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Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

Updated on August 16, 2015
Madhur Jaffrey: World Vegetarian
Madhur Jaffrey: World Vegetarian | Source

World Vegetarian - the only cookbook you'll ever need

Madhur Jaffrey has developed a fabulous cookbook full of delicious meat-free meals. I can't remember how long I've owned this wonderful recipe book - fifteen years or more?. What I can tell you though is that my copy is very battered, definitely has some red wine stains on it and the color plates are only holding on by a thread.

It has several pieces of paper tucked in as bookmarks and page three hundred and thirteen is an absolute disgrace with splodges of unidentified sauce decorating it.

When we moved into our tiny apartment a couple of years ago, I knew that I wouldn't have room for my cookbook collection and, in an effort to seriously de-clutter, I decided to keep just one - Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian.

I haven't missed my other recipe books at all and yet I use World Vegetarian several times a week so I guess I definitely made the right choice. The book has over 650 recipes - which is plenty to keep even me busy!

It took her ten years to collect these recipes and compile the book. I think I'll still be using it ten years from now. Madhur Jaffrey is well known for cookbooks about Indian cuisine but this one features recipes from all over the world.

Spices | Source

Here are some examples of the recipes you can find in this amazing book.

  • Mung Bean Sprouts Stir-Fried with Ginger (from Korea)
  • Broccoli Rabe with Garlic (from Italy)
  • Mushrooms with Wine and Coriander Seeds (from Cyprus)
  • Tomato Choka (from Trinidad)
  • Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts and Mint (from Turkey)
  • Omelettes Aux Fines Herbs (from France)
  • Yogurt with Celery and Pistachios (from Iran)
  • Batter-Fried Okra (from Pakistan)
  • Eggplant with Spicy Peanut Dressing (from Hong Kong)
  • Asparagus with Romesco Sauce (from Spain)
  • Sweet Potatoes with Cardamom and Chiles (from Sri Lanka)

But there are so many more that are suitable for family meals or for stylish entertaining. You'll wish you'd never been without this book. See the useful and highly practical reference section too. It tells you about every ingredient you'll need. Whatever you need to know about meat-free cooking, you'll find here. Recipes are classified by ingredient which is different - but remarkably helpful. Decide on your ingredients, then look for a suitable recipe - easy. The tips are invaluable and eminently practical.

Use it to develop meat-free meals with panache.

Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World
Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World

Impatient to buy this cookbook? I can understand why. You'll be doing yourself - and the people you cook for - a huge favor and your meals will be transformed by the simple but simply wonderful recipes here.

It's an excellent way to add a lot of variety to a meat free diet with lovely new dishes every day. It's everything you need.


Much more than a collection of recipes

This book has over 750 pages and this wonderful cook explains in great detail about the various ingredients she uses in the recipes. She also suggests substitutions if any of the ingredients are hard for you to find locally. Create great meals every day. Just the details and advice alone are invaluable.

A book you'll want to read

Fantastic recipes for every occasion, meticulous instructions and information ... but also this is a book you'll actually want to read. You'll dip into it when you need recipes but the way that Madhur Jaffrey writes is almost poetic. Recipe introductions are an interesting read too.

'My family likes to eat this bean stew at least once a week. If I'm serving it for lunch, it's often the main dish, offered in old-fashioned soup plates with a dollop of thick creamy yogurt in the center.'

Introductions like these make the recipe more real somehow; you know that these dishes are foods that Madhur Jaffrey actually serves to her family - they are tried and tested.

Not vegetarian?

The author of this amazing cookbook isn't vegetarian but appreciates meatless meals. Even if you don't follow a vegetarian diet, you'll love the recipes in this book. They'll add variety to your every day meals and are great for entertaining.We all know that a meat free diet is better for our health and better for the planet. I can fully understand if people don't want to embrace a total vegetarian lifestyle but every little helps.

About Madhur Jaffrey

She started her career working on the radio in India. She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She married an Indian actor and they moved to New York. The couple had three daughters. Madhur too became an actor and appeared in the theater, in films and on television. After her divorce from her first husband, she married Sandford Allen. He is a violinist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

She grew up not knowing how to cook because her family had kitchen staff. Her mother however was a keen cook. She only learned to cook when she was studying acting in London as a teenager. A combination of her acting skills and her knowledge about Indian cooking led to her working on a BBC Television program about Indian cooking.

Her incredible cookbooks were a natural progression.

Further reading - More books - not necessarily vegetarian.

Madhur doesn't stick to a vegetarian diet but she does understand the health benefits and the tasty foods and ingredients that make up some great meatless meals.

She has traveled the world collecting these recipes and now we can benefit from the fruits of her labor and experience.

Madhur is the acknowledged expert on Indian cooking.

Madur Jaffrey's latest escapade


I was listening to the radio this morning and there was a program about Madhur. She had been travelling to India to see what culinary life is like there now. She is not a young woman, she was born in 1933, but has been visiting her homeland in view of the fact (partially) that the Indian diet has changed dramatically because of fast food outlets that have now appeared from the west. She says this this has had an extraordinary effect on the increase of obesity and western illnesses such as heart disease.


I have written elsewhere that 'curry', or Indian-inspired food is incredibly popular in the UK. What I didn't realize was that this worked both ways. Madhur Jaffrey describes how, when she was growing up, their meals had an Anglo influence. For example, they might start a meal with an English soup, then a traditional Indian main course, followed by an English dessert.


My favorite part of the interview was when she was taken to an English fish and chip shop to try chips with curry sauce (my late mum's absolute favorite of all time). She said that they were 'edible' and 'quite nice'. She asked to see the manager who, it turned out, was Turkish. She told him that she'd love to know how he made his curry sauce. He took her into a storeroom where he poured boiling water from a kettle into a bucket. He then added several scoops of powder from a jar and whisked them together with a hand mixer. She looked at the powder can and it was made in China!

Meet the author

Thanks for reading - please say hi!

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      The video is wonderful. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @vicky71: Thank you!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am not a vegetarian but i am a big fan of Madhur Jaffrey. Lovely Lens. Great review.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JohnTannahill: She definitely is! I think we'll claim her for the Uk :) And I believe that she's eighty years old this year and still going strong and still working. That proves that curry is good for you!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Madhur Jaffrey is a national treasure - not sure which nation - the USA, UK or India - OK all of them! I love her latest book 'Curry Nation.' There are so many great Indian/Curry cookbooks about right now but Madhur is the queen bee.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @philstephens: They really are and I love the way she describes her recipes with stories.

    • philstephens profile image


      5 years ago

      She is a true legend in Indian cooking - all her recipe books are great!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @lesliesinclair: This is THE one - thanks for dropping by!

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      Looks like it's time for me to get a vegetarian cookbook.


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