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Healthy South Indian Cooking

Alamelu Vairavan & Patricia Marquardt
Hippocrene Books, New York
Price $24.95
Book Review by Nirmala Garimella


Welcome to a low calorie, low fat, Indian cookery book that offers authentic and delectable wholesome recipes, along with a nutritional analysis for each of them. This is what impressed me the most as I browsed through this unusual cookery book co authored by two close friends and neighbors. Alamelu Vairavan and Patricia Marquardt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The book is called ‘Healthy South Indian cooking’ and it specializes in the famous Chettinad cuisine of South India This cuisine as the author states ”is characterized by thick delicious sauces such as Kulambu and a dry stir fry style called Poriyal”. The cookbook has 16 pages of colorful photographs and a multilingual glossary of items in English, Hindi and Tamil.

The book has as many as 197 recipes, mostly vegetarian and the authors offer sample menus of complementary dishes. But hear this, there are also innovative suggestions for combining both south Indian dishes with traditional Western Meals. An example I notice is a recipe of cabbage and pasta, ground turkey with split peas and shrimp in eggplant. There are other exotic ones like the ‘Pineapple rasam, stuffed mushrooms and Beet wadas,brussels sprouts with coconut.' Now that should by now tempt you to head for the kitchen.

Most dishes look simple to make and here is a sample

Carrot Poriyal

2 cups fresh baby carrots
1tb corn oil
4 to 6 curry leaves
1 dried chilli pepper
1 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp chutney powder ( a combination of 2 tb urad dal, 1 tb toovar dal,curry leaves, corn oil, 8 red peppers and asafoetida, roasted and ground)
2 tsp coconut powder
1. Steam or microwave baby carrots for 5 minutes
2. Place corn oil in skillet over medium heat, add curry leaves urad dal. Mustard seeds, red pepper and after a few minutes add the baby carots. Stir well and then add salt and chutney powder
3 Cook till carrots are done and stir well. Mix coconut powder

Nutritional content : Calories 91, Fat 4g, S.fat 1g, Protein 2g, Carb12g, Fib 3g,Cholestrol 0mg,sodium 309mg.

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