Elevate Difference

The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East: 150 Asian-Inspired Recipes—from Soba Noodles to Summer Rolls

The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East is a compilation of recipes from India, Thailand, China, and Japan. There’s an additional section on Asian Fusion, featuring recipes from Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Tibet, and Nepal, as well as little known recipes from Iran and Afghanistan. Basically, this cookbook allows you to make vegan versions of your favorite Asian dishes in less time than it would take a delivery person to arrive.

Trying to obtain a vegan version of a menu item is difficult in most restaurants, especially if you frequented the restaurant in your pre-vegan life. I’ve had a restaurant owner swear that a particular dish could be made meatless, but once the food arrived it was clear that I received the standard dish. As a result, I began looking around for a cookbook that would have vegan versions of what I wanted to order in a restaurant. A lot of the cookbooks I found had the recipes, but both ingredient lists and cooking times were too long to be practical on a daily basis.

This cookbook solves both problems; it provides recipes you want in versions that can be made in thirty minutes or less and the ingredient lists provide item descriptions and any alternate names the items may go by. The book provides substitutions for those who do not have access to fresh ingredients, and a list of resources for those who prefer to shop for ingredients online.

The book is divided into sections by country and recipes are listed in menu order (soup through dessert), making it simple to pick and choose your meal plan. Recipes also include serving suggestions in the form of complementary dishes. All directions are easy to follow and recipe variations are provided to show how each dish can be prepared differently or with different ingredients. Recipes that take longer than thirty minutes are marked with a clock at the top of the page. Pages marked with a heart at the top are recipes for raw food items or items with raw variations.

Sidebars, Chef’s Tips and Tricks, and The Asian Pantry provide preparation tips and shortcuts, along with information on ingredients specific to the recipe’s country of origin. Appendixes include an informative preparation tutorial, a glossary, and a thorough listing of vegan resources for online shopping, education, and related topics of eastern spirituality and culture.

If you gave up a dish when you became vegan and never thought you’d see it again, have a look at this book; you’re likely to find it here. If you don’t see it immediately, read a few recipes in the area and you might find it under a different name. I found my long lost Tom Yum Gai under the name Galangal Lemongrass Soup. Once you find your lost beloved, try a new recipe to go with it. You’ll be glad you did!

Written by: Melissa Ruiz, December 18th 2010

this sounds excellent. since leaving NYC i have missed the Tibetan fare. and i'm always happy to find recipes that omit seemingly-obligatory fish sauce without sacrificing flavor.

Great review - I just ordered this cookbook. I'm right with you on hard-to-find ingredients and I don't want to spend six hours making soup!