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.
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There are many reasons to love lentils for all the health benefits and nutrition they provide at such a low monetary cost. With almost 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber in one cup of cooked lentils it is no wonder that cultures the world over consider lentils essential to their diet. In marked contrast to the long soak and cooking process of beans lentils take less than an hour to simmer and in some cases, such as sprouting and soaking for pancakes, they require little or no cooking at all.
It is when you introduce the mighty lentil into your diet that you discover that this powerhouse food is not only packed with nutrition, but is also delicious and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. If you are only familiar with the common Spanish Brown or the small French puy lentil than you are in for a pleasant surprise to discover that there are many more types and each a powerhouse in its own way.
Lentils originated in India and became a daily part of the Indian diet. Meals almost always include a lentil dal, for instance and are balanced with a serving of rice, rotis, a vegetable dish, yogurt and a salad. Here you find a variety of lentils providing a more diverse protein source, especially for vegetarians and vegans. Look for these lentils in your local health food store or Indian market and try them out for yourselves.
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If you love Indian food but hate feeling weighed down by the grease left behind in most takeout containers, cook Indian food at home with fresh, healthy ingredients that won’t derail your diet.
While Indian cuisine in America is characterized by dense, fried food and oil-rich curries, traditional Indian cuisine incorporates a lot of fresh vegetables, legumes and some of the world’s healthiest spices. Indian cuisine is highly influenced by Hindu beliefs and culture, including the popular practice of vegetarianism in Indian society.
“Vegetables are the life and soul of Indian cuisine,” said Indian chef Suvir Saran in an article on CookingLight.com. “Indian food is best known for heady spices, bold seasonings, and hot dishes, yet ingredients work together to offer contrasts.”
As with any cuisine, you can prepare lighter dishes at home than you would receive in a restaurant because you have complete control over how much salt, butter, cream or oil you add to your dish.
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