Top | Reviews

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

(article, Caroline Cummins)

A world traveler, in the late 1990s Jaffrey finally collated her global eating experiences into one mammoth reference book. The 1999 result, Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, is both a collection of vegetarian recipes and a compendium of ingredients, cooking techniques, history, and attitudes about how and what to eat.

The book is organized not by meal but, first, by ingredient (Dried Beans, Dried Peas, Lentils, and Nuts; Vegetables; Grains; Dairy) and, second, by category (Soups, Salads, and Drinks; Sauces and Added Flavorings). Each type of ingredient, such as rice or beans, receives a full explanation of basic cooking techniques. Each ingredient then gets its own recipe section; all the eggplant recipes, for example, sit together, whether they originate in Korea or Afghanistan or Trinidad, or function as breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. 


h1.Featured recipes


Each ingredient is laced with cultural commentary (the significance of pulses to the Indian diet, for example) and each recipe comes with suggestions for culturally complementary dishes in order to make complete meals. (Jaffrey is always aware of the need for a vegetarian diet to include multiple foodstuffs to ensure protein balance.)

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian is an excellent go-to book for basic techniques and cooking ideas for obscure produce. The only thing lacking is a dessert chapter. But then, at more than 750 pages (including glossary), maybe the book doesn't really need it.

p(bio). Caroline Cummins is the managing editor of Culinate.

reference-image, l