Modern, vibrant, easy-to-make food. East is a must-have whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or simply want to eat more delicious meat-free food.
Drawing from her 'New Vegan' Guardian column, Meera Sodha's stunning new collection also features plenty of brand-new recipes inspired by a wide range of Asian cuisines. There are warming noodles, curries, rice dishes, tofu, salads, sides and sweets, all surprisingly easy to make and bursting with exciting flavours. Taking you from India to Indonesia, Singapore to Japan, by way of China, Thailand, and Vietnam, East will show you how to whip up a sprout nasi goreng and a swede laksa; how to make Kimchi pancakes, delicious dairy free black dal, and chilli tofu. There are sweet potato momos for snacks and unexpected desserts like stem ginger chocolate truffles and matcha roll cake.
Meera Sodha is a home cook and an occasional chef at the Michelin-rated Indian restaurant Gymkhana in London. When Made in India was published in the UK, it became an instant top-ten bestseller and was named one of the year's best books by many newspapers and periodicals.
I received this wonderful book for a Christmas present. I haven't been able to put it down and have tried recipes from it everyday since and they have all worked well and been absolutely delicious and like nothing I have tasted before!
There are beautiful photos that will really get you drooling and I was pleasantly surprised how well the instructions are written. There's an interesting paragraph or two about each recipe but the instructions themselves are very straightforward, I really appreciate that they are easy to refer to whilst in the throws of cookery and not long winded (Delia- much as I enjoy hers)
Most recipes use ingredients I could source from the local supermarket, I appreciated there were substitute suggestions for more hard to find ingredients such as using dry sherry in place of saki. One minor downside for me was the ingredients are only listed with grams and not ounces but luckily I also got some electric scales for Christmas so I was saved the pain of having to convert the measurements to use my scales with weights.
The Mushroom Bao was delicious and surprisingly easy to make, I have never attempted to make steamed bread before so expected this to end in disaster but they actually looked just like the photo! The caramelised onion and chilli ramen was amazing, as was the chilli tofu and shitake pho.
There's an alternative contents table which makes suggestions under categories such as breakfast, quick lunch, picnics and seasonal food.
Really interesting collection, it's such a pleasure to look through and a constant joy to choose which one to try next. Highly recommended, a great gift for someone who loves cooking and trying new meals as it's also a beautiful book to look through.
Disclaimer: I'm not vegan, but I've been interested for a while in trying to cut down the amount of meat I eat (for environmental reasons but also because I realised I don't enjoy eating it as much as I used to), with the aim of having at least two dinners a week which were vegetarian or vegan. The rest of my family were sceptical (my dad and brother think a meal "isn't filling" if there isn't meat in it - insert eye roll emoji), but East: 120 Vegetarian and Vegan recipes from Bangalore to Beijing won everyone over.
I don't normally review recipe books, but the dishes in this book are relatively simple to make and taste SO GOOD. I bought this book around 10 weeks ago, and since then I've made 20 of the recipes in it.
Some of my favourites: - tomato curry - aubergine katsu curry - ben ben noodles (Sodha's own take on dan dan noodles - 担担面) - egg fried rice - Korean egg bread - peanut butter and purple sprouting pad thai - beetroot and yoghurt rice - honey, soy and pear tofu
Started my 2021 'Cook the Book' plan early. Plan is to cook several 3-5 recipes from cookbooks every month. Borrowing from the library and buying when they are excellent. And this cookbook is excellent I'm 5 for 5 with recipes tried and liked and there are enough other ones I want to try that I bought the book. Recipes are easy to make, don't require any special equipment and contain mostly easy to find ingredients.
Brussels Sprout Nasi Goreng - Never really eat brussel sprouts but this seemed like a stir fried rice dish. Only one specialty ingredient kecap manis that you can diy with soy and brown sugar.
Bombay Rolls - blender a herb chutney add some cheese and roll up in puff pastry. little salty which is easy to adjust but otherwise so good.
Koren Egg Bread - Simple bread made in a loaf pan with hard boiled eggs inside. Little bit smoky from the smoked paprika so will half with regular paprika next time. Fabulous toasted for breakfast.
Roasted carrots and cabbage - That pretty much what this one is with a nice marinade. Even though I got distracted and burnt most of the carrots what I managed to save was good.
Banana Tarte Tatin - Yummy, easy and uses the other puff pastry sheet (see Bombay Rolls).
All recipe results vetted by a neighbor who agreed that I should buy the book. :)
I very (impatiently) patiently waited for this cookbook as it was backordered for weeks at my local bookstore. I’m a big fan of Meera Sodha’s column on the Guardian, the New Vegan, and considering this cookbook made it on a handful of Best Cookbooks of 2020, I was very excited. Once I finally got the book, I sat down and read the entire book cover to cover. I appreciate Meera Sodha’s ability to pleasantly surprise by bringing simple ingredients together in new ways. And even if a recipe didn’t immediately strike me as appealing, her description of it always had me excited for it by the end. After reading every recipe and its description, it was impossible to choose which recipe to try first. Fortunately, Sodha included an “Alternative Contents” at the beginning where she conveniently categorized a handful of recipes into her favorites, quick recipes, seasonal recipes, etc.
I’ve made nine recipes so far and each have truly been phenomenal. I’ve tried to list them in order from best to good (as there have been no “bad” or even “okay” recipes), but I have three tied for first. Anyway, maybe someone overwhelmed by all the recipes will find it useful slash I will use it for future reference:
1. (Tie) Onigiri stuffed with walnut miso: Oh my goodness. This was absolutely, unbelievably delicious. I did make proper sushi rice (seasoned short-grain rice with vinegar, sugar, and salt). That was my only alteration, though. But these looked beautiful, they tasted amazing. That walnut miso is to die for, truly. And they were so easy to make!
1. (Tie) Honey, soy, and ginger braised tofu: This was listed as one of Meera’s favorites and it did not disappoint. As a vegan, I substituted maple syrup and I steamed broccoli, red bell pepper, and carrot. I did make 1.5x the sauce just because I like things saucier. Such a lovely marriage of flavors among the gochujang, pear, and ginger.
1. (Tie) Eggplant larb with a shallot and peanut salad: I have never made such a beautiful dish. It seriously looked exactly like the photo in the book and it was so easy. For the salad, I didn’t have time to go to my Asian supermarket for Thai basil, so I had to substitute it with Italian basil and some mint. (And I substituted the cilantro for parsley because I hate cilantro.) Regardless, it was so good, I plan to double the salad next time. Truly divine. I can’t emphasize enough how good it was.
2. Peanut butter and broccolini pad Thai: I like Pad Thai, but I’m not crazy about it. I wouldn’t order it at a restaurant or when people suggest it to make for dinner, I feel very “meh” about it. With all that being said, this was for sure the best homemade pad Thai I’ve had and a recipe I will absolutely make again. To be fair, it’s certainly not authentic if that’s what you’re going for. The sauce was good and the whole meal was very satisfying.
3. Mushroom bao: It was really hard to decide whether to place this before or after the pad Thai. In the end, the bao is more time-consuming and isn't necessarily a dish I would make regularly, so I'm placing it after. I made these for a family dinner and everyone loved them. Even my mom, who is a voracious meat eater and finds a steak the pinnacle of all meals, claims the bao is just as satisfying as a steak. That's a big statement. They were full of flavor and, honestly, very easy to make. I will certainly make these for another group dinner. They were a crowd-pleaser, for sure.
4. Brussels sprout nasi goreng: I think I’ve always had Brussels sprouts roasted as a side or shaved in a salad. This was a new interpretation of the vegetable for me and it was such a pleasant surprise. The sauce was also easy to whip up and, once everything was chopped and prepared, it was super easy to come together. I think some seared tofu would be good with it, too.
5. Burmese mango salad with peanut and lime: I want to make this again. I made this for a family dinner and tossed everything together beforehand, which yes, I know you shouldn't do but I lacked the Tupperware to separate everything. Once we finally ate it (a couple hours after making it), the vegetables lost their crunch, the garlic and onions were no longer crispy, and the salt brought out the juices of the vegetables. So had I eaten it right after preparing it, I may have rated this higher. I did use the leftovers, however, to make noodles in a peanut sauce with mushroom and tofu and it was very good.
6. Salted miso brownies: I am obsessed with all things miso so when I read that, I knew that was the first dessert I would try. (Just a quick note: the cookbook is abundant with vegan and vegan option recipes. The vast majority, in fact. The dessert section is a tiny bit lackluster compared to the rest of the sections, however.) The brownies were decadent and heavenly. Super dense and fudgy. So rich. They were a tad sweet for me that I’d be curious to experiment to see how much I can cut back on the sugar without drastically altering the integrity of the recipe.
7. White miso ramen with tofu and asparagus: I was surprised that I didn’t like this as much as I expected. The broth had a slight bite to it that I attribute to the onions not cooking all the way through. I wonder if sauté-ing them for a bit before putting them in the blender would improve it. Or perhaps I didn’t cook the broth for long enough. Either way, it was still quite good. But honestly, the best part about the dish was the asparagus. I would certainly make that on its own again, and it was super quick to prepare.
I am cooking my way through this and so far the 10+ recipes I've made have all been excellent. It's exciting and delicious to see the uptick in plant-based diets, but especially in terms of a global palate. East and south Asian cuisine has always readily lent itself to a plant-based diet and books like these are great examples that moving away from meat isn't necessarily a loss, but an opportunity to diversify your range of cooking. Lots of beautiful pictures and Meera Sodha is a great recipe writer, keeping things accessible and doable. I borrowed it from the library and liked it so much I ordered the UK version, as I didn't want to wait for the N. American publish date later this autumn.
I told myself to never borrow another cookbook from the library, because I read them, meticulously transcribe the recipes, and then never look at them again. But this darn cheerful book cover got me. And the photos are absolutely mouthwatering. I want to eat (almost) every single thing in here. But I will likely not make any of these (see previous experience, multiply by 1,000).
Note to self: When I retire, this should be the first book I pick up.
I am a big fan of Meera Sodha's cookbooks. Her writing is vivid, personal, and enthusiastic - she provides so much context for her recipes. Her first two books featured Indian recipes, but in East she has collected delectable recipes from all over Asia. I have read them all, and want to make so many! Some of her ingredients may be hard to find in a traditional American supermarket - I recommend choosing a few recipes and ordering any ingredients you need (she lists sources at the end of the book).
This HAS to be the best cookbook out there (at least for now) that I've ever tried. Wow! And I'm not a vegan or vegetarian. I've tried so many of the recipes and they are pretty much all exceptional or stellar. We like Asian food so much in our house, and what really impresses me is how relatively easy the recipes are compared to other Asian cookbooks, and there aren't (comparatively) that many ingredients that you can't find at a regular grocery store. I work at a library, and really don't ever buy books, but am considering buying this one once I have to return it, because I don't want to wait for it again. It's hard to pick a standout, but the sweet potato cakes with kimchi mayo (I made extra and put that stuff on so many things) and the Napa cabbage okonomiyaki were 2 that I had to turn around and make again within a few days. And I put the gochujang sauce from the bibimbap recipe on just about everything that isn't dessert.
So I have borrowed a number of vegetable centric cookbooks from the library this year and have found each one to be more inspiring than the last. I've cooked out of a few, but none has made me nearly so hungry as Meera Sodha's East. I want to cook, and more importantly, eat, everything in it. This is the one I am going to buy! No need to borrow another cook book again.
My first cook book purchase of 2021 and so far, I have not cooked a bad recipe from here!! The flavors are wonderful, the instructions are accessible, simple to follow, and great for weeknight and weekend cooking alike. I am not a vegetarian but have been trying to cut down on meat and dairy and this book has offered so many delicious alternatives. Highly highly recommend.
Is it too corny to say I devoured this book in one sitting the afternoon it arrived? I have not yet begun to cook from it but it appears to have everything I was looking for when I ordered it - fast, plant-based recipes that will have tons of flavor. I look forward to spending time in the kitchen with this cookbook.
Don't get me wrong, this book has so many great looking recipes I really want to try. However, I don't "read" cookbooks just for the recipes, I read them for the voice of the cook and their stories. Whilst Sodha is a very competent writer, I did find she lacked a "voice" that I crave when reading. It was like I could have been reading anyone, and after I finished the book, I felt I came out not knowing much about the writer, except she ate in some fancy London restaurants and had travelled the world. You may not see this as a criticism; cookbooks are, as in the name, designed and written for you to cook from, so who cares what else is in there? Especially now, when you can google any recipe and find it, what makes printing and publishing an entire book of them worthwhile? The voice! The writing. The passion. The tips and tricks and stories. But, to me anyway, the best cookbooks are always about more than food.
This book is absolutely worth all the hype it's gotten the past couple of years. These recipes are bold and fresh, without gimmick, and packaged with infectious dry wit. I can't wait to try out many of these recipes.
I made as many of these recipes as I could while I had this book checked out of the library. Overall, flavorful recipes, but there are also some quirks and misses here: * Miso chocolate brownies - tastes like chocolate coconut gum (they’re vegan) * Breakfast at Shuko’s (aka udon with soy sauce and egg yolk) - meh *Green onion and ginger noodles - good * chickpea flour fries - good, but requires stovetop stirring, at least an hour in the fridge, and then frying * Asparagus snow pea salad - a winner with a scrumptious, flaky topping * Forbidden rice salad - also a flavorful winner, but a.) recipe makes enough for an army and b.) calls for venere nero rice, only available online, which is a total princess move (I used regular black rice, which was fine) * Celery walnut wontons - a little time-consuming to assemble, plus the wontons can start to fall apart if the water is boiling too rapidly, but good * Mushroom bao - a winner, though the bao-making directions could be a bit more detailed * Onigiri - the miso walnut filling is delicious, but the 3/4 cup of rice surrounding it is bland. Perhaps this is just an onigiri thing? * Beet ginger soup - solid * Caramelized onion ramen - good, but takes a while * Soy eggs - a nice addition to any ramen
A lovely book. The recipes are very do-able, with simple list of ingredients. I love all the sauces for noodles and the tofu dishes. Most of the dishes have chilli though, just as well I like them. You can always cut down the amount or cut out altogether.
Borrowed this book from the library. Didn't realise it's vegetarian! Still, nice surprise.
I found the recipes in this book tended towards being under seasoned and under spiced. I have made a few recipes from this book, none that I would make again without dramatic revisions. I think the broadness of the theme (“east”) means a lack of specificity in a lot of the recipes that makes them feel very indistinct.
Readers advisory note: this is probably a really good cookbook for someone who is looking for vegetarian recipes with limited access to ingredients. This would probably appeal to people who are looking to branch out from more traditional western cooking. The techniques and flavors in this are definitely very approachable to a cook who feels apprehensive about trying “Asian” cooking. The broad spectrum might allow newer cooks to get a general sense of what specific cuisines they like. A more experienced cook might not get as much from this.
This is a nice cookbook with clear recipes and colorful pictures. There are some delicious-looking recipes for me to try, but even the vegan ones depend too heavily on oil for my taste. When cooking a new cuisine, having to substitute a lot of anything makes for more trial and error to get just right, or to discover that a particular recipe is just not going to work for me. That said, I will still be experimenting with some of these.
I love this cookbook. Vegetarian and vegan. Everything I have made was so delicious and easily prepared. I like the layout, cover design, commentary, clarity of the recipes, helpful things index. What I made: chile tofu; new potato, chard, and coconut curry; roasted paneer aloo gobi; honey, soy, and ginger braised tofu. I did choose to make two tofu dishes, but tofu is just a small section. The sections include salads, noodles, curries, rice, tofu, legumes, sides, sweet, condiments, and snacks and small things. The helpful things section lets you know what some of the ingredients are, what you may substitute, and how to make your own of some of the ingredients, like kecap manis. I haven't been able to find some of the ingredients (curry leaves, makrut lime leaves, Kashmiri red chile powder), but I've been inspired to order what I could find online because the dishes are so good I want to replicate them as much as possible. The cookbooks I enjoy the most are beautiful and easy to follow, yet create complexly flavored, elegant food.
Meera Sodha has rocked my cooking world with this book! I read this page front to back when it first arrived, falling in love with the beautiful photography and Meera's charming descriptions. I've had a copy for a month or so now and have made atleast eight of the recipes and all of them have had simple and clear instructions but have had amazingly delicious, complex flavours as a result! The problem with veggie/vegan cookbooks is it often feels like the author is struggling to come up with non-meat based meals and the recipes often feel boring or just like a whole book of side dishes!. This book is the total opposite, I am so excited to get through every recipe!
If I ever go to London, I'm tracking down all the places Meera writes about creating riffs on. I've already made a few of the dishes and they make me so happy how approachable they are. For anyone who wants to get into cooking, I feel like she does an incredible job of designing recipes that are plant forward and telling little stories along the way.
I wanted to love this, but the Chinese/Southeast Asian recipes were just awful and lacked authentic flavours and I wouldn’t recommend this to any Southeast Asian (eg. fried rice using freshly cooked rice instead of cold rice was a red flag for me). The Indian recipes were good though, the Bombay rolls and scrambled silky tofu were excellent, but overall I found this disappointing.