Cooking With Manjula

Manjula Jain, Master Chef and YouTube Luminary

During this hyperextended coronavirus quarantine period, I have picked up a few good habits. Perhaps the best of them is taking authenticity more seriously in my cooking. I have been making Indian vegetarian dishes for over thirty years, but now, thanks to YouTube, I am more serious about trying to cook them approximately the way a resident of India would.

For one thing, that involves a more serious attention to the spices used in Indian cooking. Fortunately, there are a number of Indian groceries in Culver City along Venice Boulevard, my favorite being India Sweets & Spices. Just to give you an example, here is a list of spices for Chickpea Pulav, which I will be preparing later this week:

  • Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • Asafetida (hing)
  • Bay leaves (tajpat)
  • Ginger (I use a bottled ginger/garlic paste from Laxmi)
  • Turmeric (haldi)
  • Mango powder (amchoor)
  • Garam Masala (which is mostly cardamom)

In addition, I will also be adding a few additional spices not called for in the recipe, including powdered red chile, cumin powder, cilantro, and coriander powder.

If you are interested in Indian vegetarian cooking, I highly recommend Manjula Jain’s Cooking with Manjula, 2nd Edition, which can be obtained for $5.00 in a downloadable format. (In my case, it turned out to be Microsoft Edge PDF, which took me a little while to learn how to print so that it doesn’t stretch off the page.) There are approximately 150 pages of recipes, which make it a good deal for the cost involved.

I highly recommend you try the Chickpea Pulav first, which Manjula calls a “Spicy Rice with Chickpeas.” I am going to be busy trying her other recipes, which you can also find on the web and YouTube. Here’s the YouTube recipe for the Chickpea Pulav: Click here.