Cooking With Kurma

Kurma Dasa


Cooking with Kurma > Books > Reviews

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"I really enjoy Kurma's no-frills, no gimmicks television show. His enthusiasm for vegetarian food is infectious. He has already written many successful books, but, as the name implies, the emphasis here is on making quick and easy meals. Quick Vegetarian Dishes is packed with colour photographs of virtually every dish. Highly recommended."
(Brisbane Courier Mail, December 2000)

"Anyone who still thinks vegetarian food is dull and lacklustre should have a gander through Quick Vegetarian Dishes. Suddenly vegetarian food has shaken off it's shackles! Dasa, best known for his TV cooking shows and his dinner time cry of "Kurm and get it" has sought inspiration from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South East Asia and South America for this great collection of appetising, meat-free meals.

Lavishly illustrated by Melbourne-based photographer Peter Bailey, Quick Vegetarian Dishes is a cheerful, colourful and inspirational cookbook for anyone who is looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous dhal and vegetable curry"
(Sydney City Weekly, December 2000)

"Bright and Breezy, with great pics"
(News Weekly, January 2001)

"It's not easy being green. But help is on hand, thanks to Kurma Dasa, Australia's vegetarian guru and prolific author, who will be familiar to many from his television cooking shows. Kurma's message in his latest book, Quick Vegetarian Dishes, is that life in the fast lane doesn't have to mean life in the fast-food line. To be in-and-out of the kitchen in record time, try his Spinach Risotto or Feta & Potato Spring Rolls with Green Pea Chutney. Yum!"
(Brisbane Weekly, Feb 2001)

"The test of a good cookbook in our house can be judged by the groans of delight as the pages are being flicked over. Remember that the first bite of any meal is taken with the eyes; I can just imagine the calorie intake from going through the pages of this beautifully ilustrated book.

The recipes in Quick Vegetarian Dishes were collected with busy people in mind, and they really are dishes that can be prepared in a hurry. And the selection - and presentation - is enough to sway any meat-lover."
(Noosa Daily News, Feb 2001)

"Those of us who enjoy good food have to zealously safegaurd the home-dining experience. Life can certainly be busy and stressful, but cooking is a great antidote. Life in the fast lane doesn't necessarily mean life in the fast food line, according to Australia's vegetarian guru Kurma Dasa, who is well known for his books and cooking shows.

Kurma, who began his career in the Sydney kitchens of the Hare Krishna Movement, recently produced Quick Vegetarian Dishes. Lavishly illustrated, the recipes have an international flavour, from Sushi Rice in Tofu Pouches, to Tortilla Triangles with Smoky Avocado Salsa, and Pumpkin Ravioli with Baby Spinach and Brown Butter. Kurma's books are a quick solution for the feeding frenzy"
(Canberra Times Food & Wine, Feb 2001)

"Kurma Dasa, Australia's vegetarian guru, has done it again. His first two highly successful books, Great Vegetarian Dishes and Cooking with Kurma, along with their entertaining television series, made him a culinary celebrity worldwide. His latest, Quick Vegetarian Dishes, is sure to add to his reputation as the high priest of vegetarian cooking."

"Kurma's message in Quick Vegetarian Dishes is refreshingly simple: life in the fast lane doesn't necessarily mean life in the fast food line. Even if your life is moving at web speed, you can, with Kurma's expert guidance, quickly prepare something hot and fresh, and stunningly original and tasty, for yourself, or yourself and another, or a few others, almost as quickly as you can order out."

"In Quick Vegetarian Dishes, you'll find the gastronomical equivalent of sound bites - taste bites, essential gourmet vegetarian delights that deliver the most palatable results with the least amount of time and effort. If you're the type of person that jumps on a plane with only carry-on luggage, this is the cookbook for you. You'll be in and out of the kitchen in record time."

"Like life today, the fare in Quick Vegetarian Dishes is fast, stylish, variegated, and multicultural. Kurma has chosen a tantalizing array of international dishes to showcase your speed cooking talents. Just reading over the recipe list for each chapter is enough to make you cancel the restaurant reservations and pick up a saucepan."

"When I called Kurma a vegetarian guru and high priest, I was not just using some interesting figures of speech. Kurma's vegetarian cooking is deeply rooted in his spiritual practice. Back in 1971, Kurma became the disciple of one of India's most respected gurus, His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In addition to being an accomplished scholar of Vedic literature and the world's leading teacher of bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, Srila Prabhupada was also an expert cook who delighted his disciples with his samosas, pakoras, and other exotic Indian preparations."
(Michael A. Cremo, Co-author of The Higher Taste: A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma-Free Diet, Divine Nature: A Spiritual Perspective on the Environmental Crisis, and Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race.)


More Book Reviews

On 'Great Vegetarian Dishes'

"I bought Great Vegetarian Dishes: Over 240 Recipes from Around the World (Hardcover), by Kurma Dasa about 10 years ago from a Hare Krishna (I technically made a "donation" to receive it) and I have to say it's one of the most used and enjoyed cookbooks in my extensive collection. You don't have to be a vegetarian or into any kind of Eastern religion to enjoy this cookbook. This book was my introduction to Indian food in general, and after trying a few recipes, I realized, "you know, I really could be a vegetarian if I ate food like this all the time."

This is a beautiful full-color cookbook with excellent photos, and is therefore different than some of the other cookbooks that Hare Krishna people give away in the airport or on the beach. In terms of promoting the Hare Krishna philosophy, I can't think of a better method... once you try a few of these dishes, you'll be tempted to chant the mantra a few times. There are two recipes from this book that I use all the time: "Mexican-Style Beans and Salad on Fried Tortilla" (the author's fancy way of saying "Tacos"); and the "Asparagus and Pine Nut Pizza." I've actually used these two recipes as a point of departure for making all kinds of other dishes using the basic dressings and sauces that book author Kuma teaches here.

Hare Krshna cooking is pretty interesting in that not only is it vegetarian, but it does not use garlic or onions either... whoa! You would think in a vegetarian diet you need all the help you can get to keep things flavorful, and how can you do without these staple ingredients? What ends up happening is that by leaving out the garlic and onions, you find yourself encountering entirely new flavors with some of the unique Indian ingredients that have a chance to express themselves without being overpowered.

To get the full value of this cookbook, you will need to take a trip to your local Indian grocery store and hunt down a few of the more obscure ingredients -- like the ubiquitous "hing" (asafoetida), a sulfury yellow powder which more or less becomes your substitute for garlic. I highly recommend this book to any vegetarian or gourmet." (Scott Svatos,Los Angeles, California).

"I have been a vegetarian since i was born and i LOVE cooking. I have probably had this cookbook for 10 years and have used it regularly along with three other cookbooks by Kurma. I do eat dairy (organic and with no animal hormones or any other animal ingredients) but i have never eaten any meat, fish, eggs, chicken or gelatin. If you like to eat food that actually has taste than this cookbook is an essential for your kitchen! A lot of the time eople think that vegetarian food is some tasteless tofu or a little salad.....because "WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES A VEGETARIAN EAT??" I have heard that question many times. Well we eat a variety of things and this book is a great tasting way to understanding what good vegetarian food tastes like!

The spices aren't so hard to find......mostly they will come from your local indian grocery store (which are actually quite common) or even the regular grocery store and you might spend a bit to buy most of them but they last for quite a while and you will have more freedom in deciding what you are going to cook.

I would say that its a little more challenging to find the ingredients for the chinese and thai dishes just because they are much more unfamiliar but never hurts to try and it will be worth it when you get to eat! Also for those of you who don't like garlic or onions or both...Kurma offers a great alternative called hing or sometimes aesfatita (which is a yellow powder spice from india)which works great.In addition to cooking with Kurma i would recommend Yamuna's Table although i haven't spent as much time with her recipies..... i have used them and they turn out excellent as well but require more ingredients and preperation time.

I really love the carob might be worried that 'without eggs how can you make a cake?' but it turns out perfect every time. I have to admit that i am a chocolate lover and so i use chocolate instead of carob.....but thats the beauty of these recipies.... have fun with them...improvise a little! ENJOY! I know i am!!" (B. P. Blumette, Los Angeles, California).

"I'm taking steps to ease my way into vegetarianism, and this book has been a godsend. For me, the best features of this book are the short explanation of the authors's philosophy of vegetarian cooking (keep in mind that Hare Krishna considers cooking as an act of worship), and a two page list of suggested menus for different  occasions, which is really helpful for those who spends more than 20 minutes deciding what to cook for a proper three course meal. Also impressive is the glossary section, which give an explanation of the herbs and spices you might encounter in the book.

To top it off, the book is actually a good read! Clearly this book is a labour of love. General note: if you want to take cooking a little bit more seriously, take my advice - don't buy those 30 pages recipe booklets sitting near the supermarket counters. Spend some money and get a proper recipe book - along with good kitchen tools." (Aston, Homebush, NSW Australia).

"This book is wonderful. Its recipes are foolproof and fun to make. I have tried most of them and none of them ever really failed. If you are a vegetarian, this book is an absolut MUST HAVE!" (Petra, Holland).


"Even if you are not a vegetarian, you will love this book ! Even if you are not a vegetarian, you will love this book!I got this book a few months ago and have been happily using it since. Kurma's recipes are extremely easy to follow and deliver great results every time. The book has recipes from all over the world - Italy, India, Thailand, China, Australia, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, America.

It is also divided into easy-to-access categories like rice dishes, pasta, entrees, vegetable dishes, snacks, pickles/ jams/ chutneys, desserts, etc. etc. And a small, but useful, thing: the book lays out flat on the table, so that you can keep it on your kitchen counter and read from it as you cook along!

The other thing the author shows you is how to 'spiritualize' the food you make and eat. It works. I can affirm that! I feel much more healthy and happy since I started making the recipes in Kurma's books and following the steps listed in the book to spiritualize the food that we eat. Even if you are not a vegetarian, you will love to make (and eat) the recipes in this book. Buy it!" (Y. Deshmukh "Yogibear", New York, NY USA)

"I got this book (Great Vegetarian Dishes) from the Hare Christnas about 5 years ago and it's wonderful. In fact it's so good that my brother stole it earlier this year. damn. Great pictuers, easy to follow recipes (but you'll need lots of weird spices), and a wonderful glossary of terms in the back." (Tim Wright (Christchurch, New Zealand)

"This (Great Vegetarian Dishes) is the BEST vegetarian cookbook that I have used to date - all the recipies work. I have been a vegetarian for over 18 years and tried many different styles. Kurma bases most of his recipies on the traditional Indian cuisine as well as adapting them to the western palate. The author also takes cooking to a spiritual level and shows the reader how to sanctify his cooking. Highly recommended!!!" (Vasudama, Perth, Western Australia)


"I have found this book (Great Vegetarian Dishes) extemely useful. I have tried several of those recipes and got good results.I really appreciate the substitutes being a vegetarian myself. The book contains a variety of dishes that can entertain a diverse group of guests.Thanks to Kurma Dasa! (Anuradha Gopalachar, Amarillo, Texas, USA)


On 'Cooking with Kurma'

"I am not a vegetarian. However, this book by Kurma Dasa has altered my preconceptions of vegetarianism. Kurma has done his research. He not only shows you how to cook but shows you how to blend the spices for the authentic Indian taste. It has a wealth of information even for folks who might think they know what is Indian cooking. The glossary with photos of spices and herbs will help those who don't know how to navigate their way through Asian grocery stores.

The book concentrates mostly on Indian vegetarian recipes but has many dishes from other parts of the world as well. One of the surprise packages in the book is "Juicy curd steak". Try it, it's good. Try 'em all, you'll embark on a saporific journey of ethereal proportions." (a happy customer)

"Outstanding vegetarian recipes! We are Indian and we find these recipes better than
any even the traditional recipes we have. Our life is changed with this book." (Sandesh S. Salvi)

"Meat Lover turned Vegetarian: At the ages of 29, I recently became a vegetarian (with the exception of fish). I found this book had some great recipes that you could easily improvise to fit different ethnic tastes. It has a variety of great recipes, my favorite being rice and soup dishes and the ingredients are easy to shop for. I keep my "Cooking with Kurma" out in the open so I can easily try a new recipe every day." (Roro "Roro", California)

On 'Vegetarian World Food'

"Kurma Dasa-a well-rounded vegetarian chef: Kurma Dasa has a special ability to make recipes easy to follow and delicious for non-vegetarian to enjoy. Not only has he mastered Indian cooking, but his Mediterranean dishes are also great. Fun recipes for snacks, especially when you have non-vegies come to visit. My guests always look forward to coming over as they know they'll be tasting something great and different...a lot of the vegetarian dishes come from Kurma's cooking books.

I had the pleasure of attending one of his cooking classes. It converted a friend of mine, who had never cooked Indian food before, it isn't necessarily hot, just a lot of wonderful spices. Lots to enjoy. " (Patti, Australia).

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