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This review includes a giveaway for readers in the US. For details of how to enter, please read on!
I’ve been following Vegan Richa’s beautiful blog for quite a while now and am always bookmarking her recipes to try. The recipes I have made have always been simple to follow and incredibly delicious, so once I heard that Richa was releasing a cookbook I knew it was a must for my collection!
[Image above courtesy of Vegan Heritage Press]
I love love love Indian food but haven’t really eaten out as much since becoming vegan a few years ago. There are loads of places I could go to in Melbourne, but it’s not much fun going on my own (and only ordering one dish) and so my visits are limited to when family and friends could get together (and I can sample many dishes!). I’ve always wanted to crack the code of cooking restaurant-like meals at home. But it seemed like there was always something missing– I was always saying “hnngggnnnnhhhhh this doesn’t taste like restaurant food!” when making recipes out of cookbooks. I do admit to being a bit of a perfectionist like that. If I make something, Indian meals in particular, I expect it to taste excellent like a favourite meal in a restaurant that you keep going back for.
Richa’s recipes have been the only ones I’ve tried where I’ve sat back and said now THAT’S what I’m talking about. It’s rare that I will cook something and say geez Veganopoulous you’ve really nailed this and woohoo we have leftovers for the next three days! But you guys, everything I’ve tried out of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen has been fantastic. I emailed my mum and sister and said “I made restaurant food!” Seriously, I’m already planning a banquet using these recipes because they’re exactly what I’ve been looking for.
It’s hard to choose a favourite from what I’ve tried! I loved the Red Lentil Tomato Pulao and it helped me get over my reluctance to cook rice in anything other than my rice cooker. Beautifully flavoured, I made this pulao to eat with everything else below:
I love spinach curries and went for the Tofu in Spinach Curry. I chose the chickpea version as I’m avoiding soy for the moment, so I replaced the tofu with two cans of chickpeas. The curry is blended and looks like a green smoothie, then you mix in those chickpeas and prepare to be delighted:
Isn’t it great when you’re reading a new cookbook and there are fabulous looking recipes where you get excited because you have all the ingredients handy? That’s what happened with the Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry. I love using fresh curry leaves, ditto for coconut, so this dish was a standout for me:
I found a bag of yellow split peas in the pantry and had a bunch of spinach handy so I immediately went for the Yellow Peas and Spinach Curry. I also made the gluten free chia flatbread (I used the flaxseed option instead of the chia). The flatbreads were perfect for this dish. I used a tortilla press to make the flatbreads because I’m essentially too lazy to roll them out:
I love kidney bean curries so that was another obvious recipe to try. Except for this Kidney Bean Curry, I only had one can of kidney beans instead of two, so I used a can of brown lentils. Gosh this was good, and even better over the next few days:
Eggplant dishes in Indian cuisine are another favourite of mine, more so than eggplants in any other cuisine. The Mashed Spiced Eggplant is Richa’s way of creating a quick baingan bharta when you don’t have time to roast your eggplant for ages. I made this first and meant to keep it until I made other dishes like the pulao. But I ate it all, before I could take a photo. The most excellent Peas in Coconut Curry is shown in the top photo in the upper left corner.
I loved the Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets. Baked cauliflower is a favourite of mine so I I really enjoyed this. Thanks to Richa for providing me with this photo:
I’ve delayed publishing this review many times, only because I always say to myself “just one more dish! Make one more dish!” One of my favourite Indian meals has always been a Makhani dish, both vegan and pre-vegan. I absolutely loved Richa’s Makhani Vegetable Pot Pie, though I omitted the dumplings to keep the recipe gluten free and oil free, as suggested by Richa. Instead, I served it with the Cumin Scented Rice with Peas and Onion (I accidentally tipped in three times the peas called for). I liked this recipe so much that I had to eat it straight away. No setting up a space to take foodie pics, I just took this outside for lunch, snapped a photo and dug in:
Of course no new-cookbook cooking would be complete for me without sampling some of the sweets! Cardamom and pistachio is such a winning combination and these Pistachio Cardamom Cookies were both delicious and easy to prepare. And eat… I made these the night before I had to photograph them and it was so hard having to exercise restraint and leave them for the next day:
Finally, we have the Grain Flour Spoon Fudge. I used the semolina option and loved how similar these are to a halva recipe my grandmother used to make. Perhaps I was a bit too impatient and didn’t toast the semolina enough because I think they should be darker, but these were great regardless. I chose to make them with a little less sugar than the recipe, but I think the full amount would be fine. I’ve since made them a second time and will be making them many times more, I’m sure. Bring on that cardamom!
I really enjoyed cooking from Richa’s book. I set aside one day in the kitchen because I wanted to try as much as possible and woohoo, I have leftovers for a few days! Plus the house smelled amazing. Richa’s recipes are honestly the first ones I’ve used where I am really satisfied with the result and feel confident enough to serve this up to guests (remember, I’m an anxious perfectionist like that!). It’s a fabulous cookbook and one I am going to give out as gifts for Christmas.
Giveaway time! This giveaway is for readers with a mailing address in the US only.
Vegan Heritage Press will send one lucky winner a copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me what recipes by Richa you’ve made. And if you haven’t made anything yet, head on over to Vegan Richa’s recipes over at http://www.veganricha.com/recipes and tell me what you’d like to make!
This giveaway runs for two weeks and will end on Saturday November 21st at 23:59AEST. Please feel free to share on social media! Good luck!