Saffron Soul Book Review plus 2 Quick & Easy Curry Recipes

In today’s post, I’m sharing a review of Mira Manek’s debut cookbook Saffron Soul plus two delicious recipes –  Rajma – Simple Kidney Bean Curry and Fansi nu shaak – Green Bean Curry. These dishes are quick, easy to make and super cheap too! We’ve been enjoying them as a weeknight meal, served as a ‘mini Thali’ with some chapattis. As Mira mentions in the book, these curries are perfect for serving as part of a Thali, which is my absolute favourite way to enjoy Indian food.

While I already own a number of traditional Indian cookbooks, for me, Saffron Soul is like a breath of fresh air. Inspired by her family’s traditional cooking, Mira has created ninety recipes, each with a modern healthy twist on a traditional recipe.

While traditional Indian cooking can involve a fair amount of deep frying and generous use of oil and ghee, Mira has drastically cut back on the oil and dairy (mostly using coconut oil and almond milk), and introduces a whole range of nutrient-rich nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables and fruits into her dishes.

While the book is vegetarian, by far the greatest majority of recipes are either vegan or easily ‘veganised’ by switching the honey with a vegan-friendly syrup (I use maple or fruit syrup) and Greek yogurt with coconut yogurt.

Saffron Soul is one of those cookbooks that’s an absolute joy to read. The recipes are interwoven with stories and photos of Mira’s family and heritage, which really bring the book to life. Mira’s passion for Indian cooking shines through on every page.

The book is filled with photographs, with at least one photo for each dish. The ethnic tableware, pots, pans and cutlery featured in the photos are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the shots of Mira’s family ❤️

The recipes are divided into six chapters – Soulful Mornings – Anytime Favourites – Light Meals – Traditional Thalis – Desserts – Spiced Drinks.

We’ve tried five recipes so far…

  • Cauliflower & Pea Curry
  • Simple Kidney Bean Curry
  • Green Bean Curry
  • Morning Balance – Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato (which we ate for dinner rather than breakfast, using regular tofu rather than silken which meant the scramble was ready in a matter of minutes)
  • Carrot Halwa

All have been delicious and a big hit with the family!

If you buy the Vegan Life magazine, you may have spotted the recipes for Mira’s Simple Kidney Bean Curry and Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato in this month’s edition (Issue 26 – the one with Tim Shieff on the cover). The magazine also features a third dish from Saffron Soul that I can’t wait to try… Quinoa & Coconut Upma. 

Other recipes topping my ‘to try’ list are:

  • Almond Milk Chai
  • Saffron & Lime Chia Pots
  • Saffron Porridge with Jaggery
  • Red Lentil Soup with Garlic
  • Masala Chana Chaat
  • Indian Summers Salad
  • Cauliflower Rice with Grilled Corn
  • Lime & Saffron Vegan ‘Cheesecake’
  • Brown Rice Kheer with Dates, Almonds & Poached Apples

All the recipes I’ve tried so far have easy-to-follow instructions. The quantities are given in grams, ounces and cups, so all bases are covered. Mira also provides the alternative US/Canadian terms for ingredients such as oats, corn flour, etc. The one thing I would have loved to have seen is the timings for each recipe i.e. how long it takes to prepare and how long until it’s ready to serve. Since there are no timings, I read through the recipe instructions and work out a rough estimate so I know whether it’s a dish I can make on a weeknight or best saved for a weekend. A number of the recipes require time for soaking grains so this is worth bearing in mind and preparing ahead, either the night before or in the morning.

Today, I thought I’d share two recipes from Saffron Soul that my family love and will definitely be making time and again – the Simple Kidney Bean Curry and Green Bean Curry. In the book, they are featured as part of Baa’s Thali, which includes nine dishes that you serve together in mini bowls on a platter. I would love to cook the entire Thali one day but, due to time constraints, two dishes seems to be my limit at the moment! And these two work perfectly together.

 

Do you enjoy Indian food? What’s your favourite dish?

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: I was sent complimentary copies of Saffron Soul and Vegan Life (the perks of being a blogger!) but, as always, all opinions are entirely my own.

 

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10 Comments

Filed under Dinners, Reviews

10 Responses to Saffron Soul Book Review plus 2 Quick & Easy Curry Recipes

  1. This book sounds fantastic Sharon. We’ll try the recipes xx

    • It is a beautiful book. The photos are gorgeous! Along with the Cauliflower and Pea Curry, the two curry dishes that I share in this post are my favourite recipes so far as they’re so simple and quick to make. Perfect for busy weeknights!

  2. Green Bean Curry for tomorow night!..I am on a mission. My two loves, green beans and bean curry together! X

  3. I love the fact she has lightened all the dishes up. I’ll have to look for this book.

  4. This is the style of cooking I grew up with and share similar recipes on my blog. The book looks lovely. You might also like the book Prashad if you haven’t tried it already. Thanks for a great book review.

    • Yes I did see a lot of similarities between the recipes in Saffron Soul and those on your blog (which I also love!) I absolutely adore Thalis so I’m always keen to try new dishes (especially ones that are quick & easy to make!)

      I haven’t seen the book Prashad yet, so thanks for the recommendation! I’ll be sure to check it out. xx

  5. Oooh I just came across this book in a news article the other day and I must get my hands on a copy! It looks so amazing.

  6. Definitely need to check out these books- I love your in-depth and thoughtful reviews! Also never tried cooking curry but now I’m excited to try it! Do you just adjust the level of chili powder to change the spiciness or do you have another method? Thanks for the awesome post!!
    Elyssa recently posted..Vegan Roasted Garlic Mac and CheeseMy Profile

    • Hey Elyssa. So pleased that you’re finding these book reviews helpful! Yes, you must try making a curry at home. It’s such a simple dish to make, so don’t be put off by all the spices. You can either use a ready-make curry powder or paste (I really like the Pataks ones) or use the individual spices (which I also love doing). To answer your question, yes, in these 2 curries I would adjust the amount of chilli powder depending on how spicy you want it. Start with a small amount, taste test and then adjust to suit xx

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