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 Post subject: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:42 am 
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 3:09 pm
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Location: Bangalore, India
I am rebuilding my cookbook collection from scratch (it'll be a much more minimalist effort due to cost and difficult access to special ingredients) and am requesting your top recommendations.

Hello all...checking into the forums after a long time today. I moved from the US to my home country of India and am pleased and surprised to say that vegan life here is very good. The Bangalore Vegan group here is small, but fantastic. Most people dont get veganism and insist that milk is divine, but that makes it all the more interesting to thrive as a vegan here. [A story for a different day]

Tragically, my entire collection of vegan/vegan friendly cookbooks (overall about 30), which were in a container making its way to India on a ship, drowned along with the container in the ocean (only the container, not the ship). Along with all our material possessions went my baking equipment and supplies (much more exp here in India), my brand new ice cream maker, nooch and vital wheat gluten (gasp!), le creuset dutch oven (a gift!) and bunch of other cool new things (mostly gifts). Husband and I are now sorta rebuilding our lives.

More than anything else, I rue losing my cookbook collection - I can make basic indian meals without cookbooks, but totally miss exploring new dishes from my cookbooks. I bought a lot of Isa/Terry's books just before leaving and never had a chance to use them. <tears>

Could you guys help me build a cookbook collection by giving your top recommendations for say, 10 - 12ish books? These cookbooks are expensive to buy from India (available at same price as Amazon UK or more) - I dont think I can go on the buying frenzy that I did in the US, what with the lack of my dollar income, hence the reason for seeking your input! Many thanks for anything you can add.

This is what I owned once:
I had pretty much most of Isa/Terry's books. Colleen Patrick G's baking book and vegan table. Kittee's ethiopian book. Viva vegan. Vegan substitutions. Madhur Jaffrey's world of the east vegetarian (awesome vegan-friendly tome). A few other Indian cookbooks. Other cookbooks.

My constraints:
    * Should not rely heavily on vegan cream cheese, earth balance, seitan etc. These are very hard to find/not available/really expensive here. There is no EB equivalent in India - except pure coconut oil. Its okay if a few recipes have them. Tofu is available easily here. India has a great variety of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, oils and spices. But there are no processed vegan things, agave nectar, brown rice syrup etc. However, there is super tasty date syrup.
    * Great baking/dessert recipes that use basic ingredients. I love baking quickbreads, muffins etc other than cupcakes and cookies. Ice creams!
    * Should not focus too much on Indian/South East Asian/Curry type dishes. I can get those here for much much cheaper. Japanese ingredients are hard to find here or expensive.
    * Not super expensive or super fancy - a la tal ronnen or eric tucker of Millenium (even though they are lovely books)
    * paperback would be cheaper than hardcover I think. Also less weight for my relatives to carry from the US. 1 or 2 must haves are okay.

Definitely getting:

    - Viva vegan (just backpacked 4 months in South America earlier this year and really eager to try these out. I saw so many authentic latin dishes but could not eat them. I'll just have to make seitan from scratch)
    - The dessert triplet - cupcakes/cookies/pies by Isa & Terry. I found these mostly used basic ingredients. I can be creative and come up with substitutions. Covers a wide range of baked goods.
    - Papa tofu's ethiopian book - this is such a cute book that I have to own it. I love Ethiopian food. If Kittee still has it for sale, I am buying it soon.

Thanks once again for your top cookbook recommendations that work with these constraints. Really appreciate your feedback!

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:57 am 
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Oh that must be horrible, loosing all your posessions like that during a big move!

For baking, I'd get The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. It has a lot of basic staple recipes and the most exotic ingrediënts are ground flax (not many recipes) and apple sauce.

And Appetite for Reduction. Most of the recipes are grain, bean, veg and nut based.

Maybe also get Veganomicon. It is such a wonderful book. There is a cheaper paperback edition. A lot of the recipes use vegetables and beans, although there are also quite a lot that require tofu, seitan etc.

Also get a new food processor/blender if you can. It will enable you to make your own milks, cheese and cream sauces from nuts and seeds.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:43 am 
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Niru! My gosh - I'm so sorry!

I would also recommend Appetite for Reduction, as it has mostly basic ingredients. That's what I love most about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:44 am 
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Oh, I feel so bad for you! When I moved to the UK from Japan, I shipped almost all my books and a few cooking things and I was so nervous waiting for the boxes to arrive!! How did they lose your container?! Can you claim some or all of the cost back?

Anyway, I was in a similar position in Japan with inavailability of any convenience foods. My favourite books were those that relied on veg and grains and DIY-ing stuff like mayo, yoghurt, sour cream etc. With that in mind, I thoroughly recommend 500 Vegan Recipes. I cooked so much from that book and the only thing I struggled with was getting special flours (like spelt) but you can substitute regular if that is a problem for you.
That book was most definitely my favourite but I would also recommend Appetite for Reduction, The Asian Vegan Kitchen and probably Veganomicon since its so comprehensive. I just got it recently but if I move back to Japan, I'll definitely be taking Quick & Easy Low-cal Vegan Comfort Food with me. The ingredients for most recipes are very accessible I think. Since I'd imagine India had no shortage of beans and nuts, I'd also recommend a Dreena Burton book (I only have LTEV but have cooked from others) since all her recipes eschew "substitutes" and use only wholefoods, veg and fruit.
Good call on the Isa-Terry sweet trinity.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:05 am 
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May I suggest The BookDepository? It's where I get most of my books and they offer free shipping (including to India).

I also have issues with availability (and cost) and must agree that I currently use Appetite for Reduction probably the most of my (15) cookbooks. The recipes are quick, tasty, and likely to use ingredients I have at home. There are a lot of dashes of agave in it, but you could use another sweetener or if you're like me just leave it out. I like 500 Vegan Recipes especially for the bread and quick bread recipes. It does use soy yoghurt a lot, but there is a recipe for homemade sorta yoghurt that works well in baked goods (at least it did for the muffins I made).


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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:31 am 
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i am PMing you, but i've gotten the most mileage from Vcon and AFR will be my next purchase. I feel your pain on international moving. feel free to talk to me about subbing things (like fruitbat mentions) as i can't get any vegan versions of anything here and often have to MacGyver recipes and ingredients.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:39 am 
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Tofu Pup Forever

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Location: Bangalore, India
Thank you guys! These are great suggestions - exactly the type I was looking for.

Will definitely check out bookdepository, fruitbat.

ComradeSquirrel - the ship encountered a typhoon and had heavy rolling and pitching. Our container happened to be one of the 20 or so that fell overboard. We took out some insurance, but it was undervalued. We do get something back to take the sting out of things. Our shipping agent told us that in the 15 years they've been operational, this is the first time this happened. Good suggestion about Deena Burton - authors who like to avoid substitues will definitely work. I didnt know this tidbit. thanks!

Going to look into getting Vcon, AFR and 500 vegan recipes - these tomes seem to cover a very broad base.

Torque - I'll reply to your PM soon. :) Good to know that there is someone who is finding substitutes for substitutes!

A note about soy yoghurt - this hasnt been a problem here. A local vegan friend told me that many vegans in India use chilli pepper crowns/rejuvelac to start a yogurt culture. And over generations, the yogurt becomes thicker and better. I also had the opportunity to eat 'peanut-curd-rice' [curd in India is yogurt and curd rice is a staple]. The peanut-yogurt-rice is amazing!

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:50 am 
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That's awful! It is hard enough making a big move without losing your stuff too.

I'm watching the thread like a hawk because I need to buy some vegan only books. I have vegetarian ones from my vegetarian days but they aren't all that great.

Thanks fruitbat for the website recommendation. It looks like it is going to be cheaper to buy from them rather than amazon.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:04 am 
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nirupamas wrote:
A note about soy yoghurt - this hasnt been a problem here. A local vegan friend told me that many vegans in India use chilli pepper crowns/rejuvelac to start a yogurt culture. And over generations, the yogurt becomes thicker and better. I also had the opportunity to eat 'peanut-curd-rice' [curd in India is yogurt and curd rice is a staple]. The peanut-yogurt-rice is amazing!

Cool. I had no idea what the soy yoghurt situation might be like over there. For me it's mostly that I don't always have it on hand, since it's a bit expensive. Peanut yoghurt rice sounds intriguing. Is the yoghurt made with peanuts?

daisychain, it often works out cheaper than Amazon, but not always. It's the first place I check, but I do compare with a few other shops I use. Most of the time BookDepository wins.


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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:25 am 
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Tofu Pup Forever

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fruitbat wrote:

Cool. I had no idea what the soy yoghurt situation might be like over there. For me it's mostly that I don't always have it on hand, since it's a bit expensive. Peanut yoghurt rice sounds intriguing. Is the yoghurt made with peanuts?


Yes, fruitbat. Its yoghurt made with peanut milk, which is made pretty much like almond milk. Its great for raita and other Indian yogurt dishes like mor kozhambu and kadi.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:57 am 
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Oh that sounds awful! We move every 1-2 years and it is always stressful, the things that get lost or destroyed.

Hmm, if I had to pick just a few, I would choose:
"Vegan with a Vengeance"
"Vegan Brunch"
"Viva Vegan"
"Supermarket Vegan" (the most standard-ingredient-friendly)
"Vegan Planet"
"Vegan on the Cheap"
"Cafe Flora Cookbook" for entertaining

If you like Ethiopian food I would throw in "Exotic Ethiopian Cooking" by Daniel Mesfin. Just made Zelbo Gomen from that earlier this week, mmm...


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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:11 am 
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amazon US is having a giant book sale right now, i don't know if it's also on amazon UK, but you might want to check.

i just got vegan on the cheap in that sale, and so-far it looks amazing. it has very few convenience foods, and looks like it sticks to your requirements perfectly. (not to mention will help you save money to help you rebuild your kitchen.)

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:30 am 
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nirupamas wrote:

This is what I owned once:
I had pretty much most of Isa/Terry's books. Colleen Patrick G's baking book and vegan table. Kittee's ethiopian book. Viva vegan. Vegan substitutions. Madhur Jaffrey's world of the east vegetarian (awesome vegan-friendly tome). A few other Indian cookbooks. Other cookbooks.

Please email me your address and I'll send you another ethiopian zine!
kittee68 at gmail dot com

so sad to hear you lost your stuff!!
xo
kittee

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:52 pm 
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AFR is hands down my most used vegan cookbook. i will admit that i personally use it mainly for a lot of the "ethnic" recipes including the curries and such that you mention you're not interested in those types of recipes since you can get them locally easier but the book as a whole is pretty broadly based and i cant think of any weird ingredients she uses in it. i dont think ive come across any uses of cream cheese or EB in it.

im sorry you lost all your stuff that really sucks :-(

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:46 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
... i cant think of any weird ingredients she uses in it. i dont think ive come across any uses of cream cheese or EB in it.

Yeah, but that depends a lot on where you live. There are quite a few troublesome ingredients in AFR for me. Most can be worked around (substituting something else, making my own Worcestershire sauce etc), some can be found occasionally (kale, chard, bok choy are sadly all in this category for me), and some just don't exist. Examples of things from AFR that I can't buy in my city: canned chipotles, salsa verde, tomatillos, tempeh, collards, escarole, and Vidalia onions. I found miso in my local Chinese shop so I'm all set for a bit, a friend brought me soba noodles after a trip to Stockholm, but I suppose I could use other noodles if I had to (I just happen to enjoy soba). You're right about there being no cream (or other) cheese or Earth Balance (or faux meat) in the book.


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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:16 pm 
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nirupamas wrote:
Its yoghurt made with peanut milk, which is made pretty much like almond milk. Its great for raita and other Indian yogurt dishes like mor kozhambu and kadi.

Should you feel inclined, i'd love to see a recipe or some basic outline on how to do this if you have any links handy. We have no soy yogurt here and we just do without (using soured soymilk for recipes). But we have lots of peanuts.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:42 pm 
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I've been eyeing these recipes for peanut and cashew yoghurt. They seem very similar to what nirupamas describes.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:36 pm 
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I'm so sorry you lost all your cookbooks! I'd be devastated if that happened to me. I'm not very materialistic, but my cookbook collection is one thing I really care about.

I would get Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance, and I'm not just saying that because this is the PPK. There are no processed ingredients in Isa and Terry's recipes, at least not that I've noticed.


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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:52 pm 
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I'm so very sorry that you lost your cookbooks (and other possessions!) I'm glad you're going to repurchase Viva Vegan, I have loved everything I have made it from it and the ingredients are very affordable (rice and beans, yeah!). If I were to recommend another book for you, it would be Veganomicon. It is a rather epic cookbook with wonderful sections on how to cook all kinds of beans, grains, and vegetables. I think it's a great value for the money, there aren't a whole lot of desserts in it but since you're getting the Isa trifecta of dessert cookbooks you'll be well-covered there.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:21 am 
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Thanks for your suggestions everyone!

Cornelie - you're spot on with the peanut yoghurt link! She is an Indian blogger and I've heard of her. Her pictures are lovely!

Here is another Indian vegan recipe resource, which is adapted to Indian availability of ingredients that liberally uses peanut yoghurt/curd - http://sharan-india.org/vegan-recipes/d ... ernatives/

Thanks Kittee - I am sending you an email. I am glad you have copies of your zine.

supercarrot - an amazon book sale is just the thing!

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:15 pm 
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nirupamas wrote:
Here is another Indian vegan recipe resource, which is adapted to Indian availability of ingredients that liberally uses peanut yoghurt/curd - http://sharan-india.org/vegan-recipes/d ... ernatives/

That website has a lot of awesome recipes! I'm going to try all the cheeses.

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:54 pm 
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so sorry that you're going through all this :(

My recs:
Vegan Table
Color Me Vegan
Veganomicon
Appetite for Reduction
Vegan Indian Cooking
660 Curries
Vegan Slow Cooker
Indian Slow Cooker

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 Post subject: Re: Pls help rebuild my cookbook collection
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:28 pm 
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I note you've already got Isa's - if I had to limit my cookbook intake, I'd reduce it to:
Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson
Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton
World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan
The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage.

I reckon you can pretty much do anything with those cookbooks. They're *the best*.


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