September 2019

Award-winning Nitisha dhal-ighted to launch vegan and vegetarian cookery book

Read time: approx 1 mins

A UCB graduate chef and former face of Tesco’s Indian Convenience Meal range is about to launch a vegan and vegetarian cookery book following the global success of her first book.

The Delicious Book of Dhal by award-winning chef Nitisha Patel, who runs her own food consultancyand is currently helping with the launch of street food restaurant brand Babul's in the north west of England, features 55 comforting recipes based around blends of dried split lentils, pulses, beans and peas.

With one in eight Brits now vegetarian or vegan and a further 21% becoming flexitarian or having meat-free days, the book is bang on-trend as more consumers move towards healthier diets.

A year in the making, the book’s chapters are divided into nine specific types of dhal, with helpful tips on types of lentils, layering spices, batch cooking and more.

Now available to pre-order on Amazon, it follows the success of Nitisha’s first book, My Modern Indian Kitchen, inspired by the food she enjoyed at home in Wolverhampton with her Gujarati parents and tapping into her classical training on UCB’s Culinary Arts Management (CAM) course.

As a chef with Indian heritage, where most food is naturally vegan or vegetarian, Nitisha said creating delicious meat-free meals was something that came naturally.

“Dhal is no longer India’s culinary secret and its reputation as a divine form of comfort food now traverses many cultures,” she said.

“Lentils are so good for you, a brilliant source of protein and great for digestive health and with the ever-rising prevalence of plant-based diets, so the popularity of dhal has risen globally, too.

“It’s been wonderful to explore the astonishing array of variations - using different spices, herbs, and vegetables in different formats and with different accompaniments.

“Thin and soupy, thick and saucy or dry and stir-fried, they can be moulded into pakoras, burgers and dosa or used in desserts, even waffles and pancakes, which my new book explores.”

It’s been success after success for 30-year-old Nitisha, who won Rising Star at the Midlands Food Drink and Hospitality Awards in 2017. It all started, however, as an A-Level pupil studying Food Technology at Highfields Science Specialist School in Wolverhampton, which is when she first visited UCB and was “blown away” by the facilities.

Within months of graduating, she was working as head chef at leading housing and care provider Midland Heart, and went on to become the face of Tesco’s Indian Convenience Meal range.

She then worked as a product manager for Asda stores across the country before launching her own food consultancy, Nitisha Patel Foods Ltd.

The Delicious Book of Dhal will be officially launched at a canapé event, supported front and back of house by current UCB Culinary Arts Management students, on Thursday 5 September at Birmingham’s East End Foods.

Priced at £9.99, you can pre-order The Delicious Book of Dhal here.

Find out more about UCB’s Culinary Arts Management degree.

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