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Order "Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian" today!

by Madhur Jaffrey

The author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including this one, the host of three television cooking series, and the lead actress in four new movies released this Fall, Madhur Jaffrey has become one of the most respected figures today in the world of film and food. Whether Madhur is writing, cooking, acting, or directing, there is no one who so effortlessly combines a traditional Indian upbringing with modern Western culture.

"I grew up in a sprawling Delhi household where Hindu traditions and Western culture easily co-existed," explains Madhur Jaffrey. At the age of five, Madhur started acting, first in radio plays, and later in school shows and theatre troupes. She left Delhi in the 1950s to attend London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts as a young, ambitious scholarship student. After two years of studying there, Madhur arrived in New York, eager to pursue her acting career. However, when appropriate roles failed to appear, she decided to write magazine pieces on travel, dance, music, sculpture and of course, food.

Soon, Craig Claiborne, the well known food writer of The New York Times, wrote a piece entitled An Indian Actress Is a Star in the Kitchen, Too about the Indian feasts Madhur was making for her friends and family. After this, she was asked to teach cooking and eventually to write her first cook book. This first book, An Invitation to Indian Cooking (1973) remains a classic and a new edition was published this year by Ecco Press. Madhur Jaffrey's A Taste of the Far East (November 1993) was voted Best International Cook Book and Book of the Year for 1993 by the James Beard Foundation. Her other books include Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen (April 1994), the best-selling Madhur Jaffrey's World of the Far East Vegetarian Cooking (1981 as well as Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking and Far Eastern Cookery, both companions to popular BBC series that have also aired in the United States.

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian released in November 1999 is Jaffrey's greatest achievement. More than 750 meatless recipes drawn from her lifetime of culinary exploration of the world's traditions, as well as her own personal culinary gems that she enjoyed as a child in India as well as those she personally created. Her travels around the world have served her well. "As I travel around the world," explains Madhur, "I see that we seem to be heading toward a blurring of boundaries between individual ethnic cuisines." This is aptly noted in this compendium of 750 recipes. I would recommend this all-vegetarian book to even the most carnivorous of cooks. There are many vegetarian dishes from around the world that can remain meatless - or not!

You can browse this book for hours....the chapters include:

Dried Beans, Dried Peas, Lentils, and Nuts




Soups, Salads, and Drinks

Sauces and Added Flavorings

Equipment, Glossary and Resources

Most recipes are short and very easy to follow. As with any cooking, your pantry needs to reflect the cuisine you are re-creating in the kitchen. Starting on page 709, you will find a glossary of equipment, ingredients and the resources to find them to complete your vegetarian kitchen pantry.

There are only a few full color photographs of selected recipes, but the ones that are most helpful are the photos showing different grains, rice and beans. Nice to see what the different in looks is between whole fava beans and whole pigeon peas!

My one complaint (and publishers takes note) is that when there is a photograph of a particular recipe, why isn't the page number shown with the photo so I don't have to look it up in the index!!

With this book in my collection, I can now add one or two more vegetarian dishes to my weekly repertoire of meals. A vegetarian side dish that I enjoy is Polenta. I use it in its soft form as a bed for Osso Buco, chilled and cut into squares and grilled as a side starch for any grilled fish or meat. But the traditional manner of cooking polenta can be difficult and hard on your arm muscles as you need to keep stirring it as it cooks! Madhur Jaffrey has given us another method of cooking polenta that is easy on the arm!

Polenta Cooked in the Oven

2 cups   coarse grained Italian yellow cornmeal
Dab   unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 Tbs.   salt

Put the cornmeal into a bowl. Slowly add 3 cups of water, stirring with a wooden spoon as you do so.

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter or oil an 8 x 8 x 4-inch or similar sized baking dish.

Put 4 cups of water into a large pan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Add the salt. Stir the cornmeal mixture again and then slowly pour it into the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon as you do so. Bring to a boil, stirring all the time. The mixture will thicken very quickly into a homogeneous paste. Quickly pour this paste into the baking dish, smooth over the top with the back of a wooden spoon, cover, and bake for 50 minutes.

Serve as is (with a topping of butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired) or cool, cover, and refrigerate. The polenta is now ready to be used in the same was as the cool, firm, more traditionally cooked polenta. Once cooled, the polenta may be toasted or fried. Serves 4.

Recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian




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