APRIL 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Cookbook Review

By Shephali J. Rele

The Ingredients Matter: India

Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking” by Shubhra Ramineni; 128 pages; $18.95; published by Tuttle Publishing (www.tuttlepublishing.com)

Shubhra Ramineni has done it again! Just three years ago, she had written “Entice with Spice,” a cookbook with about 100 “easy-to-follow” recipes. The same can be said of her latest book, which offers simple and hale and hearty recipes for the hurry home cook. If you are a novice, you will effortlessly be able to make such dishes as Cauliflower and Potatoes, Sautéed Mushrooms and Peas, Stuffed Okra, Japanese Eggplants with Potatoes and Indian Cheese and Pea Curry. To digest the delicious food, the Houston-based author suggests Strawberry Lassi, Melon Balls in Rose Syrup and Chocolate and Coconut Covered Cherries. Eye-catching photos for each recipe are by the talented Minori Kawana.

There are also short chapters on Kitchen Tools, Cooking Tips, Basic Techniques and Ingredients. Like “Entice with Spice,” you also can recommend “Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking” to a beginner cook in the family or among friends. They will be thankful you did.

Here are a couple of recipes from the book:

Vegetable Curry with Tofu

Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted curry in a microwave, cover and stir periodically. Or, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir periodically.

  1. Pour the oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté until the garlic is lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 30 seconds.

  2. Reduce the heat to mediumlow and add the tomato. Cover the saucepan and cook until the tomato becomes completely soft and mashed, stirring every minute or so and lightly mashing the tomato, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the turmeric, red pepper, salt, and Garam Masala. Stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the onion, peas, potato, carrot, pan-fried tofu, coconut milk, and water. Stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

  5. Reduce the heat to mediumlow and cover the saucepan. Simmer until the onion is translucent and the potato and carrot are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

Green Lentils and Kale Stew

Reheating Method: Put in a microwave, cover and stir periodically. Or, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir periodically, add water if it seems too thick.

  1. To de-rib (separating the leaves from the stem) the kale, working with one stem of kale at a time, fold the leaf in half lengthwise. Using a small knife, cut down the length of the stem to separate the leaves from the tough stem. Discard the stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Put the chopped kale in a colander and wash any of the dirt off with water.

  2. Place the lentils on a plate. Sift through them and remove any grit.

  3. Transfer the lentils to a small bowl. Rinse the lentils three times by repeatedly filling the bowl with cold water and carefully draining off the water.

  4. Place the lentils, 5 cups (1.25 liter) water, tomato, turmeric, red pepper, and salt in a medium saucepan. Hand squeeze the kale to remove any excess water. Add the kale to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

  5. Stir and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the saucepan. Simmer until the lentils are completely soft, stirring occasionally and lightly mashing the tomato, about 45 minutes. The lentils should not be floating individually in the water; instead they should come together with the water when fully cooked and should be similar to a thick soup with an even consistency. Add ¼ cup (65 ml) water if it looks like it needs it. Turn off the heat.

  6. To temper the spices, pour the oil into a small skillet and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the onion and cumin seeds. Stir to combine. Sauté until the onion is browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

  7. Add the tempered spices to the lentils. Stir to combine. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature or freeze for later.

Recipes courtesy of Shubhra Ramineni from “Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking”

www.tuttlepublishing.com Copyright © 2013 Shubhra Ramineni. All rights reserved.

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