HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

The August Cookbook of the Month will be WORLD VEGETARIAN by Madhur Jaffrey.

There will be an adjunct thread for PALETAS. Full posting for WV will be on August 1st.
The Dairy Queen will post on Paletas. - many thanks to her!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Thanks bayoucook! I know this book has received a ton of positive reviews so I’m excited to crack it open. I rec’d it as a Christmas gift but I haven’t given it much more than a cursory glance since then.

    I’d love to hear recipe recommendations from folks who have already been cooking from it as this is such a big book and, I tend to get overwhelmed by all the choices . . . especially w the added “global” focus.

    With almost 200 vegetable recipes in this book, we should be in good shape for our farmer’s market cooking next month!

    39 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      There's actually 511 vegetable recipes in this book, 638 in total, so even more choice than you thought. I'm really looking forward to cooking from this book. I'll see if we can get Madhur involved.

      1. re: JaneEYB

        That would be incredible if Madhur were to participate Jane. She was on tv here in Canada in the pre-Food Network days and I always enjoyed her programs. She's so knowledgeable.

        That's great news that there are even more veggie recipes than I'd thought. In the Introduction Madhur notes that there are "almost 200 vegetable recipes in the book" but I'm guessing she must have been referring to the actual "Vegetables" chapter now you mention this.

        EYB will come in very handy this month, with so many recipes, I'll definitely need it to help me plan my menus around what's fresh at the market.

        Edited to add: I was quite surprised to learn this book was published in 1999. I had no idea it had been around so long already.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          I always worry that people will be less candid about posting their comments in these COTM threads when the author is looking on. We live and die on chowhound by people's honest opinions. Personally, I'm not a fan of inviting the author to join our discussion.

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I feel differently, DQ. I think it could enhance the process if it is an author who is willing to answer questions, make clarifications, give a little history, etc. I don't have qualms about saying a dish wasn't for me if an author is "listening in." Sometimes someone who really knows the recipe and the food can even say why the dish didn't work, and can lead you toward a better outcome.

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              I lost my network connection right after posting my above comment (in fact, I wasn't even sure it had posted!) so apologies for my delay in responding to you.

              In my experience, it depends on the book and on the author.

              In the case of the wokkery, it was helpful because we were talking about some very specific cooking techniques and equipment that she could provide specific technical guidance about. I don't think we have a similar situation here with WV, but who knows. Furthermore, Grace Young was incredibly gracious and thick-skinned, but not all authors are (in my opinion). In fact, I'll just say most aren't. I won't name authors, but more than one author has been a bit sensitive to the point where I personally felt uncomfortable about something I had posted. (And I regretted my post and still angst over it to this day.)

              Furthermore, the tone of the threads changed with everyone falling over themselves to thank the author, etc. I felt that people were pulling back on their feedback out of respect for the author, which I think makes these threads pointless. It's pointless if people temper their comments or decline to post negative comments.

              But, I know people love rubbing virtual elbows with the writers. I'd rather rub elbows with my fellow 'hounds without having to be over-the-top-polite because I think the venerable Ms. Jaffrey is looking on. Also, I might not be as candid about my failures because I don't want to look like an idiot in front of her. Etc.

              I do feel strongly about this issue, but I don't feel strongly about this book. So, if people who feel strongly about this book do want Jane to contact the author, I will probably just fade out for August and focus on Paletas, but I did want to at least voice my opinion on this topic.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                TDQ, I was having a similar conversation with one of my bookclub members this evening. We have a "mystery" month in July and invite a local author to join the discussion. It is always about the writing process, where the characters came from, etc. and not about discussing the book.

                In case of COTM, however, I do not see why we could not post our cooking experience and have the author point out our mistakes if we make them. I am with BC on this - let's learn from the guru since we chose his/her book to cook from.

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Whether or not an author of one of our COTMs is popping in to answer questions or comment on our reports is immaterial to me. I'd be surprised to hear that an author isn't already here among us and lurking. How could one not be when a simple Google can bring up any number of references to a particular book.

                  When I cooked through the Bon Appetit Y'All book I found several editing problems vis a vis ingredient amounts and cooking directions. It seems to me that VA Willis took the complaint well and corrected each one quickly and gracefully. Others, too, had some difficulty with various recipes and were not deterred from mentioning it.

                  I guess it all breaks down to saying what needs to be said respectfully without being harshly critical.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Funny you should mention that COTM Gio. I was just reading your very humorous review of the Three-day slaw the other day . . . . I lost it when you gave it a name!! Very funny!!

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Having just joined Chowhound last fall, I don't have a lot of experience w this. I will say though that it was very helpful having Grace Young around during the SFTSE and BOAW COTMs. I didn't get the impression folks were holding back and I definitely learned from Ms Young's comments, suggestions and stories. Somehow it brings the book to life and, I appreciated that Ms Young stood by her recipes. I found her passion for cooking and preserving the tradition of using a wok to be infectious and inspiring. At the end of that COTM I felt I'd learned some valuable lessons and enhanced my culinary skills.

                In my experience COTM reviews seem to be written in a respectful manner, especially if the dish was a flop. In fact, I think most of us tend to think/say we've likely messed up the result by changing/omitting thus or so. I can't imagine that changing if an author was joining us. In fact, I'd hope that these instances in particular would provide an opportunity for learning. I'd be interested to know if perhaps one of my ingredients were sub-par or, I'd used a wrong technique.

                I'd love to have authors join us on our monthly culinary journeys. I think it would further enhance the COTM's wonderful culture of community and learning.

                I've loved cooking from this month's COTM and after preparing over 40 recipes, I'm delighted with the quality of the recipes. That said, I'd love to speak w Mario about the less-than-accurate photography in Italian Grill . . . . Mario, are you out there . . . ? ; - )

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I agree with TDQ. While I thought it was very nice of Grace Young to pop in the discussion, I know it inhibited my discussion of her recipes. GY has a lot of knowledge about the wok and the technique, but on the most part, I found her recipes really lacking in authenticity. Stir Fry to the Sky's Edge, especially, was really geared towards western taste and was more PF Changs than chinese food. So many of her recipes had so much potential but she made these assumptions as to what ingredients home cooks would like for the recipes (I mean, what's with all the superfluous carrots, celery and green peppers in dishes where they have no business being in). Even a mild critique from HC hounds about the organization of the recipe (about how the marinade ingredients weren't separated from the rest of the ingredients) brought a defensive remark from her. To me, that inhibits discussion.

                  The same happened in one of my book groups - we had conferenced call the author in. Prior to the call, we had ripped the book to shreds because there were a lot of weaknesses and it was just a medicore book. But, when the author came on, we all became super polite and barely gave any constructive criticism on how the book could have been better because the author was so happy to be speaking to readers.

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    I forgot about the "authenticity" issue with GY month. :( .

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      I'd forgotten about the organization of the ingredients in GY month . . . it was probably me constantly commenting about that, it was driving me crazy!

                      Hopefully our feedback will help her better meet her reader's needs in her next book.

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I do think it depends on the author, but it definitely has made me hold back in the past from posting a full out "yuck!" review. And I have to say, as an observer during the NY Times cookbook month, I found some of Amanda Hesser's comments (watch out) self-serving. I seem to remember her saying something like "Just buy the book" instead of getting it from the library, which made me sort of gasp and laugh, but really think that we don't need THAT sort of author input.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I was stunned by some of Hesser's comments, too. As a professional writer, she surely knows how to manage her tone on the page, so when she was being sharp, I was pretty sure she intended it.

                        Hesser worked on ENYTC for 6 years. I can only imagine the extraordinary amount of effort and commitment it would take to complete such a project. I don't blame the authors for being self-serving, sharp, defensive, whatever --who wouldn't be with a yahoo like me bumbling through their books?-- but I do their participation changes the COTM game somewhat. Most of the time, we are polite and respectful toward the material in these COTM threads, but there's no reason we HAVE to be. If we want to be full-on scornful and disgusted, we certainly could be. For instance, I remember some pretty high frustration levels with the slip-sloppy editing in the River Cafe books (even though I oddly enjoyed those books and eventually bought one of them) and am grateful I didn't have to temper my opinions for fear of hurting someone's feelings.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I'm so glad I wasn't the only one picking up on the weirdness of her tone. I have to say, it turned me off even considering buying the book (which may well mean I was cutting off my nose to spite my face). I totally agree, TDQ, that it makes sense to feel attached to your "baby" and not want to hear complaints. But nothing is perfect, and having an author around getting defensive can scare off some posters.

                          I love those River Cafe books and still use them all the time (my favorite roast chicken is from one of the - the one with the lemon and thyme). But yes, they're horribly edited, and I wouldn't have wanted one of them to be my first ever cookbook!

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            I feel I must come to the defense of Amanda Hesser. That was my first COTM, and I found her comments very helpful. And, wondering what you were talking about, I just went to her profile and brought up her posts. I don't find anything that isn't completely gracious and informative.

                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                              Maybe the more offensive, self-serving stuff got taken down. I definitely remember her getting uppity with a few people. But then again, that is one of the problems with communicating this way - I may read something into it totally different from what the author meant; and other may read it differently.

                              Again, I was out of the country and unable to cook during most of that month, so I was only along as a reader. Maybe if I'd been cooking, she'd have given me some wonderfully helpful answer to something. But mostly I didn't get that feeling.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I don't know, I'm pretty ultra-sensitive, and I wasn't offended by anything. That being said, I am not a fan of cooking along with the chef. I mean, there's a part of me that gets a little excited (starstruck), but overall, it makes me uncomfortable. In fact, I was just thinking the other day about how a lot of people in my town like to schmooze with the local chefs and about how much I don't enjoy that. It makes me cringe when chefs respond to my postings on Chowhound or via e-mail!

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  it wouldnt be the first time an author got a little peeved by people saying they will take the book out of the library rather than buying it. Understandable but impolitic.

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    And certainly unwise. I had no intention of buying ENYT, but after cooking from the library's copy, I had to buy it!

                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                    Just out of curiosity, I went back to take a look at some of Hesser's replies from last February and it seems as though *all* of her comments have been removed. I couldn't find a single one of her posts anywhere on those COTM threads. Her comments must have been repeatedly self-serving, self-promotional, and/or egregious for that to have happened.

                                    I think it must be extremely difficult for authors to participate while adhering to the mostly-unstated, or at least not readily obvious, restrictions imposed by the site. We might be putting them in an awkward position by inviting them to respond if they then discover many of their replies deleted.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Joan, they are still there. I don't know if they are ALL still there, but here's one of her comments from the master thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7632...

                                      ETA I'm trying to click on her name to see her user profile, but that doesn't seem to be working for me right now. Not for any user, including Hesser's.

                                      OKAY, now I have it working. It looks like she's got posts in multiple of the Feb COTM threads, as I would expect. http://www.chow.com/profile/1227463

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Nevermind :-(

                                        Do I feel like an idiot. I searched under her real name, not her profile name, and none of the COTM posts came up--other than those in which we mentioned her. I just forgot what a good friend of mine always used to say: Never forget that there's an "ass" in assume.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Your approach was completely logical. After all, why would she not have the profile name "amanda hesser?" Is there some other user running around with that name? If there is, I have not yet encountered her. But, if her recipes are as good, I would welcome her.

                                          I am dying to try those cookies after you posted on them yesterday. In fact, I'm glad you posted about them. During Feb, I was flagging all of these ENYTC recipes to try when summer produce season was in full swing, which is now. I'm going to have to curl up with ENYTC and EYB and try some more of her recipes.

                                          And I think tomorrow we shall have Dutch Baby for breakfast.

                                          ~TDQ

                    3. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Awesome! I love this book, it's got loads of great recipes in it! I love the aubergines with spicy peanut sauce, the hot and spicy bean curd and the black bean charros - I cook these all the time! I also rate the rice recipes (there's a great iranian pilaf) and the nigerian peanut kidney bean stew.

                      A lot of the sauces for the veggie dishes work really well as general stir fry sauces as well.

                      One thing to bear in mind - I find the serving sizes to be a little on the small side - I think that each recipe is supposed to be part of a meal, rather than a meal in itself.

                      1. re: serah

                        serah thanks so much, I'll be flagging the recipes you've mentioned as soon as I'm home. That's really helpful and, much appreciated!

                        1. re: serah

                          And there is the fried okra with fresh curry or basil leaves. p252. This is a different technique. It's not battered and fried, just fried "bare" in oil. Then a slurry of turmeric and water is added. It's odd, adding turmeric mixed with water to the frying okra. But man oh man, is this good. I can eat this stuff like popcorn. Best okra dish ever.

                          1. re: MelMM

                            That looks very good, but I am wondering, does the oil not spit and pop a lot when you add the water?

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              I didn't have a problem with it, to my surprise. You could always use a splatter screen, if you are worried about it.

                            2. re: MelMM

                              its interesting that a lot of bengali recipes use spices in this way (mixed with water to a slurry). maybe it keeps them from scorching (that can be an issue with turmeric)

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                In the headnote for this recipe, Jaffrey says that mixing salt or turmeric in water and adding to frying vegetables is a Keralan technique that causes the seasonings to "go right into the food." She calls for 1/4 tsp. of each in 1 1/2 T. water, for 1/2 lb. okra.

                              2. re: MelMM

                                I'll be making this tomorrow morning for breakfast; okra is a breakfast treat for me. I usually cut the okra in small pieces as shown in this recipe, but I don't use much oil to start with, but add oil as it is needed. I do fry the okra in a hot pan. Did you feel that 3/4 cup of oil was excessive?

                                Tumeric is one of those spices (along with hing/asoefetida) that make my salivary glands go wild as first whiff.

                                1. re: Rella

                                  No, the amount of oil is not excessive. This is fried okra, not sauteed. The okra is drained before serving and the final dish is not greasy. Let us know how it works for you.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    I made this recipe today, p. 252. I used abt. 9 oz. okra and 10 basil leaves. My pan was 8" across on the bottom.

                                    As to the oil depth, I only used 1/4" - my estimation. It was more than adequate.

                                    DH and I both liked it. I did post pictures of the finished product, but somehow, they are not there.

                                    1. re: Rella

                                      Sometimes the photos won't attach if they are too big. When you go to attach the photo, I think it tells you the max file size allowed... Yeah, it's 10 megabytes.

                                      Too bad we don't really see much Okra in MN. After all of these raves, I'm curious indeed.

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I should have mentioned that my photos were of proper size. I wrote an email and Engineering answered that he has no trouble with IE. I do, so have been sending them using Firefox - which is a pain because I have to change to Firefox and send pictures from there. Perhaps I'll try later to send the pics of the half-way cooked and fully cooked okra on a separate posting, hoping it might work.
                                        Thanks for your reply.

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Here are the photos that would not attach previously. The first photo is after the okra is cooking for about 5 minutes.
                                          The second photo is when the okra is about to be taken out of the pan.

                                           
                                           
                                          1. re: Rella

                                            Lovely photos Rella, thanks for taking the time for loading them as they're helpful. No doubt this dish was as delicious as it looks!

                                            1. re: Rella

                                              They look like sunny, little flowers! I"m glad you got the photos to post, though what a pain that you have to do it in firefox.

                                              ~TDQ

                              3. Didn't realise the deadline was gone - I forgot to vote!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Good thing there's always a next month!

                                  ~TDQ

                                2. I looked on Amazon and saw some copies going for quite a premium. I found a new copy on abebooks.com for $18.00 and snapped it up. It has gotten almost nothing but glowing reviews on Amazon...

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    I snapped up the only cheap used copy on Amazon which I susquently realised was an older edition. It's coming from the US, which can take either a week, or three weeks - let's hope it's the former!

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      I wonder if mine will be an older edition also. I found a hardcover copy for $6. Since I mostly see paperbacks, maybe this is older. I very much prefer hardbound cookbooks to paperback.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        http://www.amazon.com/Madhur-Jaffreys...

                                        says that it is the same ISBN-10: 0609809237 and Publisher as my paperback copy published in 1999. However, the Amazon says their paperback is published in January 15, 2002.

                                        Is there an even newer version than the 2002 paperback listed on Amazon. If you are cooking from a newer version, maybe someone can compare a page with me to see if pages match.

                                        Red Kidney Beans (Red, Large) on page 46 on my 1999 paperback. Which edition do you have and is it on the same page? Thanks.

                                        Is there an even newer book?

                                        1. re: Rella

                                          That's the one I've ordered. Maybe the other edition I saw on Amazon.co.uk is the British version.

                                      2. re: roxlet

                                        And my "used but good" copy was $12 and change at. Amazon. I have no idea which edition it is.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I picked up a hard cover "used very good" for $11.50 plus shipping yesterday. Well, ordered. Expected shipping date: August 1-August 15. I may actually participate in COTM again, after years of not doing so and even more years of wanting this cookbook.

                                      3. I've purposely stayed out of CotM voting these last two months because I never seem to follow through on my intention of cooking and sharing with you all.

                                        I happen to own this book, have had it for many years and it has largely gone untouched, so thank you for giving me a reason to pull it out.

                                        Good choice for this time of year, although I will be cooking my meat and fish right along side!

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: rabaja

                                          Looking forward to cooking w you in August rabaja!! Oh, and as for the meat, mr bc gasped when I told him what the book was for August. He looked horrified and said, "I need meat"!! So, you won't be alone cooking that meat alongside!!!

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            Funny Breadcrumbs! Same in this house. That's part of the reason we've decided to use Planet Barbecue alongside WV. Mr. NS gets his meat, and his time at the grill. I will probably try to match cuisines from each book, since they both take on the world.

                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                              That sounds very ambitious LN, both such big books . . . I admire your energy!! One thing for certain though, EYB can sure help you with that. I was actually searching through WV by Ethnicity last night to get a sense of the various cuisines in the book. If you created a bookmark w both books together, you'd be well on your way. Maybe I'll just cook from your menus!! LOL!

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Well now Breadcrumbs, I didn't promise to do the entire books! The way my schedule is going lately, I'm lucky to do one or two COTM nights per week!

                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                  Oh, bummer!! ; - )

                                                  I can definitely empathize LN, August is shaping up to be a crazy busy month for me so I actually felt a little relieved when NST wasn't picking up momentum! I'm keen to cook from WV but I'll have to be realistic in my menu planning too.

                                        2. I have ordered a copy of World Vegetarian from the library, and who knows what edition it will be. I am finding it harder and harder to cook from the Batali book since it is now "full summer" here. I buy my vegetables from the farmer's market, and buy what looks good.

                                          Because the Batali books are small, there are limited recipes for the vegetables that are in season. How many times can I make green beans with onions?

                                          Maybe 365 vegetable recipes will help with this!

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            I feel the same way, SMT. Mario is getting short shrift from me these final days of the month.

                                            My copy of The New Spanish Table arrived yesterday and tonight I'm making Braised Beans with Jamon...tomorrow it's going to be a Swiss Chard with Carrots recipe from the same book. All vegetables from our local farmers market.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Aren't the carrots and greens lovely this year? The Hmong farm at Central Square had the most beautiful bounty yesterday. Hard not to overbuy, but I don't since the prices have really gone up this year!

                                              Last night we had our first corn and tomato of the season. I just want these kinds of food steamed, or drizzled.... in a month, I will be looking for ways to give them some zip. For now, simple is the key.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Yes, these are the hazards of small books. The good news is, you do get to cover a ton of ground, the bad news is, you might run out of recipes before the end of the month. It seemed like having two books would solve that problem, but you just don't always know until you're deep into the month. I hate to say it, but in months where I'm very engaged in a book, I tend to get a little bored by week 3 anyway, and start to slip back into my other books.

                                                I saw somewhere breadcrumbs said she'd tried 40 recipes from the two Batali books. Impressive. I've never gotten that far. I think 20 would be a solid attempt from me in a single month.

                                                Gio, I'd be interested in how that recipe turns out from NST. I didn't find any of the recipe titles from that book particularly appealing when I was researching it during the nominations process. I am interested in the "Spanish Table" part, and less so in the "New" part. But that sounds like a pretty traditional recipe you've chosen, so I'm curious about it.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  There were enough gems this month.... don't get me wrong. I like Batali's culinary aesthetic but my market and his books just aren't lining up right now. Small detail that explains why even though I renewed the books, I haven't been writing any new reviews.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    My experience is similar to yours this month. Plus, all of the recipes have been tried by everyone else. Not much to add other than, "Me too."

                                                    ~TDQ

                                              2. re: smtucker

                                                I was also a bit disappointed in the number of vegetable recipes I could make with what is in season from the Batali books. I thought that Molto Gusto was more vegetable-centric than it turned out to be. I think there was only one pasta recipe that called for fresh tomatoes, and I have a ton of tomatoes I need to be using up right now. I know World Vegetarian is going to be a lot more useful.

                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                  I'm not sure I was disappointed as much as I was surprised. When I read the intro of Molto Gusto, there was a lot of talk about how there's this new way people are eating that is mostly vegetarian and how the food at his newest restaurant reflected that, etc. So, I just assumed there would be a lot more vegetables.

                                                  I hope (and assume!) you're right about WV. I could look at the recipes on EYB, but I think I'll just wait for my copy of the book to arrive. Lazy me.

                                                  ~TDQ