Vegetarian: World Vegetarian with Madhur Jaffrey

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World Vegetarian with Madhur Jaffrey

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Actress and author Madhur Jaffrey will discuss how to prepare a delicious vegetarian dish in this special AUDIOCAST and Slide Show event

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be presenting a live slideshow and audiocast event with Madhur Jaffrey entitled: World Vegetarian.

Madhur Jaffrey is currently one of the most respected figures in the world of food and film. As an actress, she received Best Actress honors in the Berlin Film Festival for her first feature film, "Shakespeare Wallah." As a cook, she is the host of three television cooking shows and has authored a number of best-selling cookbooks, most recently Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, an award-winning collection that is the result of a lifetime of culinary exploration. Madhur Jaffrey is the author of seven previous cookbooks, including the classic Invitation to Indian Cooking and Madhur Jaffrey's Taste of the Far East, which was voted Best International Cookbook and Book of the Year for 1993 by the James Beard Foundation.

Jaffrey: Hello! I'm fine in New York! It's lovely, southern breezes are blowing, it's lovely! It was wonderful. I made a dish of chick peas, a royal chick pea dish that's quite simple and nutritious and delicious to boot! And you'll have a chance to look at that.

Moderator: In what ways can people get enough protein in an all-vegetarian meal?

Jaffrey: Well, here's the interesting thing. India has had vegetarians for over 1,000 years. This dish has beans, a dairy product (yogurt) and you can eat it with bread or rice, and you're getting a perfect protein this way. Indians don't think about a perfect protein, but the basic nutritional pattern was laid out years ago -- a bean, a dairy, and a grain, so nutritionally you're covering your ground completely here.

Moderator: What are some ways people can use substitutes in your recipes?

Jaffrey: I don't know why they would want to!

Moderator: How hard is it to get many of the exotic spices and foods that you use for your recipes?

Jaffrey: In this case .. but even if you're Jewish and Kosher there's no meat here. There's nothing that should be a problem, but if there is, someone should call and I'll answer them. Almost .. today all of these things should be available in the supermarket. And, again, if you have a problem, tell me! And I'll answer your query! I'm here now. But, I won't be here a little later (laughs!)

Moderator: What are some of the benefits of an all-vegetarian diet?

Jaffrey: Well, you know, I'm not recommending people become 100% vegetarian, don't give up meat if you love it. But, I have quite a healthy approach to diet. If I want a steak once in a blue moon, I'll have it cause I like the taste of it. But, on the whole in a week, I eat about 5 veggie meals and then I'll have some chicken. But, you try to follow the general guidelines and make beans and grains the major part of your diet. If you look at the pyramid set out by the US government, it has grains set out at the bottom of it. People are including them in their diets and getting wiser .. they have fiber and protein and they're better all around for our lives .. for the ecosystem. Be moderate .. you don't have to live that way all the time. Moderation.

Moderator: Do you have a favorite recipe?

Jaffrey: No, not really. I like food from all over the world and things that taste good. This chick pea dish tastes good. I hate things that don't taste exciting, I'm desperate to please my palate! I spend a lot of time working out recipes that I like to taste and eat. I'd never recommend a recipe that's not delicious.

Moderator: What do you think the most important thing someone should know about preparing vegetarian meals?

Jaffrey: Not really. It's a whole world of vegetarian foods. I'd suggest to get my book and look through the book to see what they like! You don't have to eat foods that you don't like .. food is not a medicine, though China combines the two ... many great cultures do. But, try things that you like to eat. My book has 650 recipes .. look for the things you like and cook those. Beans and chick peas ... people ignore beans in this country and I think they're wonderful! You'll be cooking them more and more ... veggie and rice dishes. Be aware that there's a world out there of vegetarian foods out there that cultures have been preparing for thousands of years. You can be a partial vegetarian .. eat healthy most of the year and then indulge yourself! I suppose so. It tells a lot about your attitudes to life .. if you're a total indulger, that will show; if you're careful, that will show. I think moderation is always the best to follow.

Moderator: What are some of your latest discoveries in the culinary world?

Jaffrey: You know, I'm discovering things all the time. For example, there are vegetables that I don't cook frequently, veggies you find in India and are used in Mexico from a South American origin .... you can peel and dice them .... you can cook them with chicken or by themselves. So, some vegetarians need to discover pumpkins and bitter gourd. I find it amazing that America doesn't sell pumpkins in the supermarkets! That's where they came from! You can only get pumpkin in a can! And, another thing that I love are chick peas when they're green, like a green pea and they're grown in Washington State and where are they? They can be frozen. But, the people who are growing them, I'm talking to YOU! Put them frozen in packages and we will cook them, send them as samples to chefs. We will cook them and put them in our recipes. These are things waiting to be discovered.

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Jaffrey: I think there's a whole area of beans that has not been looked into. This is a country where Lima beans are original.... why can't I get fresh lima beans or peanuts? You can get them in South Carolina or other places, but they should be available to all of us .. there are Chinese and Indian recipes with fresh peanuts and you boil them, they're delicious! This is my battle cry! (laughs!) I hope it was not too loud.

Yes, I commute to London and do a lot of work there, I have several homes. I'm Indian, but half English in spirit and by citizenship, I'm American. So I'm related to the whole world and we're becoming more and more global. The net is part of that.

blaine1_WebMD: In London, I had this great Saag that was whole pieces of spinach rather than pureed. How is this Saag made?

Jaffrey: It depends, there are hundreds of ways to do it. I went to the supermarket the other day and got this very young small leaf spinach in a packet with microwavable directions which I threw away. I heated a bit of oil and sliced shallots and put them in with sliced ginger, green chile slices and threw in the spinach and fried it for 3-4 minutes and it was delicious! And, of course salt and pepper.

Al_Pavy_WebMD: What exactly is curry? And what is the difference between red and green and yellow curry?

Jaffrey: Red, green, and yellow curries, I think of Thailand cause this is not something that's Indian. In Thailand, the red curry is made with red chilies, the green curry is green chilies and fresh herbs, and the yellow curries have turmeric in them. So, that accounts for the colors, but they have different tastes, the green curries have spices, and the red have lemongrass and other Thai seasonings. But, the colors you won't find in India, it's how India influenced Thailand. A lot of it traveled with Portuguese traders, etc. from one country to another.

Moderator: Do you have meals that are more suited for specific seasons?

Jaffrey: I haven't done that for this particular book though you'll find enough for all seasons. In India, we eat very seasonally and certain things are good for your health in the rainy season, etc. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India, they say that most diseases are caught at the change in seasons and that is the time you should eat carefully, dress warmly and be careful. Especially during the change in winter ... all kinds of warming foods are recommended -- nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. So, in Ayurvedic, all seasonings and spices are given heating and warming qualities. And, people that go to "regular" doctors also go to Ayurvedic doctors ... they work with them for all kinds of things .. exercises, massages and patterns of eating.

maltman_WebMD: In Western cooking, tofu is often substituted for meat. Can I do the same in Indian cuisine, like for keema matar for instance?

Jaffrey: It can be. And, tofu is a very good substitute for ... in my book, I use fresh cheese where you can substitute tofu ... peas and Indian cheese .. you can use bean curd in a dish like that ... spinach can also be made from tofu and it works quite well .. not exactly the same. Slightly different taste. But it's good to know. But, anyone who's interested in making Indian homemade cheese, should look in my book for a 3 minute recipe in my book!

Moderator: Madhur, thank you so much for joining us, it was great talking to you!

Jaffrey: Thank you!

Moderator: Thank you very much for joining us, Madhur. Please join us again on Tuesday, March 28 at 7 pm EST in the World Watch and Health News Auditorium, when we present another slideshow & audiocast cooking event, "Shopping and Cooking for Ayurvedic Nutrition," with Leanne Backer, executive chef at Deepak Chopra's "Chopra Center for Well Being."

Jaffrey: Bye bye.

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Reviewed on 10/23/2003 1:25:27 AM

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