Let's take a vegan culinary trip through Asia
November 9, 2005 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm searching for some good vegan cookbooks that focus on Asian cuisine. Japanese, Korean, Indian, Thai, etc. A vegan Indian cookbook would be especially nice.

Because of some recently diagnosed food sensitivities, I am supposed to avoid eating wheat and dairy, among other things. I've tried rice pastas and soy cheeses, but I don't like them. I'd rather learn a cuisine that developed without the foods I have to avoid. I've searched through lots of cookbooks (general vegetarian and vegan, as well as food allergy cookbooks) and actually found quite a few recipes but I'm looking for suggestions for a single book.

(For some reason, I'm having trouble finding an exclusively vegan Indian cookbook. Lots of the vegetarian Indian recipes I've found contain dairy.)
posted by luneray to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a recommendation for a specific vegan Indian cookbook, but it's pretty easy to substitute the dairy for cooking and baking. For milk you can use soymilk (or even rice milk), and for butter there's Earth Balance margarine. I use these substitutions all the time, and even my dairy-eating friends can't tell the difference. Email me if you want more tips.
posted by smich at 7:35 AM on November 9, 2005

To find an exclusively vegan cookbook is highly unlikely, unless some westernized indian decided to create such a book, in which case the recipes have the possibility of being westernized as well. One book I've found that has amazed me (because South Indian cookbooks are so rare) is Dakshin.

South Indian cooking doesn't use much dairy (except for yogurt dishes) and we don't make Paneers (Indian cheese, that's mostly North Indian). This book is very authentic in its presentation and its recipes are amazing. I still can't cook them like my mom, but sometimes I get damn close.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:38 AM on November 9, 2005

My favorite vegetarian cookbook is 'Eastern Vegetarian Cooking' by Madhur Jaffrey. Though not strictly a vegan recipe book, many, if not most, of the recipes are vegan (or can easily have ingredients substitued) - most of the Indian recipes require no dairy products.
Just flicking through it, you'll find recipes from Korea, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines etc.
posted by tnai at 7:44 AM on November 9, 2005


I think you mean this, one of my favorite books ever (not just cookbooks). If something calls for ghee, just use olive or canola oil instead. Lots of vegan stuff, and everything (except maybe the egg dishes) can be made vegan.
posted by al_fresco at 8:25 AM on November 9, 2005

If something calls for ghee, just use olive or canola oil instead.

Depending on what food sensivities these are, it might be worth using ghee anyway. It doesn't have any significant quantities of stuff like lactose or protein.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:55 AM on November 9, 2005

another vote for Madhur Jaffrey! her recipes are tasty, spicy, yummy.

and thank you luneray for asking this question, I am trying to follow a mostly vegan diet as well (the occasional fish does slip onto my plate)
posted by seawallrunner at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2005

hi al_fresco, i haven't seen that book yet but it seems to be more up to date (and it's made it's way into my shopping cart thanks to your recommendation). 'Eastern Vegetarian Cooking' is a 500 page paperback with very few pics but i think it's long out of print (there seems to be a couple available 2nd hand at Amazon)
posted by tnai at 9:05 AM on November 9, 2005

Madhur Jaffrey has also done a 'World Vegetarian Cookery' which is fantastic and probably the recipes that include dairy can mostly be adapted.
posted by altolinguistic at 9:14 AM on November 9, 2005

You should also check-out Hansa's Indian Vegetarian Cookbook.

Not all the recipes are vegan, but there's plenty that are.

IANAV but I love it!
posted by NthMonkey at 9:40 AM on November 9, 2005

You may want to check out some Jain cookbooks. Jainism is an essentially vegan Southeast Asian religion—many Indians practice Jainism. Jains keep to very strict dietary requirements, and many are vegans.

A note: these restrictions include a proscription against eating roots and bulbs, so Jain recipes won't include those vegetables. But you can easily add them to the recipes if you want to eat them.

Jain cookbooks are fairly difficult to find, though. One of my professors teaches a number of courses about Jainism and is a vegetarian himself—you may want to check out some of the cookbooks he lists here, a couple of which I know contain Jain recipes.

He also links this resource from his site, which may have some Indian recipes of the sort you're seeking.

For that matter, you may wish to contact him. His information is available on his site—and he'd likely be overjoyed to talk to you about Jain and vegan cuisine.

Hope that helps!
posted by limeonaire at 1:34 PM on November 9, 2005

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