India is not a country that I have ever been priviledged to travel to, but I hear that it is a country that people fall in love with.  If the food is anything to go by, I am not surprised!  I adore Indian food, which is why I was very excited to be given the opportunity to review the new cookery book, Saffron Soul, healthy, vegetarian, heritage recipes from India, by Mira Manek!

Indian food is an internationally popular cuisine, yet, unfairly, it is often considered to be heavy, rich and indulgent.  With more and more people these days turning to healthy home cooking, there has never been a better time for a book which presents a fresh and lighter take on Indian food, one which Mira Manek presents in this book with her vibrant and healthy cooking style!

In Saffron Soul, Mira goes back to her familial roots to show how the basic ingredients: the lentils, vegetables, grains and most importantly, the spices, are all brimming with health benefits and, together, created a perfect balance.  Mira’s recipes combine the best of the core elements of Indian cooking with original and unique health promoting twists! 
Divided into eight lovely chapters this book offers some of the best and most naturally heathy Gujarati recipes!
In My Favourite Ingredients, Mira takes us back to her move abroad and the wonderful gift of an Indian spice box from her mother, holding within it packed circular pots containing a bright array of spices.  She very deftly explains all of the favourite spices and ingredients she uses in her cooking and why.  This chapter is key to her recipes and very enlightening!  It reads as a love-note to the basics of healthy vegetarian Indian Cuisine.

Likewise the chapter on Key Pastes and Garnishes, with very indepth and critical instructions on these very basic and essential components of Indian Cookery. What follows are some beautiful chapters covering  a combination of the best and most naturally healthy recipes and perennial favourites made healthier. 
She begins our day with Soulful Mornings . . . a beautiful compilation of breakfast drinks, smoothies, cereals, breads etc.

In anytime favourites we get to enjoy some yummy savoury pancakes, and a delicious sounding rice and lentil bake, amongst other goodies which would be perfect for snacking on any time of the day.
Light Meals with a wonderful assortment of delicious looking and sounding recipes for those times when you don’t want to eat anything too heavy . . . The Indian Summers Salad (middle photo above) looks and sounds positively gorgeous.  I can hardly wait for the British Strawberry Season to get in full swing so I can do it justice and enjoy!

Traditioanal Thalis is my favourite chapter in the book.   A Thali is a meal of various dishes that aims to offer all of the 6 different flavours of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent, and spicy all on one platter.  There is truly an art behind achieving the perfect balance and this chapter provides you with the recipes for three complete Thalis. I am really looking forward to having some company around for a meal and exploring the possiblity of at least one of these menus.

I especially loved how she uses her mother’s and both of her grandmother’s traditional Thali.

No cookery book would be complete in my opinion without a delicious offering of Desserts!  I really want to make her recipe for Sweet Puran Pudding with Almond Crunch.

The book ends with a chapter devoted to an assortment of spiced drinks, each one sounding delightfully tasty and refreshing, comforting, delicious.  
I cannot use these words enough . . .  delicious and delightful . . . for that is what this book is from the front cover to the back cover.  Delicious and delightful.  This is gorgeous food.  Food with is brimming with flavour and goodness, and beauty.

Mira Manek is British-born of Indian heritage. Her desire for healthy cooking combined with her love of traditional Indian cuisine led to her tweaking her mother and grandmother’s recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes. She now collaborates with restaurants and cafes to promote healthy Indian cooking, and runs supper clubs, cookery classes and wellness events.

Mira’s recipes have featured in numerous publications including Stylist, Red Magazine, The Independent, Country & Town Magazine, Healthy Magazine, The Resident, Waitrose Magazine and Women’s Health. She has also featured on BBC radio shows and on the BBC Asian Network.

SAFFRON SOUL, by Mira Manek

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jacqui Small LLP (24 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911127187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911127185

Note – I was sent the book by Jacqui Small free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.  I was not required to write a positive review.  Any and all opinions are my own.  This debut cookbook is a revelation and a delight. Well made, artistic, informative, beautiful and easy to follow. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in cooking Indian and making it healthier!

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