cover image The Vegetarian Table: India

The Vegetarian Table: India

Yamuna Devi, Yamuna, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (156pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-1144-6

Award-winning Devi (James Beard Best International Cookbook award for Yamuna's Table, 1992; the IACP Cookbook of the Year award for 1988's Lord Krishna's Cuisine) contributes a volume that takes its place among the best in this pleasantly individualistic series. The innovative organization of these recipes for meat-free dishes from a country said to have 600 million vegetarians yields an accessible collection useful for both beginners and practiced cooks. The opening chapter lists common ingredients, then gives numerous brief recipes for basics, including six rice recipes (among them Yellow Rice with Baby Peas) and three for potatoes. Experts will delight in the creative fare organized more traditionally in later chapters, like Corn Pancakes with Jalapeno-Lime Yogurt and Sweet Potato Pastry Spirals. Devi has a knack for original touches that raise simple dishes to a new level. Spinach Salad with Beets and Yogurt Cheese features disks of cheese formed into patties and coated with sliced almonds, and Punjabi Pan-Fried Fresh Beans are tossed with bits of chickpea-flour crepe cooked in the same skillet. The photography by Zeva Oelbaum is particularly attractive as well: New Potatoes in Cashew Broth glow a brilliant, turmeric-tinged yellow, and one can almost smell the Mung and Cauliflower Kitcheree, a risotto-like concoction. (May)