Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World

| July 22, 2012 | 3 Comments

Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World

In her most comprehensive volume yet, Madhur Jaffrey draws on more than four decades of culinary adventures, travels, and experimentation for a diverse collection that both intrigues and delights the palate. Dishes from five continents touch on virtually all the world’s best loved flavors, for a unsurpassed selection of vegetarian fare.
More than 650 recipes exemplify Madhur’s unsurpassed ability to create simple, flavorful homecooking that is well within the reach of ever

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  1. B. Marold "Bruce W. Marold" says:
    118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Very Important Book for Learning about Food. Buy It!, March 16, 2005
    B. Marold “Bruce W. Marold” (Bethlehem, PA United States) –
    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)

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    `World Vegetarian’ by leading authority on Indian cooking, Madhur Jaffrey is one of those books you can tell after reading a page or two that it is worth your time and money if you are interested in learning new things about food.

    It is important to note that the notion of `vegetarian’ in the title does not mean that the book is all about vegetables, just as a vegetarian is not a person who eats only vegetables. A vegan or vegetarian is someone who avoids meat and, to some extent, products derived from animals. Some people whose vegetarianism is based on respect for animal life go so far as to avoid vegetables like root vegetables whose harvest may entail the death of insects or worms or other subterranean living animals. Ms. Jaffrey is a partial vegetarian, based more on Indian culture and tradition than anything else. And, her book includes major chapters on dairy products derived from milk and eggs.

    This is a very big book, with very long chapters on all the big vegetarian topics. These are:

    Dried Beans, Dried Peas, Lentils, and Nuts -122 pages

    Vegetables – 200 pages

    Grains – 186 pages

    Dairy – 64 pages

    Soups, Salads, and Drinks – 82 pages

    Sauces and Added Flavorings – 54 pages


    Equipment, Glossary, and Resources – 32 pages

    Even with 200 pages and 200 recipes, this very large section does not match the depth of books dedicated entirely to vegetables such as Jack Bishop’s `Vegetables Every Day’ or Elizabeth Schneider’s encyclopedic `Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini’. In fact, Ms. Jaffrey has just 31 sections dedicated to different vegetables, while Ms. Schneider covers over 130 different named vegetables, but Ms. Jaffrey gives us some insights on vegetable cookery which I believe cannot be found elsewhere. It may not be that other books don’t cover the same thing, but Ms. Jaffrey seems to have a way of putting things which makes them stick in your memory a lot more firmly than other writers’ coverage does. For example, in dealing with the baking of red beet roots, Ms. Jaffrey says that baking white potatoes in tin foil leads to thoroughly unpleasant soggy skins and dry flesh, but the same technique is exactly what you want to do with beets, as the skin of beets in inedible.

    Another way in which her facts are presented in an effective manner is when the section on greens discusses fourteen (14) different varieties of greens together so that similarities and differences between methods appropriate to each variety can be discussed.

    Ms. Jaffrey is certainly true to her book title in that her recipes come from all over the world. She gives us the service of stating beside each recipe name the country or cuisine from which the recipe grew. While this may only be important to nitpickers like myself, she is careful to point out when recipes are from a purely Italian or Chinese source or from a hybrid recipe developed by Italians or Chinese who are transplanted to the United States.

    The chapter on `Grains’ is dedicated as much or more to dishes made with flour grains and meals, as in noodles and porridges as to the grains themselves, as in rice dishes. One of the clearest signs of Ms. Jaffrey’s background is the fact that very little space is dedicated to yeast breads. Only five (5) recipes contain yeast and two of those are for pancakes. All other bread recipes are for flatbreads or breads with a chemical leavener. These recipes are welcome, as few appear in conventional books on bread, and I do not miss a fuller discussion of breads, as there are easily a dozen excellent books on bread which come to mind.

    The other side of the coin is in the dairy chapter that includes recipes for homemade cheeses which I simply have not seen anywhere outside of Diane Kennedy’s most recent book on the Mexican pantry. Among these recipes are homemade Indian cheese, unflavored and flavored with pepper or herbs; Latin American cheese (`Queso Blanco’), Italian mascarpone cheese and Syrian Cheese. And, just to be sure none of this effort is wasted, there are several recipes giving us things to do with our homemade Indian cheese. This chapter also contains a wealth of egg recipes that you will simply not see anywhere outside of a book dedicated to egg recipes or a large book on Indian cuisine. With a rather long headnoted homage to Julia Child, Ms. Jaffrey gives us an excellent recipe for the classic French omelet. You will succeed with this recipe, but mastering the technique may require a consult with Ms. Child’s book or Jacques Pepin’s book on technique.

    All this means is that Ms. Jaffrey’s decisions on what to include in this book and what to leave out is impeccable.

    It may seem presumptions on my part to evaluate Ms. Jaffrey’s recipes, but I did check out her vegetable stock recipe and found it agreed with all my experts’ opinions on how…

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  2. Denise Patterson says:
    42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent cookbook, November 28, 2003
    Denise Patterson (Carmel, IN United States) –

    OK, yes, this could use more pictures. And I’ll be honest, some of her techniques are too complicated and time consuming for me, so I make up my own shortcuts. Soak beans overnight? Heck, it’s 6PM, I just got done working & I have a preschooler to feed NOW, so canned beans work FINE for me.

    But this is GOOD food. I’ve made about two dozen recipes out of this cookbook so far, two of which were total flops and one of which needed some tweaking but was good the second time I made it with my tweaks in. So no, this isn’t for the inexperienced cook, and not every recipe is as good as it sounds.

    But when you have a few extra minutes to cook or want something special, try the Sri Lankan Sweet Potatoes with Cardamom and Chiles, or the Middle Eastern Stew of Chickpeas, Potatoes, and Carrots. If you only have a minute, throw together the Yogurt with Herbs or the Korean Soy Dipping Sauce and top your veggies with it. You won’t regret it.

    In short, while I don’t pull out this cookbook every night, the flavors in it are good enough that I pull it out at least once a week. Give it a try – if the first recipe you try isn’t a favorite, try another before you give up. Not everything is going to be to everyone’s taste, but everyone is bound to find something they’ll like!

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  3. Anonymous says:
    119 of 134 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    One of the best veggie books ever, June 15, 1999
    By A Customer

    I bought a copy of this book in London and have been waiting for it to come out in the US to send to friends. It’s one of the most extensive, easy to use and satisfying vegetarian books out there; it’s quickly become a staple.

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