Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Southeast Asia Meets My Crockpot!

Recently, I was sent a few cookbooks - to see if I'd be interested in reviewing them. Some yes, some no. One of them was this book: "150 best Indian, Thai, Vietnamese & more Slow Cooker Recipes" (yes, that is the actual title!) by Sunil Vijayakar. This book is not all vegan (or vegetarian, for that matter) - but there is a big section of veggie recipes, and many others which could be veganized without too much trouble.

Most of all, I was interested in checking out this book because although I love the idea of my slow cooker, I really don't use it all that often. Plus, I love Southeast Asian food - so it seemed like a good fit. I made 3 recipes from this book, and I like them all. Here' a little run down:

First up, I made the Saag Dhal, because - as you may know - I love spinach dahl. The recipe only called for 1 cup of spinach, so I increased that to 2 cups. Also I reduced the oil from 2 Tbsp to 2 tsp. Because that is my way. Other than that, I followed the recipe quite faithfully. This recipe requires a little bit of stove time (no more than 10 minutes), plus the time in the slow cooker. Each recipe gives you a speedy version and a slower version (ex 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 on low) - which is really convenient. This dal was really yum, and using the slow cooker gave me plenty of time to cook up a batch of cumin rice to go with it. Mmmm.

 Next up, I made two dishes: the Chana Masala and the Beet Curry. We're big beet fans around here, so I was super stoked to try this one out. Take note: beets + coconut milk = Good Idea. I loved this dish so much! Somehow mine ended up super spicy, I guess my fresh peppers were extra intense, so I look forward to making this again with a less aggressive power punch. But the flavors, aroma, texture, spices were all great. Also, a totaly new kind of dish for me, which is always so fun.

I also really liked the Chana Masala. Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats wasn't such a fan, but he's sorta iffy on chickpeas to start with (and yet, somehow, I manage to love him). It was packed with spices, and I especially loved the addition of tamarind paste. One thing I really like this book is that it calls for authentic ingredients like tamarind paste or curry leaves, or whatever - instead of dumbing down the recipes. Alternatives are given, but I like being offered recipes with the slightly more off-the-beaten-path spices.

If you are looking for more ways to use your slow cooker and you like some Southeast Asian flavors, I think this book is worth checking out. I've got lots more recipes bookmarked, and I'll be sure to keep you posted when I make them!

1 comment:

  1. I love slow cooking. It's so easy!


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