A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Richa and her husband Vivek in their Seattle home. Richa and Vivek are as warm and wonderful as you would imagine. Their dog, Chewie, is as adorable as he seems in the pictures. And her food – well, her food is as mouth-watering, and delicious as it looks. It is hands down the best Indian food I’ve ever had. Ever.
During my time with her she mentioned wanting to write an Indian cookbook and ever since that evening I have been anxiously awaiting that very cookbook. And friends, it is finally here!
It turns out I wasn’t the only one eager for Richa to write a vegan Indian cookbook. Based on the fact that this book continues to be the #1 best seller in all of Indian Cooking on Amazon, I’m going to say a whole lot of people wanted to see this book get written.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Richa’s wildly popular blog, Vegan Richa. So you already know she makes some of the most creative and ingenious vegan food you can find, accompanied by beautiful, drool-worthy photography. As so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that her cookbook is just as creative, beautiful and eye-catching as what you’ve become accustomed to with her work.
Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen starts with a very extensive chapter titled, My Vegan Indian Kitchen. If you are like me and love Indian food but can’t seem to duplicate the unique flavors and textures in your own kitchen, you will love this chapter. Richa covers all the important ingredients including spices, herbs, lentils, grains, and more through thorough definitions of each ingredient, how and when to use them, and where to find them. She ends the chapter with a grocery list that distinguishes your “must have”, “good to have”, and “nice to have” ingredients. By the time you’re done with this first chapter, you are set up for Indian cooking success!
After that the book is broken up into nine more chapters of recipes. From breakfast to curries, to main dishes, to desserts, in 125 different recipes, you will find everything you want from this book. Among the recipes you will find:
- Mango Curry Tofu (recipe below)
- Broccoli Onion Fritters in Spiced Yogurt
- Sweet and Spicy Baked Cauliflwer
- Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry
- Vegetable Korma
- and so much more!
Each chapter begins with sweet anecdotes of growing up in India, giving you a sense of what Indian culture around food is like, then continues by giving the reader a sense of what to expect in the chapter and recommendations on which recipes to try first. Throughout the book you will find gorgeous, full page photographs, including all the pictures in my review (taken and used with permission from Richa and Vegan Heritage Press) making Indian cooking success feel even more tangible and possible.
The generous people of Vegan Heritage Press have given me permission to share with you one of the amazing recipes you’ll find in Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I’ve chosen this Mango Curry Tofu because if you aren’t convinced to buy this book yet, this recipe might just do the trick!
- 14 ounces firm tofu
- 2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chopped red onion
- 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon safflower or other neutral oil
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 1¼ cups canned or culinary coconut milk
- ¾ cup ripe mango pulp or puree (unsweetened or lightly sweetened canned)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Generous dash of black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Tofu: Cut the tofu slab into ½-inch slices. Place them on a clean kitchen towel. Cover with another kitchen towel. Place a 10-pound (approximate) weight on top and let sit for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use pressed tofu. Cut the tofu slices into ½-inch cubes.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, tilt the skillet so the oil coats it evenly. Add the tofu and cook until lightly brown on some sides, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add the cayenne, cinnamon, garam masala, and salt and mix well to coat. Cook for another 2 minutes and set aside.
- Curry: In a blender, combine the onion, ginger, and garlic and blend into a smooth puree with 2 tablespoons of water. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cloves. Cook for 1 minute. Add the pureed onion and cook until the onion mixture is dry and does not smell raw. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking, 13 to 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk, mango pulp, salt, and vinegar and mix well. Add the tofu and all the spices from the tofu skillet to the sauce skillet. Add a dash of black pepper.
- Mix, cover and cook until the sauce comes to a boil, 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered until the sauce thickens and desired consistency is achieved, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and tang. Add ½ teaspoon or more sugar if the mango pulp was not sweet. Garnish with cilantro and a dash of garam masala and serve hot.
Vegan Hertiage Press is also offering one of my readers the chance to win their very own copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. Enter below for a chance to win.
Contest open to U.S. residents only.