Sunday, 11 May 2014 09:55

"Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen" Shows How Flavorful Plant-Based Meals Can Be

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Review written by EvG team member Rachel Curit:

Anyone who has ever thought that vegan food is flavorless and boring needs a copy of Food Fusion in the Vegan Kitchen stat. Joni Marie Newman shows her readers how to make decadent and satisfying food with everyday ingredients that could be found at the local grocery store. She takes well known dishes like Vietnamese bahn mi or Italian fettuccine Alfredo and adds an ethnic twist to make it even more exciting and unique.

I made a meal for my boyfriend’s family out of the Aji Potato Samosas (pictured at the top of this post), Smoky Chili-Lime Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Roasted Broccoli. Everything was a hit. Normally an Indian appetizer, samosas are filled with potatoes, peas and fragrant spices and then are deep fried. These Aji Potato Samosas were an Indian-Peruvian fusion, taking the original, Indian concept and stuffing it with Peruvian flavors like cilantro, black beans and pine nuts. And instead of of crispy dough, everything is wrapped in a flour tortilla. We used poblano peppers in the sauce instead of amarillo escabeche or jalapeño peppers, because some don’t like their food too spicy. Even after dialing down the heat, the final product was phenomenal. My only warning is that they are not something you can whip together quickly, as there is a technique in wrapping the filling in the tortillas.

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As I mentioned, the sides were the Smoky Chili-Lime Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Roasted Broccoli. Both veggies were coated in a dressing before being roasted in the oven. The natural sweetness of the potatoes paired well with the smoke and spice of the seasoning. Since this flavorful side is a Mexican-USA fusion, Joni suggests using these as a filling for burritos, tacos or tamales; that is definitely a suggestion you will want to keep in mind. Next to the sweet potatoes sat the most delicious broccoli ever, and that’s not an exaggeration. For one pound of broccoli, the recipe calls for eight to ten cloves of garlic, which are then fried in olive oil before being drizzled onto the raw broccoli, along with some sesame oil, red pepper flakes and salt. The coated broccoli is then transferred to a baking sheet to bake for about 10 minutes. When they come out, the florets were still a vibrant, bright green— a good sign. When I bit into them, they were still snappy and fresh, but had been enhanced by the garlic oil.

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I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to explore vegan cooking. Though some of the recipes require a little more effort, plenty of them are easy to whip up. Many of these recipes are naturally gluten-free and the others could be made so if so desired. A simple switch of corn tortillas for the wheat ones or gluten-free bread crumbs in place of the wheat ones would work. If you’re avoiding oil, use this book with caution: some of the recipes seem to require it, while others could be modified. Despite the seemingly heavy hand with the oil, the ingredients in this book are largely whole foods. There isn’t much for processed foods, with the exception a little seitan, TVP or ketchup here and there.

Essentially, this book is not a diet book, but could get even the most hesitant person interested in vegan cooking. For anyone looking for a fun way to expand their vegan menu, pick up a copy of this book; You won’t regret it.

What about you? Do you own this book? What have you made from it? Please leave comments below and let everyone know your thoughts on Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen!

Rachel Curit is a recent graduate of the University of Maine. You can find her writing at One Green Planet, Flurt, and her own site, The Vegan Mishmash.

Read 15644 times Last modified on Monday, 12 May 2014 22:00