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29 June 2014

Silk Road Vegetarian 
Dahlia Abraham Klein 
Publication Date


Discover the secrets of healthy and sustainable eating that have been practiced along the trade routes of Asia for centuries. This unusual book is filled with richly-flavored vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes like Bengali Potato and Zucchini Curry, Afghan Moussaka Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce and Bukharian Crock Pot Rice with Dried Fruit that will be a welcome change for any vegetarian or vegan to enjoy. Plus, most of these delicious recipes can be made using ingredients from your local Farmer’s market or CSA share!

Dishes from the Silk Road have their roots in the ancient village food traditions of Asia, where a few healthy ingredients from local gardens were blended with spices to create meals that are nutritious, varied and flavorful, as well as being ethical and sustainable.

Author Dahlia Abraham-Klein is a food educator and nutritionist who draws from her own family heritage to create meals that honor what is most meaningful about cooking and food everywhere in the world—a connectedness to place, history and family. Her book is about developing culinary awareness and celebrating diversity—discovering foods with contrasting tastes and textures that are simple and easy to prepare, yet totally exciting and different.

My review:

Firstly - I am not vegetarian nor do I require a gluten free diet. But my husband always tells me that we should eat less meat and try to cook more vegetarian. I can't help but agree. I don't know many vegetarian recipes, and what I do know just conjures up an image of --boring--.I am pleased to tell you that this book put my perception of boring vegetarian recipes completely on it's head. Never will I think of vegetarian as boring again and straight away by just doing a first browse through the book, I realised that this will actually be really yummy. 

The book starts with a foreword from Stephanie Weaver, author of the Recipe Renovator Blog who introduces us the the culinary concept of the Silk Road. Than the author Dahlia Abraham-Klein tells us her 'Culinary Pilgrimage'  - the story of her background and how the book came about. This in itself I found already really interesting.

Also at the beginning, the book covers:
  • Intro into the 'Spice Pantry' (all spices which you can easily find in the spice section of any big supermarket, or, in England, Indian/Pakistani shops. 
  • Basic Preparation methods. 
The recipes are divided into:
  • Bases, Condiments & Other Useful Recipes
  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Main dishes
  • Rice dishes
  • Side dishes
  • desserts.
An example of recipes from each section: Hummus Dip, Chickpea Falafel, Lentil Tomato Soup, Asian Coleslaw, Indian Spinach Curry, Fragrant Indian Pilaf, Sesame Noodles, Baked lemon rice pudding. Many of the recipes also come with a little 'background story' which I thought was a nice touch and often, very intriguing. 

One of my main problems with cookery books is that often there are a lot of ingredients to buy at great expense which you only ever use once, and they are difficult to get hold off. Nothing more annoying in my opinion. This is for me one of the tests to determine the star rating for a cook book. So, let's see. A random recipe, page 78: Yellow Split Pea Soup - yellow split peas, water, oil, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder, ground turmeric, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Not everyone may have cumin seeds and turmeric in their pantry, but if you are enjoying Indian cooking, it is easy to get those and they will last for many recipes.

I'm not a trained chef and not even a very sophisticated domestic cook but found this book very appealing and easy to use without being too 'basic'. I will post an update once I cooked a few recipes.

About the author:  

Dahlia Abraham-Klein was born in New York though raised as a citizen of the world, living and traveling in Asia, Europe and Africa. Growing up in a Central Asian immigrant family - home entertaining with a polyglot ensemble was the norm rather than the exception. Silk Road Vegetarian is aimed at fusing her familial and ancestral ties to her vegetarian lifestyle.