Discover the Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey - 'Vegetarian India'

Discover the Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey - 'Vegetarian India'

Madhur Jaffrey's "Vegetarian India": A Masterpiece Cookbook

Madhur Jaffrey, a professional content writer and cookbook author for more than four decades, has been acclaimed for her recipe compilations such as "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey" (2010) and "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" (1973), which have been regarded classics. But perhaps her magnum opus can be considered as "Vegetarian India" that was published in 2015.

It is typical in the West to believe that India is a predominantly vegetarian country, which is far from the truth as only 40% of the population identifies as vegetarian. However, Jaffrey's "Vegetarian India" aims to extol the robust and electrifying history of vegetarian cooking across India's 28 states and eight union territories. In the book, you will find iconic dishes from northern Indian metropolises such as Mumbai and New Delhi, variations of fresh koshambir salads, flaky parathas, and a green bean dish with cumin, chili, and ginger. Jaffrey also showcases dishes from different Indian regions, including Nepalese pickled potatoes, simple fried eggs from Sri Lanka, and coconut-laced beets from Mysore in the southwest.

While it may be noticed that Jaffrey primarily uses ingredients sourced from Taj Hotel or fancy businessperson friends, her clear and beginner-friendly recipe approaches make the book accessible to novice home cooks. "Vegetarian India" is divided into eight sections: Soups, Appetizers, and Snacks; Vegetables; Dals: Dried Beans and Legumes; Grains: Rice, Semolina and Quinoa; Grains: Breads, Pancakes, Savories, and Noodles; Eggs and Dairy; Chutneys, Relishes, and Salads; Drinks, Sweets, and Desserts.

The book not only offers comfort for home cooks but also inspires them to explore their creativity. It features common vegetables seasoned in uncommon ways, legumes cooked not just into dals but also soaked and whirred in a blender to make savory pancakes that upend everything previously thought about the humble bean.

As a masterpiece cookbook, "Vegetarian India" reshapes the thinking of the readers while also providing comforting and inspiring dishes.

Recipe: Gingery Dumplings

This recipe is perfect for those who love dumplings and want to be able to whip up batches quickly for future dinners.


  • 1/2 lb. finely minced pork
  • 2 tablespoons pounded ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Mix the minced pork, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sugar together in a big bowl and set it aside.
  2. Mix flour and water in another big bowl and knead the dough until smooth. Roll the dough into skinny finger-width logs and chop into small 1cm pieces. Flatten each piece with your thumb and roll into a small round wrapper, about 3cm in diameter.
  3. Scoop small amounts of the mixed pork on top of each wrapper, about 1/2 teaspoon. Fold and pleat the wrapper around the filling, twisting it closed at the top.
  4. Steam the dumplings in a steamer for 7-8 minutes until cooked.
  5. Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the dumplings until brown.
  6. Serve hot.

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