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Spice Up Your Life: The Flexitarian Way    by Bindu Grandhi order for
Spice Up Your Life
by Bindu Grandhi
Order:  USA  Can
Cedar Fort, 2009 (2009)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Spice Up Your Life: The Flexitarian Way intrigued me because it focuses on the foods my husband and I mostly eat. I don't eat red meat and he has to watch cholesterol carefully, so this flexitarian approach matches our needs. Add to that the fact that we both love spicy foods - and have been reading about the health benefits of turmeric in diet - and we opened up Bindu Grandhi's cookbook and tried one of its appealing recipes immediately.

The author speaks of adapting her mother and grandmother's Indian culinary traditions to her own preference for lean meat, especially chicken and fish. She speaks of the health benefits of flexitarianism, 'a primarily plant-based diet composed of grains, vegetables, and fruits, which also occasionally includes protein from lean meat, fish, poultry, or dairy.' A chapter on Tips, Tools, and Techniques introduces the spices needed for this cookbook and explains how to make tamarind juice, handle coconuts, and blanch almonds. A subsequent section talks about specific foods, What's Good For You, and why.

The cookbook's over a hundred simple recipes are presented under: Appetizers, Side Dishes, and Chutneys, Sauces, Dips, and Raitas; Breads; Vegetarian Dishes; Chicken Dishes; Seafood Dishes; Drinks; and Desserts. The author includes Prep and Cooking Times for each (and they're all pretty short), and the number the recipe Serves. We've already tried and appreciated Chicken in Turmeric Gravy and Masala Yogurt Chicken. Other dishes that particularly tempt my palate are Garlic and Chili Cheese Toast; Spicy Baked Broccoli; Eggplant and Yogurt Curry; Trout in Coconut Gravy; and Carrot Phirni (a dessert I've enjoyed in Indian restaurants).

If you enjoy spicy foods and like the idea of flexitarian eating, then Bindu Grandhi's Spice Up Your Life is a great way to get started. Just pick up the cookbook, stock up the spices, and soon your kitchen will be filled with enticing aromas.

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