I still can’t believe it was March of 2014 when I announced I would be writing a cookbook and 3 years later, we’ve finally arrived at pre-order time! And after several title changes I am happy to present Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn, now available from Penguin Random House. (33% off at select booksellers for limited time, plus get a special bonus recipe bundle available when you pre-order – details below).
The stunning photos were shot by Erin Scott and styled by Lily Kang. Interwoven throughout the book are exquisitely intricate illustrations drawn by my talented Aunt Karen Vasudev in a traditional Madhubani style, an ancient Indian art form.
Writing this manuscript has been a real labor of love for me. I devoted myself to gathering, documenting and meticulously testing my family’s recipes passed down through generations (some in the language of pinches and handfuls and others transcribed from fading Aerogram letters). I worked hard to adapt them to be accessible for the home cook while still maintaining their integrity. The 80+ recipes, which are all vegetarian and for the most part gluten-free and vegan naturally, are rooted in traditional South Indian Brahmin home cooking and inspired by seasonal fruits and vegetables from my Roasted Kabocha Squash ‘Sambar’ to Apple, Ginger and Coconut ‘Kadabu’ Hand Pies. My passion for preserving food traditions in the spirit of the local food movement is very much alive in this book.
In addition to my adaptations are classic recipes such as dosa, savory lentil and rice crepe which I explain in detail bordering on OCD, a mix of kosambris, fresh salads made with chopped veggies, coconut, lemon, fried spices and curry leaves, lemon saaru, a tangy aromatic lentil soup that is equal parts delicious and healing and one of my favorites beet and coconut yogurt raita. Sprinkled throughout are fun snacks I grew up eating in Bangalore like addictive bitter gourd chips and Congress peanuts, desserts I crave often like shrikhand, sweetened thick yogurt flavored with cardamom and saffron and refreshing drinks like majjige, herbed buttermilk.
The book gave me an opportunity to write about my family’s history, our cuisine and Bangalore, my mom’s hometown and where my parents first met. I also wrote about my story – how I discovered and eventually become a part of the vibrant food scene in Brooklyn..and how I eventually found myself at a crossroads where I had to choose to take a leap of faith and pursue food full time, which led me to writing this book and starting Brooklyn Delhi.
I’ve learned so much during the process of writing this cookbook (on Instagram you can view some of the behind the scenes using #bangalorecookbook). Besides getting elbow deep in the nuance of testing a gazillion recipes, I got to see and participate in the photo shoot in Berkeley, CA, become somewhat of an archivist by collecting old family photos and laying them out into collages that tell a story, against my natural tendencies, become more organized than I have ever been to figure out how best to arrange the contents of the book and last but not least to stop second guessing myself and go with my gut.
I am thrilled with how the book came out and cannot wait to show you the literal fruits of my labor!
Where to Buy
Book Depository – Free Worldwide Shipping
Pre-Order Bonus Recipe Bundle
Also, when you pre-order Vibrant India before March 21st, you can receive a bundle of bonus recipes! Here’s how to redeem these exclusive recipes via email: