I read to escape and to learn. I like science fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers and adventure stories.
This book has gotten me excited about cooking again. After a hot summer, reluctant to even enter the kitchen, cooler weather along with a re-awakened appetite has hit with a vengeance. My desire to get busy preparing warm stews, spicy curries and delicious dumplings was instantly ignited as I paged through the recipes in Terry Hope Romero's new book, Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet.
The book has a hard cover and is similar in size, layout and feel to Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. The writing style and instructions are straightforward and clear. The photos are beautiful, the food is set off nicely by rustic backgrounds and I’m definitely tempted to try a few things that normally wouldn’t appeal to me just from looking at the photos.
There are many things I like about Vegan Eats World. I’m happy that in some recipes, for harder to find ingredients, she gives a replacement option. There are several designations that make sorting through the over 300 recipes easier. Symbols indicate one or more of the following; quick preparation (under 45 minutes), longer cooking time (mainly inactive), cheaper ingredients, good beginner recipes, low fat, gluten free, and soy free recipes.
In part one, titled Kitchen Cartography, the section describing regional ingredients was the most interesting to me. Where I live in Ontario, sumac trees grow everywhere so I was excited to learn about sumac powder and za’atar which are middle eastern spices. Other intriguing sounding ingredients I look forward to trying are Chinese Black Vinegar, Thai Golden Mountain Sauce and Gochuchang, a “sweet, spicy and tangy” Korean red chili paste. A trip to the Asian market is always a fun experience and it’s helpful to know what to pair these ingredients with.
Also included in this section are commonly used ingredients in vegan cooking that you can find in most grocery or natural food stores. A primer on cooking equipment, cooking techniques, descriptions and some adorable drawings for dicing and slicing veggies and shopping lists for ethnic markets are useful sections for less experienced cooks.
You will need access to ethnic markets for some ingredients. This author has already written a cookbook focused on Latin cuisine, a few are included here but this book mainly showcases recipes from Asia, Africa, India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. A well stocked pantry will be useful if you plan on using this book extensively ( I certainly do!). I was thrilled to see a chapter called Dumplings, Breads and Pancakes. Pot-stickers are a particular favourite of mine and I’ve always wanted to take the time to make vegan versions of these plump, savoury, snacks.
I began listing recipes that caught my attention but there are so many I won’t list them all. Here’s a small sampling of what you’re in store for!
Seitan Coriander Cutlets Cilantro Chutney Coconut Chile Relish Thai Shredded Mango Salad Coconut Kale Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce Ninja Carrot Ginger Dressing Garlicky Potato Dip Creamy Walnut Red Pepper Spread Chile Potato Rolls in Homemade Paratha Bread Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos Ginger Tomato Chickpeas Coconut Black-Eyed Pea Curry Tofu and Potato Adobo Stew Spicy Saucy Soft Tofu (Ma-Po Tofu) Eggplant Shakshuka with Green Tahini Sauce Deluxe Tofu Vegetable Mafe Garlic Chive Seitan Potstickers Shanghai Kale Dumplings in Sesame Sauce Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce Spinach Coriander Roti
Can you say yum?
So far, I’ve managed to prepare two dishes; Savory Baked Tofu which was easy and delicious and the Flying Massaman Curry, also very good and even better the next day.
This is not the book you would grab for a hurried weeknight supper unless you have a very well stocked pantry. I’d definitely recommended it for anyone interested in international cuisine, for plant based eaters who are looking to explore new flavours and people who like to entertain. I look forward to taking my time exploring Vegan Eats World for a long time to come.
Thank you to De Capo Lifelong press for providing an ARC.