I have always loved Delhi-based Chef Ritu Dalmia for her ceaseless energy, cool ideas, cooking style and everything else in between. She is the owner and head of a restaurant called Diva in the capital, a book writer, a television anchor and one of the top-most chefs in this country. So when I heard that she had come up with a new cookbook, I couldn’t wait to get myself a copy. What made wanting the book even more desirable was the that fact that it was an ALL-VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK!
For those of you who don’t know, apart from writing for Alice on this website, I also have my own space called www.whenharrymetcelery.wordpress.com, where I yap about my vegetarian culinary experiments. This book is something that is totally up my street, giving me endless ideas to dabble with.
Unlike most cookbooks that are divided into cuisines or courses, Diva Green is categorised on the basis of ingredients. Chef Dalmia coolly separates various sections in her book into compartments such as potatoes, pumpkin, greens, fruits, dairies, tomato, etc and lists down recipes that use that particular ingredient in central space.
Though the recipes cut across many Indian and international cuisine, they are easy to make, require minimal planning and fit right into the schedule of a busy cook.
To give you a sneak peek, here is an excerpt from this book….
Sweet Pumpkin Fritters
My friend John Jackson runs the Royal Malewane, the most amazing lodge in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. John is an accomplished chef and a very creative man and runs the place like a dream. When I was there a few years ago, I was putting on an average of a kilo per day, with two breakfasts – one before the safari and one on our return – lazy lunches and delicious, elaborate dinners. I must admit the main courses did not do for me what the side dishes or the accompaniments did. One of these, which I ordered extras of all the time, was the local pumpkin fritters, a bit savoury and a bit sweet. They were served as a side dish with the entrées, but I drizzled them with maple syrup and ate them as dessert. They are very easy to make and can be done with very few ingredients. Another example of the versatility of the amazing pumpkin in salty or sweet preparations! Waka Waka!
750g ripe pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cubed
100g refined flour
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1 tbsp sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
A splash of maple syrup (optional)
Icing sugar (optional)
Boil the pumpkin for 25 to 30 minutes, drain it and process it in a blender till it is a smooth purée.
In a clean bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well and combine with the pumpkin purée. Add the dry ingredients to this and mix well.
Heat a non-stick pan with enough oil to shallow fry. Once the oil is smoking, drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry in batches till brown on both sides.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on paper towels.
Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and, if you want, a drizzle of maple syrup.