Kitchens of India: Pav Bhaji (Mashed Vegetable Curry) Review



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Review:

This is one of my favorite quick lunches – just reheat and eat! Pav Bhaji is a type of mashed vegetable curry made primarily of potatoes, tomatoes, and peas blended with butter, ginger, and spices. Like many Indian vegetarian dishes, it is richly flavored and savory enough to be a hit with both vegetarians and meat eaters.

The ingredient list for Kitchens of India’s version of the dish is refreshingly short (just 10 ingredients) and doesn’t require a chemistry degree to understand, which is always a bonus in my book. I like to eat it by itself or with bread or naan for lunch, but it would also make a great side dish for an ethnic meal. If you’re on a diet, you will want to be a little careful of the serving size – this is not a low calorie food. The pouch it comes in contains approximately 2.5 servings of 210 calories each, so if, like me, you tend to eat the whole thing in one go, you’ll be consuming about 525 calories.

Kitchens of India’s Pav Bhaji is spicy, but not eye-wateringly so. I’d put it about a 2-3 on a scale of 1-10. That’s just about the right level for my taste, but of you love spicy foods, you may want to add more. Conversely, if you’re sensitive to capsicum, skip this one.

My rating: (4 / 5)

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats Book Review



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Review:

Another wonderful and thought-provoking book by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. Though not exactly in the same series as Material World and Women in the Material World, Hungry Planet does visit a few of the same families, including the Namgays in Bhutan, the Ukitas in Japan, the Batsuuris in Mongolia, and the Natomos in Mali and it’s fun to revisit them and catch up on the news, so to speak. Other countries include France, Greenland, Egypt, and the Philippines. This time, each family is photographed surrounded by a week’s worth of food, and it is no less fascinating than their possessions.

Again, some of the contrasts are shocking (even the difference between the meager allotment granted to a Sudanese refugee family in Chad and the diet of a local family in the same country was painful to contemplate) but one of the most notable lessons of the book for me was that wealth correlated with more food, not necessarily healthier food. The Namgays, a poor farming family in rural Bhutan that got their first electric light bulb during the same period the book was being photographed, appear to have one of the healthiest diets in Hungry Planet, while the book’s introduction notes that several of the Western families (including the Revises, one of three families from different ethnicities in the USA) were so appalled by how they really ate that they changed their diet after being photographed for the book!

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My rating: (4 / 5)