I must say, I usually recoil from books with ‘healthy’ in the title, not because I have anything against the principle, but out of a deep-seated opposition to the devil-angel approach to food and eating. The reason that I so happily embrace Chetna Makan’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian is that I knew, from her first book, Healthy Indian, that her food is a joy, and a true celebration of eating. This, her second book, truly confirms that glad fact. And while it’s a particular treat for vegetarians and vegans, it is a glorious invitation to those vegetable-loving meat-eaters amongst us, too. There is so much I am longing to cook from this book, the Tomato and Gram Flour Curry, Aubergine and Potato Rice, Chilli Naan, Cheese and Potato Chapati Sandwich, for starters. But the recipe at the top of my list, and the one I am very pleased to be able to share with you here, is this verdiglorious Spinach and Coconut Dal.
Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian by Chetna Makan.
Published by Mitchell Beazley, £20.00, www.octopusbooks.co.uk
Photography: Nassima Rothacker