Book Review – East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes by Meera Sodha

East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing
Author: Meera Sodha
Publisher: Fig Tree Books
ISBN: 978-0-241-38756-6

East by Meera Sodha is published by Fig Tree Books.

I discovered Meera Sodha‘s recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Korma in Meera’s ‘The New Vegan’ column, in The Guardian, back in October 2018.  I’ve been a huge fan of Meera Sodha’s recipes, right from the first moment I tasted this delicious roasted cauliflower curry.  Now, each week, I check The Guardian online, keen to find find more of Meera’s recipes.

If you’ve not seen it already, The Guardian have a fantastic Food section, which includes vegan and vegetarian recipes.  I’ve been an ardent fan of Yotam Ottolenghi‘s recipes for a number of years now.  My appreciation of Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes began when I had lunch with friends who prepared us some exquisite dishes, following recipes that were published in Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘The New Vegetarian’ column, in The Guardian.

We purchased Yotam Ottolenghi’s first two books after they were published; I looked forward to trying his recipes with great relish.  The meals my family made following Yotam’s recipes have tasted absolutely sensational!  But although Yotam’s recipes produce utterly delicious tasting meals, which are a pleasure to make, we don’t usually enjoy the luxury of the time required to follow recipes that require lengthy preparations.

After purchasing one of Yotam’s books, my family loved his recipes so much, that we decided to purchase a new set of pans – not to replace ours – but so as to try to minimise the time needed prepare Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes – by saving the time we previously spent washing up our pans between steps, so as to more quickly get to the next stage of the recipe!

Over the last year, we’ve found that we’ve enjoyed Meera Sodha’s recipes as much as those formulated by Yotam Ottolenghi, but we’ve found that Meera Sodha’s recipes don’t take as long to prepare, there’s not as much washing up to do afterwards, and there’s no need to purchase expensive equipment or seek out lots of hard to find ingredients.

All of the recipes in this book are vegetarian; some recipes are vegan and most can be converted to be vegan. I have found that many of Meera Sodha’s recipes in East are gluten free or can be easily converted to be gluten free.

Simple, yet delicious recipes are so precious; they save our time and energy, and help us to avoid some of the overwhelming stresses that surround us and weigh us down at this time of year.  If you’re looking for some new taste sensations, I would highly recommend East.  I’m so grateful for this fabulous book!

East features a dedicated curry section.

Meera’s recipe for Tomato Curry is divine!  My family made this recipe without any chilli, yet the dish was still full of flavour – tangy and sweet.  It was sensational; a new favourite curry recipe for all of us.

I’m a strict vegetarian – I follow a vegan diet whenever I can; although I do occasionally lapse into being vegetarian.  The rest of my family are not vegetarian – they’re all meat eaters and have absolutely no intention of ever becoming vegetarian – but they adore the recipes in this book.  Over the past month, every weekend, my family have requested at least one meal from Meera Sodha’s book, East.

This is the beginnings of the curry we made, following Meera Sodha’s Tomato Curry recipe.
Here’s the same Tomato Curry dish pictured after it had been cooked for a little while longer.
This is the curry we made following Meera Sodha’s Tomato Curry recipe. It tasted very sweet and tangy, it was absolutely delicious!

Since discovering Meera’s Tomato Curry recipe, this dish has become a family favourite – we’ve made it so many times – it never disappoints!  Depending on what colour tomatoes we’ve used, the finished dish varies in colour from: red, yellow, beige, brown, and burgundy.  (If you’re interested in growing tomatoes, don’t miss my Tomato Trial)

Meera Sodha’s new book – East – would make a super gift. If you wanted, you could enclose a few packs of vegetable seeds along with the book, to make a fabulous present for any gardener or keen cook.

I love everything about Meera Sodha’s book, East.  We’ve found this book to be full of delightful recipes, that have already become firm family favourites.  As well as the recipes, I also appreciate Meera’s warm and friendly introduction to each dish, the sentiments are heartfelt and genuine.  I recognise and appreciate the generosity of divulging the secrets of personal inventions that produce true culinary magic to delight our senses.

This book would make a super gift. East has been lovingly put together; it’s an attractive book, but a useful one, too. The recipes make delicious meals but they’re not long or complex and you don’t need any special equipment to start cooking.

Whenever the recipes in East have included chilli peppers in their ingredients, we’ve omitted the chilli, so as to taste the dish without any spicy heat.  I can tell you that the members of my family that always choose very hot spicy dishes for themselves, when we’re enjoying a take-away together, have all relished the flavours of this book’s recipes, even without any chilli.  The dishes we’ve prepared have all been full of flavour and have tasted sensational.

I found that Meera Sodha’s recipes still taste good if you reduce the amount of chillies suggested.

As well as being a strict vegetarian (I’m mostly vegan), I also take great pains to avoid eating wheat and gluten.  It’s not easy to find vegan, gluten, and wheat free recipes, so it’s amazing to find that most of Meera Sodha’s recipes in East are actually gluten and wheat free.  East would be absolutely the very best gift that a vegan could wish for.  This book would also be a super gift for anyone who is coeliac, or follows a wheat, gluten, barley, and oat free diet.

There aren’t too many elaborate or hard to find ingredients in Meera Sodha’s recipes in her latest book, East.
Meera Sodha’s book – East – has a dessert section at the back of the book.
Here’s our bake of Meera Sodha’s recipe for Chocolate and Miso Brownies. These are rich, they’re very squidgy and fudgy and rich.

Our Chocolate Miso Brownies turned out to be rather gooier than we were expecting; so they were popped back into the oven to cook for a little while longer.  However, a slice had already been removed (and eaten, as you can see in my picture!).  Consequently, the brownies were then re-baked; as the remainder of the brownies melted down they became one, melting and covering the gap, when they became a thinner, but still squidgy, rich chocolatey brownie.

The books and products I recommend all receive a thorough testing and trialling before I decide whether or not to recommend them.  I received Meera Sodha’s book, East in November 2019; so there wasn’t time to read and review the recipes in this book and include this book in my recommended Christmas gift list for December 2019, but I have now trialled this superb book and I absolutely recommend this wonderful recipe book!  East is filled with fabulous vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free recipes that are delicious to eat and easy to prepare.  This is a fantastic book – I highly recommend it.

East by Meera Sodha is published by Fig Tree Books.

If you’re looking for more information about Meera Sodha’s book, East, you can visit the website for Penguin Random House UK, via this link.

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