Many cooks still have treasured recipes from Madhur Jaffrey’s first book, Invitation to Indian Cooking, from 1973, which is in the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame. Or, perhaps, from their battered copies of her square-format, paperback classic, World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking (1981), or any of her two dozen or so other cookbooks. Over the last few years, Ms. Jaffrey has travelled throughout India to uncover recipes for Vegetarian India: A Journey through the Best of Indian Home Cooking (Knopf, $35). She cooked side by side with local cooks at stoves and grills, whether in homes, shops, or roadside stands. She provides chapters on eggs and dairy, grains and pancakes, and of course, dals, chutneys, desserts, and drinks. Kodova Mushroom Curry With Coconut, Okra Fries with Chile, Turmeric, and Chickpea Flour, Stir-Fried Spinach, Andhra Style, and Goan Potatoes are a few of the 200-plus recipes, profusely illustrated with photos. Ms. Jaffrey always makes the recipes approachable—and mouth-watering.
Amrita Sondhi's Tastes of Ayurveda harmoniously combines guidance on a traditional, non-Western diet with carefully crafted recipes highlighting the effects they have on individuals with specific elemental needs. Sondhi encapsulates the spiritual and physical components of the body, emphasizing the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. With thorough explanations of the three key diets (vata, pitta, and kapha), Tastes of Ayurveda provides recipes listing ways in which personalized dietary needs can be aided or aggravated, while maintaining unique flavors and ingredients.
Heidi Swanson write recipes with tactile clarity and sympathy for the home chef. The recipes in Super Natural Everyday are creative, but always simple and nourishing. Heidi encourages flexibility with her ingredients; you can tailor your recipes to the season and your geography. I highly recommend this immensely readable, West Coast–inspired cookbook.