions. Each recipe indicates whether it is, or could be made soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free – and that includes the breads! To top it all off, you will also find guides that indicate whether it is a simple or difficult recipe, and how long it will take you to prepare it (with preparation time, active and inactive cooking times calculated in). Amazing, right?
What can I say – I am totally in love with this wonderful cookbook! Those of you who are Indian food lovers will delight in the recipes and flavors this wonderful book has to offer (I felt like I was sitting in a top-notch Indian restaurant as I was sampling the dishes I’ve made from this book); and those of you who are unfamiliar with the Indian cuisine: get ready to fall in love! The only two things that could have made it even better for me would have been more chutney recipes and more step-by-step picture guides for the breads. Other than that, the book offers more information than I thought it would and a glorious abundance of mouthwatering recipes – who knew there are so many wonderful variations of these beautiful dishes?I’m delighted to award this book with The Vegan Woman’s Recommendation Label! And just so you can get right into these gorgeous recipes while you’re waiting for your copy of the book to arrive, I asked Richa to share one of her recipes from the book with you… So here it is, Richa’s vegan mango curry recipe.
Cover Image: Courtesy of Richa Hingle. Modification: TVW.