Book review: Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Vegan

29 May 2023 by
Book review: Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Vegan

Richard Makin's book takes vegan cooking to new extremes as he takes on the challenge to make anything plant-based

A fried egg cooked to perfection is simplicity itself – a blistered bottom, a glossy egg white and a bright yellow yolk with a tantalising wobble – but it isn't necessarily top of concerns when considering a plant-based diet. However, for Richard Makin, it symbolises his goal as a vegan food blogger to create plant-based recipes with "zero sacrifices" – so much so that his vegan fried egg is the cover of his first book Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Vegan.

To make this faux egg he blends soft silken tofu, rice flour, vegetable oil and kala namak (black salt, which gives a sulphurous, eggy flavour), to make the white, and fries it in vegan butter. The yolk's colour comes from carrot juice, which he processes with vinegar and more kala namak before pouring in rapeseed oil to create a yellow vegan mayo, which is dotted in the centre of his ‘fried egg'.

In the ‘Meats' section he describes how to use paper tofu to replicate bacon, or how the Chinese method of making seitan can create products similar to chicken, chorizo or deli meat. He also provides recipes for mock Parmesan, mozzarella, Cheddar and ricotta.

Recipe inspiration includes using pink oyster mushrooms which, when cooked, turn a deep orange similar to lobster. When paired with chives, vegan mayo and nori to boost the seafood flavour, you have lobster rolls. Birria tacos made from jackfruit are begging to be dipped in a sauce packed with Mexican flavours, and the clever addition of deodorised coconut oil creates a layer of fat on the surface of the sauce, replicating the meat fat which the traditional recipe calls for dunking the tortilla into before frying.

His chapter on ‘Sweet Stuff' also doesn't disappoint with the most requested dessert from his Instagram page – the Mexican classic tres leches cake – as well as a vanilla custard slice and his version of "dessert royalty" the ‘Veganetta'.

The more your flick through this book, the more detailed techniques jump off the page, but the joy of Maikin's recipes is how he breaks them down into simple steps to recreate dishes everyone can enjoy.

Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Vegan by Richard Makin (Bloomsbury, £25)

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