Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

So, I am not a new vegan, nor is this my first encounter with the extraordinary skills of Ms. Romero. But this is one of the most exciting and completely Braveheart recipe collections I have ever seen. And Romero never left Queens! How is it possible?

Romero reimagines classic dishes from cuisines around the world from a vegan viewpoint, something I had almost thought impossible. But she captures the flavor, color, and sense of the original with flair and originality and for the first time I have been able to wholeheartedly enjoy the world’s diverse bounty.

I was able to enjoy Pumpkin Kibbe even though I did not have a food processor to grind the pumpkin and bulgur together. I used a 100-year-old hand-crank table-top meat grinder and the result was sublime. I especially enjoyed the Yogurt Cashew sauce, and the recommended very hot chile harissa paste that accompanied the recipe. Both added immeasurably to the authentic taste.

One thing I was familiar with in years gone by were Chinese steamed BBQ Char Siu “bao” and I was thrilled to be able to recreate the wondrous experience of eating them again. The recipe is flawless in terms of taste, though I can’t imagine any Chinese person using several pans to prepare the filling. The cornstarch in water can be stirred into the roasted seitan hot from the oven.

I get wild cravings for good Ma-Po Tofu and Romero has included a brilliant recipe that works beautifully. I sprinkle on a few toasted Sichuan peppercorns for garnish because its distinct aroma makes the dish taste and smell authentic. I used a new-to-me tofu made from besan, or chick-pea flour. The recipe can be found in Burma:Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid.

Romero's Thai dishes are superb as well. The famous Tom Yum soup does not miss it's shrimp and the Grilled Seitan Noodle Salad made me feel quite as though I had just spent the day lounging seaside in the sun. A bottle of organic lime juice does wonders in making the dishes taste authentic.

Romero reprised a few of the indipensable Latin dishes she introduced to us in Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers but that book is filled with other wonders you won't want to miss. It is worth it's weight in gold for finding a way to make meat in Latin recipes totally irrelevant and it has recipes North Americans might find closer to home.

Romero has done aspiring vegans a huge service by providing recipes from around the world. She has added diversity and color, flavor and interest to our menu and these dishes can be served with panache and joy to those curious onlookers to a vegan lifestyle.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores


  1. Interesting! I'm not a vegan but I'm interested in healthy eating so I might take a look at this.

    1. Exactly, Marie. One doesn't have to be vegan to enjoy her recipes. One can cut meat one day or dairy the next--some people might just want to use what is in their pantry if they are out of meat or dairy and wonder what to make and how to make it. Vegan titles are great for that. This book, while not "simple" because it uses ingredients more commonly found in large quantities in other cultures, adds diversity to a vegan's diet and shows us that ANY restaurant could make vegan entrees if they followed her lead. If you are just interested in seeing what familiar dishes can be made without meat or dairy, try Viva Vegan! or Veganomicon. Both feature food so exquisitely satisfying, you will never miss meat.