Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cookbook Thursday: Vegan Indian style with Richa Hingle; Gentry’s 'Real Food for Everyone' in paperback

            Over the years I’ve evolved from enjoying an Indian dish or two to discovering the nation’s cuisine and actively seeking out its culinary wealth. It’s still a new horizon for me, navigating the spices and sauces, so I was thrilled to receive for review “Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook” by Richa Hingle. Not only is this lovely cookbook full of great recipes to try, but plenty of cooking tips as well — even a grocery list to teach me what ingredients to have on hand.
            Hingle grew up in India, prefers a vegan diet and is the creator of VeganRicha.com so these recipes are all plant-based. There’s my favorite chickpea curry, baked dishes such as spicy red lentil cauliflower potato casserole, mango curry tofu, avocado Naan and so much more. For dessert, how about fudgy cardamom squares, coconut balls or doughnuts soaked in sugar syrup.
            Here’s a fun recipe for “Easy Curried Green Beans.”

Easy Curried Green Beans
From “Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen”
1 teaspoon safflower or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup chopped or thinly sliced red or white onion
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces (thawed if frozen)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Directions: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Cook until they start to pop. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garam masala, turmeric and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, 2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, if using, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the green beans, salt and wa­ter. Mix well, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir, taste and adjust salt and spice. Check the beans for doneness. Add a bit more water if you want to keep it saucy. Cover and cook until beans are cooked through, 5 minutes. The beans should not be mushy, but just about well-cooked. Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.



            Now in paperback is Ann Gentry’s “Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly Meals for Meal-Lovers, Vegetarians, and Vegans,” full of healthy recipes such as pinto bean enchiladas, sesame-shiitake tofu frittatas and chocolate silk pie. After you gaze through these recipes, you’ll agree with Gentry that “being vegan is actually cool.”’
            Here’s an innovative recipe for those looking for alternatives to dairy. Gentry uses this cheese recipe in her Real Food Daily restaurant.

Vegan Cashew Cheese
From “Real Food for Everyone”
Makes 4 cups
1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons sea salt1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
1 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) agar agar flakes
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup yellow or white miso
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions: Using the pulse button, finely grind the cashews in a food processor (do not allow the cashews to turn into a paste). Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse 3 more times to blend in the spices. Combine the soy milk, agar and oil in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the agar is dissolved. With the food processor running, gradually pour the milk mixture through the feed tube and into the cashew mixture. Blend for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Blend in the miso and lemon juice.
For grated or sliced cheese: Transfer the cheese to a container; cover and refrigerate until it is very firm, about 4 hours. Once it is firm, grate or slice the cheese as desired.
For melted cheese: Use the cheese immediately as melted cheese. To make the cheese in advance, cover and refrigerate it. When ready to use, melt it in a saucepan over medium heat until it is smooth and creamy, stirring frequently and adding more soy milk to the melted cheese to thin, if necessary.
            The cheese will keep for 4 days, covered and refrigerated.