As a member of the punk band UK Subs, vegetarian musician Nicky Garratt spent a lot of time traveling the world, searching for meatless meals along the way. This often meant having to fend for himself, and as he learned to cook, Garratt discovered that the cuisines of India, North Africa, and the Middle East were "goldmines" of vegan-friendly flavor, color, texture, and aroma.
• Who wrote it: Nicky Garratt
• Who published it: PM Press
• Number of recipes: 162
• Recipes for right now: Tomato Rasam, Mango and Pineapple Curry, Jackfruit in Coconut-Cashew Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper Bulgur Salad, White Mulberry Dessert, Watermelon-Basil Juice
• Other highlights: Arabian, Indian, and North African meals are frequently prepared buffet-style, making them ideal for people avoiding meat. In general the recipes in Mango and Mint are based on traditional dishes, though some adaptations have been made for modern kitchens and the vegan diet. The majority of recipes are Indian (including North and South), and there are a good number of Arabian, Lebanese, Moroccan, and North African recipes, plus a handful of dishes that are Balkan, Egyptian, Mediterranean, Pakistani, Sicilian, Syrian, and Turkish in origin. Over half of them are photographed in a "Sample Menus" section.
There are two short but notable chapters of the book. The first is called "Ganging Up" in which Garratt suggests sauces, spice blends, and prep work you can do ahead, making it easier to throw together a meal later. Another chapter called "Recycled" has clever ideas for leftovers and kitchen scraps like banana and lemon peels. There are also a few recipes featuring foraged ingredients such as nettles and miner's lettuce.
Are there more comprehensive cookbooks on individual Arabian, Indian, and North African cuisines? Of course. But if you're looking for a book with a bit of everything, especially one that's vegan-friendly, Mango and Mint is a great collection.
• Who would enjoy this book? vegans and vegetarians; cooks interested in Indian, Arabic, and North African cuisine; Nicky Garratt fans
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Mango and Mint: Arabian, Indian, and North African Inspired Vegan Cuisine by Nicky Garratt
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(Images: Emily Ho)