Whenever I was in London, I’d always make eating out at at one of the amazing selection of veggie and vegan restaurants a priority. This often involved a visit to the famous World Food Cafe, based in Covent Garden for twenty years.
So I was delighted to recipe a copy of the World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible through the post for review. Published this month (RRP £20) it collects together over 200 dishes, including 130 suitable for vegans. Recipes gleaned over two decades of globetrotting are tried and tested to be easy to make at home, by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott.
Every recipe tells a story, through beautiful landscape photography and anecdotes of how the dish was discovered and how they have served it in the restaurant. From India, to North Africa & Arabia, South East Asia and Central America, there are many dishes you won’t have heard of or may have only been lucky enough to encounter once in specialized restaurants themselves in large cities.
This is a book for people who love vegetarian cookery and exploring new colour and flavour combinations. If you have a healthy spice cupboard you will have a good basis for many recipes. It’s what I call a ‘daydreaming cookbook’, amongst those kept by the coffee table to look through of an evening, then pick a recipe to try on a Saturday night or if you have guests for dinner.
Many of the recipes involve a generous list of ingredients, some requiring access to a good Asian supermarket.
What better way to try out the Vegetarian Bible, than to make a dhal from it. Every region in India and individual it seems has their own way of making dhal (and spelling it). This one was different from my method, yet totally delicious; packed full of warmth, flavour and comfort. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly.
Inspired by the World Food Cafe Vegetarian Bible
8oz/225g channa dhal
3 pints water
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
6 green chillies, slit down the side (use small ones, I used half this quantity)
2 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
2 tbsp vegan margarine
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp raisins, soaked in water for 90 mins then drained
4 bay leaves
1 tsp garam masala
Place channa dhal in a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Remove any foam that rises to the surface. Add the turmeric and chilli powder, cover the pan and gently simmer until the dhal is soft. Mash dhal with a potato masher to break it up a little. Combine the coriander, cumin and garam masala with a little water until a paste forms, and add to the dhal along with the green chillies, sugar and salt to taste. Continue cooking for a further 5 mins. Heat the margarine in a small frying pan. When hot, add the coconut and raisins and fry until golden. Add the bay leaves and garam masala, fry for 1 min and pour on to the dhal. Serve with rice.