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Chris Hennes

Cooking with Madhur Jaffrey's Vegetarian India

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A few weeks ago I checked out a copy of Madhur Jaffrey's Vegetarian India from the library, and it is well on its way to earning a permanent place in my collection. I've really enjoyed the recipes I've cooked from it so far, and thought I'd share a few of them here. Of course, if anyone else has cooked anything from the book please share your favorites here, too.

 

To kick things off, something that appears in nearly every meal I've cooked this month... a yogurt dish such as

 

Simple Seasoned Yogurt, South Indian-Style (p. 324)

 

Simple Seasoned Yogurt, South Indian-style.jpg

 

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Indian vegetarian food has been a favorite  cuisine in our house ever since I bought Yamuna Devi's doorstop of a book, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. I have put the Madhur Jaffrey book on my list to buy in the US the next time we drive north. It's a little tricky to get the necessary ingredients but I have a lot of the special seasonings already and I can always stock up when I find myself in the right kind of grocery store. There are many fine cuisines in the world, but I think Indian vegetarian food should be on that list. In my mind one of the great cuisines of the world. So cook away and share with us your favorites. My  mouth is watering already.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

 

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Hooray for you, Chris Hennes, and I look forward to reading about your Indian cooking experiences.  DH and I both love Indian food...but I don't cook it.  And I don't really know why.  And living in Ontario Canada, even outside a small city, we have access to several decent Indian food restaurants and all the ingredients we could need.  So why don't I cook Indian food?  ????

 

So, I am going to be inspired by your delving deeply into the subject and will no doubt start to cook this wonderful and so varied cuisine.  My thanks to you, good sir.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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@Nancy in Pátzcuaro  Devi's book is amazing.  Had it since 1989.  I don't think I have cooked a bad dish from that book.  The only thing I miss are the onions.  No onions whatsoever in the recipes. http://www.krishna.com/why-no-garlic-or-onions

 


Edited by Okanagancook (log)

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 For those who are interested in learning more about her recipes but don’t have the book,  there are quite a number on-line.  Many are from reviews of the book by very reliable sources. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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12 hours ago, Okanagancook said:

@Nancy in Pátzcuaro  Devi's book is amazing.  Had it since 1989.  I don't think I have cooked a bad dish from that book.  The only think I miss are the onions.  No onions whatsoever in the recipes. http://www.krishna.com/why-no-garlic-or-onions

 

The subtitle of Devi's book is "Lord Krishna's Cuisine." In that cuisine onion and garlic flavor, though not the texture, is supplied by asafetida. This seems to be a case of mixing spiritual practice with food, much as other faiths have restrictions on what they don't consume and why. It's fine by me,  though I agree that onion and garlic are two of the essential ingredients. Does all Indian vegetarian food avoid onion and garlic or is Lord Krishna's Cuisine the only one? I admit to being ignorant of other styles. This book has always satisfied my craving for Indian food.

 

Yeah, my copy of the book is heavily annotated and some pages are badly stained. The book falls open at favorite recipes. I have a friend who's vegan, and Indian food is one of his faves. It's a great choice for vegetarians and vegans.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro (where there is no Indian food if I don't cook it)

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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13 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

Does all Indian vegetarian food avoid onion and garlic or is Lord Krishna's Cuisine the only one?

 Definitely not. Onions are very prominent in many vegetarian dishes. One must remember that India is a very large  continent and I believe that even Madhur Jaffrey  pointed out that there is not an Indian cuisine but many, many Indian cuisines. 


Edited by Anna N Fix the spelling of last name (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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9 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Onions are very prominent

 

Indeed. I remember that two or three years ago there was great social unrest and near riots in India when the onion harvest failed.


...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

 Definitely not. Onions are very prominent in many vegetarian dishes. One must remember that India is a very large  continent and I believe that even Madhur Jaffery  pointed out that there is not an Indian cuisine but many, many Indian cuisines. 

There are some specific religions and sub-cultures that avoid onions and garlic. The Jains spring to mind, and I know there are more. Nation-wide, though, onions are a commonly used ingredient and in fact onions taken past the caramelized stage to dry/crisp are a common garnish on many dishes. Indian stores often sell them prepared in a bag so you can just sprinkle them and save the tedious watching and stirring. 

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Indeed, most of the recipes in this book have either onions or shallots in them. Garlic is less common, but not omitted entirely. These recipes are home cooking that she encountered in her travels throughout the country and represent a great diversity of cuisines from various parts of India. 

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I have a friend who comes from a family where eating onions and garlic was forbidden for religious reasons.  As @chromedome mentioned the Jains also do not eat onions and garlic but my friend said the reasons were different:  the Jains abstain in order to avoid the chance of eating small creatures.  Her family's religion abstains because of the negative spiritual effect of alliums.

 

My friend married into a family who do eat alliums.  Her practice now is to fast from garlic and onions one day a week.

 

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Many ingredients have health related beliefs behind them....a very old cuisine.

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Green Lentil Curry with Kale (p. 140)

 

This one's got garlic and shallots in it (both in small amounts), as well as cumin, coriander and of course, turmeric. 

 

Green Lentil Curry with Kale.jpg

 

 

Peas and Potatoes Cooked in a Bihari Style (p. 103)

 

Onion, but no garlic. Cumin, ginger, turmeric, green chiles. I have a lot of frozen peas at the moment, so I'm using this opportunity to use up some of them.

 

Peas and Potatoes Cooked in a Bihari Style.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chapatis (p. 219)

 

These are basically a whole-wheat tortilla, so I was in familiar territory here. Here's one cooking:

Chapati - Cooking.jpg

 

They puff up just like tortillas do. And the finished product:

Chapati - Finished.jpg

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chickpeas in a Simple Northern Style (p. 132)

 

The recipe calls for canned chickpeas, but I used dried and just cooked them as I usually do. This is one of the few dishes that didn't need curry leaves, so I made it early on before I had a chance to go to my Indian grocer: all the ingredients are readily available at a normal US supermarket. I found that this recipe comes out a bit saucier than her photo shows, the text calls for quite a bit of liquid. I added less than was called for, but still had more liquid than appears on p. 133.

 

Chickpeas in a Simple Northern Style.jpg

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Potatoes Cooked in a Banarasi Style (p. 107)

 

No onions or garlic here: asafetida, mustard, cumin, ginger, coriander, turmeric, fresh chilies, chili powder, amchoor, and garam masala.

Potatoes Cooked in a Banarasi Style.jpg

 

 

Simple Marwari-Style Peas (p. 101)

 

Cumin, ginger, black pepper, and fresh chilies.

Simple Marwari-Style Peas.jpg

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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On 1/29/2018 at 7:07 PM, Chris Hennes said:

Chapatis (p. 219)

 

These are basically a whole-wheat tortilla, so I was in familiar territory here. Here's one cooking:

Chapati - Cooking.jpg

 

They puff up just like tortillas do. And the finished product:

Chapati - Finished.jpg

I love making chapatis--it's great fun watching them puff up in the oven. Turns out you can make up a big batch of the dough and store it in the fridge for when you want a few for your dal. In my experience the dough is improved, both in taste and puff-ability, by resting for a day or two in the fridge.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Bread Upma (p. 208)

 

This was an unexpected dish for me, I've never had anything quite like it. In texture it reminded me a bit of bread stuffing, but of course with India flavors. I made it with the Modernist Bread Compleat Wheat bread, which is terrific.

Bread Upma.jpg

 

 

Rice with Dill and Peas (p. 174)

 

Rice with Dill and Peas.jpg

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Spinach Raita (p. 330)

 

I'm trying to branch out here and not always make the same raita -- she has several in the book, of course, and I've never met I raita I didn't like. No exception here...

 

Spinach Raita p330.jpg

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Spicy Paneer Slices (p. 9)

 

Coated with turmeric, chili powder, and flour, then fried.

 

Spicy Paneer Slices.jpg

 

 

Goan Potatoes (p. 110)

 

Only whole spices in this one (except for the asafetida). Urad dal, mustard, cumin, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, fresh chilies, and onion.

 

Goan Potatoes.jpg

 

 

Vegetable Biryani with Cauliflower, Carrots, and Peas (p. 193)

 

You don't really get a sense of it from the photo, but there is actually quite a lot of cauliflower in this biryani. She makes it in an unconventional way in an attempt to simplify the process, basically cooking the vegetables completely separately from the rice and only combining them when serving.

 

Vegetable Biryani with Cauliflower, Carrots and Peas.jpg

 

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Chris Hennes
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I've been eyeing the spicy paneer. I have a gallon of milk sitting in the fridge that's about to go bad.

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Eggs in a Mustard Sauce (p. 284)

 

This is a very mustardy dish, with three tablespoons of dry mustard to four eggs. It's got other spices in it of course, but the mustard dominates.

 

Eggs in a Mustard Sauce.jpg

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      • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
      • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
      • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
      • 4 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • A few tablespoons flour for dusting
      In a bowl combine the wheat flour, semolina flour, salt and two tablespoons of clarified butter. Slowly begin to add the water, kneading the flour as you go. Make a dough, kneading for at least 10 minutes. The final dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky, or else it will not roll out well.
      Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
      While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.
      Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover for about 15 minutes. Drain.



      Put the potatoes in a bowl and mash them well with a fork. Add the green chilies, cilantro, ginger root, and chaat masala and mix well. Set this filling aside to cool.
      Roll the dough into a log. Cut into 8 equal portions. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.
      Lightly oil or flour your hands. Take one portion and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands. Flatten the ball. Place it on the prepared floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a circle about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.
      Lightly brush the surface with the clarified butter. Add a tablespoon of the potato filling to the center. Bring the sides together and pinch them to seal and form a ball. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour.



      Roll the flattened ball again on a lightly floured surface until about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.


      Heat a griddle on medium heat. Brush it lightly with butter and add the paratha. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the paratha begins to blister. Brush the top lightly with butter and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes.

      Remove the paratha from the griddle and place on a serving platter. Cover with a paper towel. Continue until all the parathas are cooked.

      Sheermal
      A sweet bread, it is one of the few Indian breads that uses yeast. Keep the dough in a warm place to ensure that it rises. You can increase the amount of sugar if you like a sweeter taste.

      • 1 packet dry yeast
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • ¼ cup water
      • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
      • ¼ teaspoon salt
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 2 eggs (separate 1 egg and set the yolk aside) beat the whole egg and the white together
      • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter or butter
      • Extra flour for dusting
      • Pitted cherries/raisins for garnish
      Mix yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Set aside until frothy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
      Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the clarified butter, egg and yeast mixture. Knead until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more warm water.) Set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size.
      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, heavy baking tray and set aside. Lightly dust the rolling surface and rolling pin with flour.
      Knead the dough again on the floured surface for about 5 minutes. Divide it into 6 equal pieces and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
      Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a disc. Continue until you have made 6 discs.
      Beat the reserved egg yolk and brush a little on each sheermal. Place a few cherries on the sheermal for garnish. Place the discs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

      Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

      Tandoori Roti
      We wanted to show how the tandoor is used to prepare breads. These pictures are of a special roti or bread, called Tandoori Roti, being prepared in the hot tandoor or clay oven.
      The basic recipe entails preparing a dough of whole-wheat flour. (See the paratha dough prepared earlier.) The flattened rolled out discs are then cooked in the tandoor until the dark spots begin appearing on the surface of the bread.




      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By rajsuman
      Inspired by a similar thread under 'General Food Topics', I wanted to know how many Indian cookbooks we collectively own on this forum. I have 43 right now, but I'm sure more will turn up from under the bed etc. I'm particularly curious about your collection Vikram, because you seem to own every Indian cookbook under the sun. Here's a picture of my very modest collection (a few on the left haven't come in the shot)

      This is in the kitchen, although there are not that many Indian books here ('Indian Everyday' is from the library) except the small booklets at the end.

    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
       
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years. Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.  So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency. If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat. And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
       
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also, the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu. Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
       
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
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