Monday, 17 September 2012

Book Review - The Tastes of Ayurveda

Not a vegan book, but super vegan friendly, this is a follow up to Amrita Sondhi's very popular "The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook", and is loaded with tasty recipes, with a Indian slant. The book is Ayurvedic, which is an Indian healing tradition based on balance, after all!

The book starts with an extensive introduction to Ayurvedic principles, explains the doshas, and the balance required in everyone to perform at an optimal level, and some basics of cooking in this way. It is a very interesting read, and if, like me, you know very little about these traditions, you'll learn something. There is a little quiz type thing to determine your primary dosha (so you can know which recipes will benefit you the most) and I did take the quiz, and came out with two doshas (Pitta and Kapha) having the same score, and the other (Vata) being substantially less. I'm not sure exactly what this means, but I did try and choose recipes which were marked as being beneficial to both Pitta and Kapha.

The recipes are laid out clearly, in an easy to follow manner, in logical chapters, one to a page (mostly), with symbols to indicate which dosha each will benefit, and also a handy dandy vegan symbol for the recipes which are already vegan! There are notes, and information on ingredients as required which is helpful. Many of the recipes which aren't vegan can easily be made so with simple substitutions or omissions.

The recipes I made -
Page 45 Nut and Seed Granola
Very nice, simple to make.

Page 82 Zucchini Hummus
This was amazing! Just like hummus, but raw, and made zucchini. Really worth making. If you have too much zucchini at any point in time you'll gobble it up using this recipe.

Page 104 Curried Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
Good hot or cold (as the introduction says), though I did use regular quinoa instead of red.

Page 135 Miso Sesame Dressing
A little strong, and aciidic for me. I added a touch of maple syrup which rounded everything out nicely.

Page 136 Singapore Dressing and Page 137 Tahini and Lemon Dressing
Very zesty, and I felt could ahve used just a touch of sweetener.

Page 140 Lime. Honey and Cilantro Dressing
Though I used agave in place of the honey. I love cilantro so really enjoyed the flavours in this one.

Page 148 Calming Avocado Dressing
Vibrantly green, and creamy, this is a good dip with raw veggies.

Page 155 Wild Mushroom and Leek Soup
I love both mushroom soup and leeks so this was going to be a hit for sure. Nicely balanced I enjoyed this.

Page 160 Very Simple Dal Soup
As the title indicates, this is very simple. I was not ready for the depth of flavour this soup ahd and was very pleasantly surprised. Much enjoyed.

Page 200 Fawn's Spicy Rajma
This was OK, not my favourite in the book, but nice enough.

Page 211 Cauliflower. Broccoli and Carrot Pilau
I did use all oil instead of the ghee, and maybe should have cut my veggies a little smaller. Tasted great however.

Page 308 Chocolate Chip and Coconut Bars
Lovely. Not too sweet, so you could have one for breakfast, but sweet enough to be dessert if you needed them to be. Would be lovely, and super decadent dipped in ganache!!

I did enjoy this book very much, and would recommend it, especially if you have an affinity for Indian style cuisines. You will have to overlook some of the recipes which are laden with eggs, and use some simple substitutions in others, but overall this book offers tasty easy to make food - what more could you want?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Very curious to know how the book deals with the original Ayurvedic views on dairy (and butter) being "excellent food." Here's an example: "Milk products are recommended for everyone: the young, the elderly, and anyone who is debilitated or needing strength. Many yogis take to a predominantly milk diet for extended periods of time. Ayurveda considers milk to nourish all seven tissues (dhatus) and to be especially good for the reproductive system. Most rejuvenating herbs are given with milk or Ghee (clarified butter)."

I'm vegan, and can't help wondering if pulling such an important part out of what is considered to be a "wholistic system" or philosophy/view of what's best for the human body doesn't dimminish either the validity or integrity of the original belief.

Tks... books seems interesting, although there might be an issue of using a lot of oil instead of ghee?