cover image Laxmi's Vegetarian Kitchen (Tr)

Laxmi's Vegetarian Kitchen (Tr)

Laxmi Hiremath. Harlow & Ratner, $18.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-9627345-9-5

With an unassuming but authoritative air, food writer (and lifelong vegetarian) Hiremath, who was born and raised in India, makes meatless Indian cooking both inviting and extremely accessible. Laced with inventive dishes like Mung Bean-Spinach Wholesome Flatbread and Fragrant Spinach Pilaf with Baby Carrots, this collection has some gems for those who are already well-versed in Indian cooking. It is also a comprehensive guide, offering basic information on Indian spices and spice blends and the preparation of such basics like Desi Ghee. An excellent chapter on paneer cheese gives clear instructions for making this dairy product and recipes for using it, including Scrambled Paneer Cheese in Cucumber Boats. Salads include a wide array of raitas (cooked vegetables in a yogurt-based sauce) and more, e.g., Yellow Mung Bean Salad with Walnuts. Chapter headings and recipe headers read like advice from a reliable friend; Hiremath even satisfies curiosity on typical Indian table manners (eat with the right hand and use the left for beverages and utensils). Recipes come with generous suggestions for variations and substitutions, with warnings of possible difficulties and suggestions for accompanying dishes. (Nov.)