Vegetarian delights

Photo0230[1]The Book

Great Vegetarian Dishes: Over 240 recipes from around the World


Kurma dasa



What it says on the back cover

The author, Kurma dasa, is one of the Hare Krishna movement’s most celebrated chefs. Hew knows that to enjoy spiritual rewards, and to be fit and healthy,  you have to eat properly. With humour, patience and enthusiasm he has has passed on his knowledge to a growing and appreciative audience worldwide. He spent several years of testing and refining the hundreds of international recipes presented in this very practical book.

What made me pick up this book?

Before I decided to become a mature student I taught English at one of New Zealand’s universities and would head up sometimes on my lunch hour or after work (run by an old high school friend and her husband) to a small little cafe located on the grounds at the University. Rather than order something that was common, I decided to check out the Hare Krishna place after reminding myself of the time I ate Hare Krishna food in Perth, Western Australia and how much I loved their food.  I am neither vegan or vegetarian but as a foodie I have always enjoyed a great variety of different foods whether they are meat based or not.  This cookbook was actually for sale and as I have a couple of Hare Krishna cookbooks on my cookbook bookshelves, I knew that I would love to have this one in my possession.

About this book

This book has been thoroughly thought out by its author. Taking some of the worlds most favourite dishes and adapting them to meet the dietary requirements for those who do not eat meat. It is a book that I have scribbled (in pencil of course) in over the years and have added my own twist to. Hare Krishna’s do not eat onion or garlic so it is not uncommon to see the infamous Asafoetida (also known as Hing) used in its place. To find out more about  Asafoetida , please refer to this website for further information (I have the hardback book version on my shelves) . Kurma dasa has made excellent adaptions and has done his homework by making some of the worlds most famous foods healthy for vegetarians, vegans and non vegetarians alike. Divided into several sections this book covers a comprehensive array of foods that many of us will have on our shelves. A section on Special ingredients at the beginning of the cookbook is useful for those that may not have some of the ingredients. Paneer- a delicious curd cheese often used in Indian dishes has a texture like tofu but is made from cows milk is a great substitute for meat in some of the dishes such as the Eggplant, Potato and Curd Cheese and Bengali Royal Rice. Several years ago I actually had to explain to a Goan friend the differences between tofu and paneer (also spelt panir) to which she was rather surprised.  This book will teach you how to make paneer and ghee which is also known as clarified butter that is often used in Indian cooking also.  Indian dishes make up a  number of recipes in this book but it contains many other dishes from around the world including Indonesia, Thailand, New Zealand, Mexico to name just a few.

Is this book worth buying?

For me, purchasing a vegetarian book is all about being a little bit more healthier without adding meat to my diet. I loved this book for its variety and its adaptability where I could add a little bit more spice or a herb to the dish without actually spoiling the overall meal. This book is a great vegetarian book to have on my shelves as it adapts itself to many different parts of the world and offers its reader and eater a chance to experience some of the most tastiest dishes without meat. Although I am not a Hare Krishna, I admire them and what they do. Whilst living in Australia a friend took me to one of their restaurants and from there I knew that whenever I went to a place serving Hare Krishna style food, I was always in for a treat. This book is an excellent companion to any bookshelf and at $20.00 (NZ dollars) I thought it was worth it and far cheaper than some of the other cookbooks that are on our local booksellers shelves. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to try vegetarian food for the first time and how delicious food can taste whether there is meat in there or not. It is a great book which I have used over and over and it still looks good despite me writing all over it… 🙂

“Homemade curd cheese (panir), is the Indian equivalent of bean curd (tofu). It is rich in protein and is extremely versatile. It can be deep fried and used in vegetable dishes, crumbed in salads, made into sweets, stuffed inside breads and pastry and creamed into dips “(Kurma dasa, 1990).

Great Vegetarian Dishes


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