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Pure and Special
Gourmet Indian Vegetarian Cuisine
Vidhu Mittal

published 2014 • 9" x 11" • 224 pages • full-color photos
ISBN 9781566569590 • hardback • $30.00

“Mittal (Pure & Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine) successfully follows up her first cookbook with this title. Most recipes feature a flavor profile from her home state of Uttar Pradesh, but Mittal gives a nod to other regional cuisines by including Punjabi, Gujarati, and South Indian dishes as well. She takes a healthy approach by utilizing whole and fresh ingredients including vegetables, such as broccoli, that are not widely used in Indian cooking. Main dishes are built around koftas (dumplings), paneer (fresh curd cheese), dal (lentils), potatoes, or hearty produce such as cauliflower and jackfruit. While many of the dishes are more complex than what most cooks would want to attempt on a weeknight, some will be simple to prepare, and inspiration abounds. The book includes a helpful glossary and visual guide for spices, vegetables, and legumes. VERDICT The minimalist aesthetic and photographs will appeal to a wide audience, and readers familiar with Indian cuisine will appreciate the diversity of dishes represented. Mittal's helpful visual instructions, chapter devoted to cooking techniques, and tips will have home cooks making paneer and spice blends with confidence.”
—Library Journal, starred review

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Celebrated food writer Vidhu Mittal’s eagerly-awaited new cookbook delves deeper into the nuances of Indian vegetarian food and offers a collection of recipes that elevates the food lover to the next level of vegetarian cooking. A mix of traditional, festive dishes, contemporary favorites and innovative renditions, each recipe extols the variety and virtue of vegetables in Indian cooking.

Continuing in the tradition of her previous book, Pure & Special features easy-to-follow recipes with step-by-step photographs for each dish. Every recipe carries useful tips and special notes from the author, explaining the uniqueness of each dish. Vidhu has created a wide range of vegetarian recipes that retain and enhance natural flavors, textures, and colors but are simple and easy to prepare. Compared to traditional Indian cooking, which can sometimes be too rich and elaborate, her recipes are healthy and appealing.

Pure and Special is filled with helpful menu suggestions and ingredient descriptions. With beautiful photography and tasteful design this book makes a perfect gift and is a must have for both the beginner as well as the seasoned cook.

Vidhu Mittal is one of India’s best known culinary experts and the author of the best-selling Pure and Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine. Based in Bangalore, she has been conducting cooking classes for over 20 years and is a regular contributor to international magazines and specialized websites. She has spent many years creating a wide range of simple and easy-to-prepare recipes that are flavorful, colorful, and delicious.

Praise for Vidhu Mittal

“Diners hesitant to attempt Indian dishes will be reassured by the steady, reassuring voice of culinary expert Mittal… readers are guided, literally, through step by step instructions… with the inclusion of color photos illustrating key steps… home cooks will find this a handy, confidence-building guide….”
—Publishers Weekly on Pure and Simple

“This colorful, accessible cookbook… demystifies Indian cuisine for American home cooks with clear, simple instructions… this is the perfect guide.”
—Library Journal on Pure and Simple

Media Reviews

“Vegetarian cooking attains some of its greatest triumphs in India. The country’s sophisticated and intelligent use of a huge array of spices brings a dynamic to humble garden produce like no other culinary approach. Mittal’s vibrantly photographed cookbook proves attractive to just about any palate looking to pursue vegetarian or even vegan regimens. An illustrated guide to spices, herbs, and vegetables, in both English and Indian languages, does much to dispel confusion… Photograph series within each recipe show dishes at successive stages of preparation, giving the first-timer benchmarks to assure ultimate success.”

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