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Review And US Giveaway: Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen

* This giveaway has now closed *

This review includes a giveaway for readers in the US. For details of how to enter, please read on!

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen recipe photos

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!

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Cover

[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:

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen red lentil tomato pulao

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:

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen chickpeas in spinach curry

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:

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen butternut coconut red lentil curry

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:

Vegan Richa Yellow Pea Spinach Curry

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:

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Kidney Bean Curry

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:

Spicy Baked Cauliflower - Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

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:

Vegan Richa's Makhani Vegetable Pot Pie

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:

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen cardamom pistachio cookies

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!

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen Grain Flour Spoon Fudge

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!

You can find Vegan Richa on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter. Richa’s website is at http://www.veganricha.com/

You can also follow Vegan Heritage Press via their website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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!

8

Week In Review and What I Ate

I’m combining my weekly *cough* What I Ate and Week In Review, mostly because I haven’t really done all that much this week. With my What I Ates, I’ve been having a lot of juices and smoothies this week and never bother taking pics of those because they’re not very exciting, plus they look like kakka.

This month I’ve been cooking heaps of recipes from Richa Hingle‘s new book Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I love this book and I’ll have a review up very soon and a giveaway for US readers. Wooo! I made the Yellow Lentils with Spinach and threw in some broccoli. On the side there are the Gluten Free Chia (though I used the flax option) Flatbreads. Sooooo good:

yellow pea spinach curry

I loved the Kidney Bean Curry, though I added lentils to mine because I didn’t have enough kidney beans (then promptly found kidney beans I’d bought a few days before and forgot about, because I hadn’t bothered putting one bag of groceries away). As usual I add lots of coriander:

kidney bean curry

A while back I made this almost raw salad (almost, because it had roasted peanuts) loaded with Vietnamese mint, lemongrass and coriander:

almost raw salad

Melbourne has given us some beautiful spring days and my flowers are blooming, though one year I’m sure someone cut off the red roses that were just about to open and I’ve been lying in wait for them ever since:

spring garden

Cute wee spider!

cute little spider

Spring days bring more laziness than usual for some. This is a very typical scene at home. Unfortunately this particular cat is obsessed with anything that looks like string and will swallow anything string like, so we have to be really careful. Though despite doing our best, we’ve still had a few vet visits, X-rays and so on which so far have thankfully turned out fine. When we adopted Punky and Malteezies here, the foster carers told us Malteezies would eat anything as a kitten and eat so much he’d vomit. He even got his head stuck in a tin of cat food when he was little. Here you can see he has pulled out threads from the (original from the 1930s) carpet. We have to keep snipping threads wherever we see them. He even scratched the lining underneath his cat scratch post to get threads out, fortunately I was right there when he did it and managed to keep the 30cm threads off him. He’s the happiest, laziest, most hilarious and ridiculous cat I’ve ever known so I really hope he outgrows this habit before his second birthday in January:

lazy fat cat

Punky isn’t as silly, but he’s definitely the naughtier of the two, doing anything to climb up high (his brother just sits on the floor looking up). Punky has got himself stuck at the top of a door more than a few times. He climbs up the screen door then balances on the open wooden door but can’t get back down, so we have to position a beanbag for a soft landing. I’ll be sitting in another room, hear him climbing the screen door, then sounds of him trying to get down but changing his mind, then the sound of the pooooffff soft landing on the beanbag. Then it all starts again. He always greets me in the morning or when I come home… while his brother just lazes around, as above:

punky patrol

ARTICLES AND STUFF:

– Krishna on Barkly Indian restaurant in Footscray made a post on their Facebook page asking if anyone would be keen on seven days of buffet in the lead up to Christmas. YES I WOULD!

Animal Activists and Law Making free public lecture at Melbourne University on November 30th at 5:30

The Body Shop Sells Out on Animal Testing

Bill That Requires Labs to Retire Cats and Dogs From Testing Passed in California

Victory For Orcas At SeaWorld San Diego

5 Best Cities For Vegans in the US

Living Mini Brains That Cost Just 25 cents Could Replace Animal Testing

Neil Gaiman: Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming

 

Have a great weekend and better week ahead!