Meera Sodha is a voracious home cook, a best-selling cookbook author and the vegan columnist for The Guardian daily newspaper in the United Kingdom. In her new cookbook East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing (Flatiron, 2020), Sodha shares plant-forward recipes made from easy-to-find ingredients.
Inspirations when developing recipes
My mum, aunts and grandma are my greatest inspiration. I try to keep them in mind when I write new recipes, because every day they cook fabulous and wholesome meals, using ingredients mostly from the cupboard with fresh and in-season vegetables.
I write recipes as a home cook in service of other home cooks—so I’ll always try to write them with empathy. That might mean a quick or easy recipe, but it could just mean being clear with each step or up-front about equipment, so that no one feels ambushed mid-recipe.
I love cooking with miso, gochujang and kimchi, three staple ingredients that add an enormous amount of flavor in an instant.
3 tips for people who want to eat more plant-based
1. Open up to new flavors. There are many cuisines, cultures and communities that have put plants at the center of their tables for centuries with delicious results, like India, for example.
2. Buy the best vegetables you can afford and those that are in season. You can really taste the difference, and it feels like a total joy eating something when nature says it’s right.
3. Buy the ingredients I’ve suggested above—miso, gochujang and kimchi—to play around with; they can transform vegetables into meals very easily.