If you’ve ever been afraid of delving into the world of Indian cooking, you’re not alone. I’ve tried just a handful of Eastern dishes myself and have always been baffled by the exotic flavor combinations. The mere thought of the word “curry” sends my mind into an all-out panic. And I’d never dare attempt naan or tandoori chicken without a fail-proof game plan in place.
If this describes your view of Indian cooking, fear not as cookbook author Anupy Singla brings you hundreds of easy-to-make Indian dishes in her new cookbook “Vegan Indian Cooking,” and they’re 100 percent vegan as the title suggests. Armed with this cookbook, you’ll fearlessly master the art of (vegan) Indian cooking without sacrificing your health along the way.
To get a better idea of what to expect inside “Vegan Indian Cooking,” we recently talked with Singla to see where her inspiration for the book came from and which recipes she was most excited to share.
What inspired you to become vegan?
I became a vegan in graduate school back in the mid 90s. I got sick and no one could figure out what was wrong. I had walking pneumonia and just didn’t feel good. A naturopath that I was seeing at the time suggested I ‘clean’ my diet of dairy and even the little meat that I ate at the time. I felt great afterwards and have essentially maintained this way of eating ever since.
Why do you have such a passion for vegan Indian cooking?
I love Vegan Indian cooking, because it’s based on real food. It’s not manufactured to taste like meat. The vegetables take center stage and shine because of all of the healthy spices we use in every meal.
What was the source of inspiration for your recipes?
My mother, my paternal grandfather, and my young girls. I love cooking for my girls. It’s uncanny how jazzed I get when they love a meal – especially an Indian meal – that connects them to their roots and my earliest memories of living in India.
What are some of your favorite recipes from the book and why?
I love my section on whole beans and lentils in a slow cooker. Now you can bypass canned versions, and instead cook them in water with no added salt or additives. Freeze half and cook the other half with my dozen or so recipes that follow that section – everything from Indian hummus to Indian curried beans. I came up with the idea while on a run one day along Lake Michigan. I kept thinking that I wanted folks to move away from overly cooked and often expensive canned beans and lentils and try making them from dried – which I always do. It’s now a section in my book that I reference all the time when thinking of ideas for dinner.
What types of dishes can people expect to find in “Vegan Indian Cooking”?
People can expect basic homestyle Indian dishes first and foremost, with fun twists. So, there’s a delicious tofu curry. There’s options on making cashew cream to replace dairy. And, there are so many ways to make traditional Indian dishes from whole grains instead of say, white rice. It’s a book full of fun, delicious twists for South Asian and non-South Asians alike.
“Vegan Indian Cooking” is the much anticipated follow-up to Singla’s bestselling “The Indian Slow Cooker.” You can find both of these books online and in bookstores nationwide.