East by Meera Sodha is full of tasty, meat-free recipes. With straightforward instructions and easily available ingredients, this is the perfect cookbook for everyone, whether you’re an avid recipe follower, or a more adventurous cook!
Summary of East by Meera Sodha Review
Author: Meera Sodha
Editor’s rating: 4.7/5
East is a fabulous cookbook and whilst it does contain some vegetarian recipes, most can be easily veganised – like using tofu instead of paneer for example.
With relatively short ingredient lists and straightforward instructions, this great book will have you producing authentic-tasting dishes without spending all day in the kitchen. It is just packed with recipes that you will find yourself going back to time and time again.
Already convinced? If so, you can buy East by Meera Sodha here.
If you’d like to find out more, let’s take a closer look at those pros and cons.
Simple lists of ingredients
There are some great cookbooks out there, but some have ingredient lists as long as your arm that assume you have access to a vast larder of herbs, spices and exotic food products. That also often suggests a level of complexity to the meal too.
East by Meera Sodha is not like that. The vast majority of ingredients are readily available. She also provides a glossary of food items near the back of the book which tells you more about individual ingredients which is very helpful.
Importantly, you won’t find yourself having to spend all day in the kitchen either in order to produce any of these tasty meals. Most are relatively quick (by vegan standards!)
Authentic tasting dishes
I know that cuisines are prone to appropriation, although perhaps, like languages, that helps our cooking repertoires to grow and we then come to appreciate the originality and complexity of certain dishes.
To my untrained palate, the recipes in East by Meera Sodha have an authentic taste and feel and her approach makes it easy to produce dishes that you may otherwise have veered away from.
Recipes like the chilli tofu are fiery and lovely, whilst meals like the pho are fragrant and satisfying.
Suitable for all skill levels, from novice to expert
Because of the ingredients, together with simple, straightforward and comprehensive instructions, you can’t really go wrong with these recipes. Really.
Meera Sodha gives such precise and accurate instructions, which is very reassuring to less experienced cooks. That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment, but if you do stick to the recipe, you’ll get consistent results.
No eggs please, we’re vegan!
OK, you don’t have to look at those pages if you don’t want to. However, as a vegan, my preference is always to have a vegan, fully plant-based cookbook to look through.
It’s not much of an issue to be honest. There are loads of vegan and veganisable (I think I’ve just made up a word) recipes. Just call me picky…
My conclusion on East by Meera Sodha
This is one of my absolute favourite meat-free cookbooks – the many splashes and stains on the pages of my copy of this wonderful collection of recipes from all over the East are testament to that (I have always been a messy cook…)
Packed with straightforward recipes to suit every occasion, I have cooked authentic-tasting dishes that I have gone back to over and over again because they have become real family favourites.
There just aren’t any ‘dud’ recipes here – everything I have made has turned out really well due to the simplicity of the ingredient lists and comprehensive, straightforward instructions. And because of the wide variety of recipes represented in this book, I have ventured into cuisines that I had previously thought to be too complex for me to cook – the Sichuan recipes are an example of that, with Meera’s Mushroom Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Cauliflower now regulars in our house.
Other favourites include the Chickpea Flour Chips with Chilli Sauce; Black Dal; Honey (I use Maple Syrup) Soy and Ginger Braised Tofu; and Sprout Nasi Goreng. I could go on but there are too many to mention. It really is chock full of great things to cook.
There are recipes to suit every occasion, including family-friendly meals, and the book is broken down into sections based on the main ingredient. These include pulses, curries, tofu and noodle dishes. This makes it easy to find a recipe to make, whether it’s to match the ingredients you have, or to satisfy a culinary craving!
Whilst there are some vegetarian recipes in this meat-free cookbook, they can generally be easily veganised (swapping tofu for paneer for example). The remaining recipes are vegan, with many of them based on Meera Sodha’s weekly column in The Guardian.
Her recipe instructions are very easy to follow and are also accurate, so if she says the sauce will be ready after simmering for 7 minutes, that’s when it will be ready! This means that even the most inexperienced cooks can follow the recipes and produce a tasty and delicious meal.
There are no frightening lists of exotic ingredients that you’ve never heard of either! The vast majority are readily available in large supermarkets, and any slightly more unusual ingredients can easily be found online or in Asian or Oriental grocery stores.
I would genuinely hate to be without this in my cookbook collection, and strongly recommend it to everyone. It makes a great gift too and has been a welcome present to many friends and family members.