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.