I am a vegetarian cookbook junkie, and the more exotic the better. I hesitated before ordering this one, since I already had so many similar books. But I think I have yuan2 (Chinese for "affinity") with this book. Today I was puzzling over what to do with a bunch of long green beans and four Asian eggplants. Sure enough, there's a recipe called "eggplant and green beans" in this book! I never would have thought of putting these two together myself, certainly not Chinese style, but this dish really worked. I guess lots of disparate ingredients meld harmoniously when stewed with tomatoes in the right spices.
Two of the old reliables from this book I make again and again are mung bean curry, which is especially nice here, since mung beans are available everywhere in Taiwan; and carrot salad, with cilantro and peanuts. I plan to include it in this year's Christmas dinner - it is refreshing, delightful - and *simple*! The various halvas in the dessert section look mouthwatering as well.
The success rate of dishes made from this book is 100% so far, so I will certainly continue to try new ones. We're lucky to have an Indian grocery in Taipei, but the ingredients for most recipes are quite simple and straightforward, once you have a stock of the basic spices. One little thing - you may need to get used to new terms for certain ingredients, e.g. "hing" for asafoetida.
The cover is very pretty and perky, and the page design is clean and comfortable, though I feel the redundant listing of ingredients in the outer margin isn't really necessary.
Another thing that endears me to this book is knowing it is the product of American-Indian cooperation, between two friends. No glamour shots of the authors for the book - they look like colleagues you'd like to have coffee with often! (Or maybe masala tea!)
So, those of you who don't eat meat (or even if you do) and like healthy, easy-to-make exotic food on the light side: get this one. (It's really inexpensive besides! What more could you ask for?)