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Greener pastures for your palette

Greener pastures for your palette
Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and bestselling author, Ritu Dalmia adds zest, spice and luscious twists to all things vegetarian in yet another interesting collection of recipes.

This time it is only for the vegetarians! Sad but true and that is the thought that hit us when we went for the launch of the book in the Capital. Seasoned meat-eaters sat sceptically as Dalmia spoke about her book and we were told that if by the end of the meal- whipped up with some recipes from her book-we still missed the chicken, the mutton and the steaks, then her book fails. And by the end of the dinner, to be very honest, tucked in and satisfied – we did not miss sinking our teeth into a well done leg of lamb.

From the starters to the dessert, every dish was exquisitely prepared, hand picked by Dalmia and prepared by her in the posh South Delhi restaurant on a Friday evening. While vegetarian food is an extensive mainstay in Indian cuisines it has seldom received the kind of  focus it truly deserves. This could have been a side-effect of multifarious cuisine options that a spate of new restaurants in the country started offering. From sushi to steaks, Greek, Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican and the list goes on. With newer cuisines on offer, the regular Indian got the chance to open up his tastebuds and his kitchen to exotic meats and flavours. There was no looking back, a vegetarian meal started feeling oddly left out and incomplete without a heavy side dish for the carnivores. But Dalmia’s book seems to want to get the leafy greens to the dining table all over again.

Take your pick from a perfectly seasoned green mango and banana flower salad or mushroom ceviche; a fun combination of grilled eggplant with pepper and sesame; spicy, tangy spinach with sambal; a wholesome tomato and goat cheese tart; or a comforting papaya curry or carrot and ginger soup. For those who prefer something sweet, there are delectable desserts – from apple dumplings or a pear skillet cake to beetroot soufflé and sweet potato cupcakes. And to add that special zing to any meal are a host of dips, sauces and condiments, and surefire suggestions for just the right accompaniments.

Uncommon yet easy-to-prepare, inventive and exciting, the recipes in Diva Green will reacquaint you with vegetables in all their flavour, colour and goodness.

Ritu Dalmia is among India’s best-known super chefs and restaurateurs. Her restaurants in New Delhi – the award-winning Diva, Café Diva and Latitude 28 – have been widely acclaimed for their superior quality of service and cuisine. She also runs the popular café at the Italian Cultural Centre in Delhi, and hosts two immensely successful cookery shows on national television.

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