Sunday, April 16, 2017
Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn by Chitra Agrawal is a colorful introduction to the vegetarian fare of South India. The unique recipes in this book reflect the author's background, and she does an excellent job of introducing vegetarian Indian cuisine to those of us who are unfamiliar with the cooking methods and ingredients required to create these mouth-watering dishes.
Vibrant India contains a lengthy introduction where Chitra Agrawal explains the cooking methods and different ways of seasoning the recipes require. My junior chef and I enjoyed learning what ingredients and cooking tools we needed to acquire, and we couldn't wait to dig in and try cooking things like Fragrant Eggplant and Green Pepper Rice, Potato, Carrot, and Red Lentil Stew, and Stuffed Shishito Pepper Fritters. After reading about the author's background, we learned more about South Indian traditions and were intrigued to experience Indian culture though our kitchen. We are learning how to temper spices in oil and are putting together our own Masala dabba (spice tiffin).
A trip to an Indian grocery is a must in order to get the pantry stocked, but the author teaches how to create the dishes in a clear and conversational tone. I also appreciate that she provides substitution suggestions for some items like certain vegetables and herbs. The beautiful illustrations and photographs add a nice element to the cultural experience that is Vibrant India. If you need me, I'll be in the kitchen!
The publisher provided a review copy of Vibrant India.