cover image Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetable Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetable Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn

Chitra Agrawal. Ten Speed, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-60774-734-5

Even though she was born and raised in the suburbs of New Jersey, Agrawal grew up with a deep appreciation for Indian cuisine and eventually started Brooklyn Delhi, a line of small-batch achaars (an Indian relish) sold online and at various gourmet shops. Instead of producing a cookbook revolving around achaars, however, Agrawal refreshingly does a 180 here, choosing to focus on some of her favorite vegetable-based Indian fare instead. She succeeds brilliantly. Readers expecting the familiar collection of dals and chutneys are in for a delightful and tasty surprise as Agrawal offers page after page of hits with dishes such as steamed lentil and herbed dumplings, root-vegetable and Asian-pear salad, stir-fried corn with basil and leeks, and the must-try cardamom oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate and raisins. Though a few dishes will take some time in terms of sourcing as well as prep, Agrawal offers short cuts, such as by incorporating a zippy beet stir-fry into beet yogurt raita. There’s enough variety in this superb debut to please Indian-cuisine newbies and veterans, and Agrawal’s dishes are hearty and flavorful enough to please even the toughest carnivore at the table. (Mar.)