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In an ayurvedic diet Food has to be cooked and served. Food has to be edible and easily digestible. Food has to be eaten when one has fully digested the previous meal; hence in an empty stomach. Food has to be chewed slowly and made an enjoyable affair; neither should it be a long drawn out affair. Food has to be eaten in small quantities; to stop eating when hunger ceases. Focus on the food you are eating. Food has to suit one s constitution which includes the mental and emotional temperament. Food has to be eaten in a congenial and peaceful atmosphere. A South Indian vegetarian diet adheres to all these aspects in a perfect manner. All these points are adhered to in this unique book. Sophie is convinced that these recipes are flavorful and very healthy. This is true as the food adheres to the concept of Ayurvedic form of cooking.
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Viji's plethora of cookbooks swept away the Gourmand awards in 2008 and a special award of the Jury in 2009. The Goumand World Cookbook Awards is the Oscar of cookbooks and wine books of the world. These awards have elevated this cuisine to a new level of global recognition and awareness. Kurumi Arimoto a celebrity cook book author in Japan is now in the process of translating a few of her recipes. Sophie Girot is a down to earth modest person who also happens to be a perfectionist in every sense of the word. It has indeed been an amazing journey for both of them. She has overcome all when she declares that these recipes were quite simple to prepare. She is passionately fond of the Tamil Brahmin cuisine that she says is simple, healthy and flavorful. Viji Varadarajan and Sophie Girot were destined to meet in a local farmers market in Chennai and the rest is history. Sophie grew so fascinated with this cuisine, its authentic flavours and tastes. Trying out new dishes being part of her passion, before long she tried, tested, photographed and along with the transliteration of the recipes in French she handed over the whole material to Viji in a CD. VoilÃ , this book was created! Challenges are only stepping stones for passions that people want to pursue. Sophie has a lot of things on her anvil now. She is a fitness freak who believes in eating home made fresh food everyday.Review:
PONGAL GOES TO FRANCE! South Indian cuisine goes to France as Viji Varadarajan and Sophie Girot co-author a translation of Viji Varadarajan s Gourmand Award winning recipes. While Sophie was finding a way through a vegetable market in Chennai she ran into Viji Varadarajan, a popular cookbook author. While Viji is best known for her best seller Samayal The Pleasures of South Indian Vegetarian Cooking ; Sophie is a fitness instructor from France who believes in healthy eating. Viji told me that she was the author of a cookbook and we exchanged numbers, says Sophie recalling their acquaintance. When I was going to France for the Gourmand Awards we got talking again. It has been a whirlwind of cooking demos and translations since then. This book was really a breeze to put together considering the fact that one of my passions was the French language says Viji. For the French, presentation is King, which is why most of the dishes have been photographed in white plates and glass dishes says Sophie. I think this is a pioneering effort. I do not know of many French translations of South Indian cookbooks, says Viji who is visibly enthused. The book is titled Saveurs et Traditions du Sud de l Inde (The Tastes and Traditions of South India). With plans of translating more of Viji s recipes, Sophie Girot has an elaborate journey charted out for her new-found cuisine. I love to cook she says. I do not like routine cooking but I love cooking new and interesting kinds of food, which is why doscpveromg South Indian cuisine has been so much fun. Its simple, its healthy and one gets all the flavors. This has been a very enriching experience for me, she ends. --The Times of India 19th March 2010
SOPHIE S CHOICE Sophie Girot was so fascinated with traditional Tamil cuisine that she and award-winning author Viji Varadarajan have put together a cook book in French. Heat oil. Pop mustard. Squint into kadai and yawn. After all, it's hardly the Mona Lisa. Try telling Sophie Girot that. Her eyes are closed, as she delightedly takes deep breaths of the mustard busily popping in her saucepan. Listen, she says, hushing the crowd, And breathe. That smell. It's so good. Everyone sniffs experimentally. It suddenly dawns on us. Mustard really does have an alluring fragrance. We're at a cooking demonstration at Alliance Française to mark the launch of Saveurs et Traditions du Sud de l'Inde,' a French cook book on traditional Tamil cuisine by Viji Varadarajan and Sophie Girot. Viji Varadarajan is one of the new wave of cookbook authors promoting a return to the healthy, wholesome, additive-free menus of the past. Not surprisingly, her work has been gradually garnering attention abroad. Her books won at the Gourmand awards in 2008 and 2009. Her recipes, inherited from generations of women in her circle of family and friends, are being translated into Japanese by Kurumi Arimoto, a cook book writer. And in the most unexpected corners of the U.S. young Americans are experimenting with her brand of Tamil Brahmin cuisine. Taking all this into account, a French translation seems like the next logical step. Though writing a cookbook was the last thing on Sophie's mind when she found herself confronted with piles of okra at the Pazhamudhir down her road. I was buying vegetables there, and Sophie wanted to know what to do with okra, says Viji, explaining how they met. Then there were the mangoes. There were 7 or 8 varieties lined up, says Sophie, It was impossible to decide which to buy. Viji not only guided her through the mango conundrum, but followed that with a dinner invitation to show Sophie exactly how to use the local vegetables. Although Sophie has experimented with a range of food styles in her home kitchen ( I also cook Japanese and Chinese food ), she found herself drawn to Viji's Tamil Brahmin food. When my husband first told me we were coming to India two years ago, I bought two French books with Indian recipes and started trying them out. Things like vegetable curry and kurma. In Chennai, she also tried the Indian food at restaurants, but it was always so spicy. She adds, This food is so different. It's healthy. Less spicy. Less oily. I thought, Oh my gosh I really like this. The French book features recipes sourced mainly from Viji's book Samayal: The Pleasures of South Indian Vegetarian cooking . Targeted primarily at the French expatriate community in Chennai, and eventually the rest of India, it has simple recipes using cooking techniques that can be carried out in a Western kitchen, without a bevy of elaborate Indian implements.The demonstration, for instance, begins with a tasty, and very quick, okra dish (in memory of that first meeting perhaps), which involves stir frying okra, tempering it with mustard and adding yoghurt. It's followed by a slightly more elaborate plate of spongy steamed mani kozhukattais, and finally a practically effortless avul payasam, in which beaten rice is tossed in ghee, boiled and then added to rich cardamom and saffron-infused milk. Along the way, guided by Sophie, we appreciate the smoky aroma of sizzling curry leaves. Marvel at the way saffron stains milk a glorious orange. And take deep breaths of gorgeously nutty ghee. --The Hindu 26th March 2010
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