Dr Rupy Aujla’s first cookbook is a triumph for culinary medicine. If you’re not familiar with Rupy’s transformational food ‘channel’ The Doctor’s Kitchen, you can have a read of our interview with him in June 2016 on his return to the UK from Australia. Rupy’s passion for transforming lives with culinary and lifestyle medicine shines out of every page of his new book. When our personally autographed copy turned up at the office, the team took one look at the mouth-watering recipes that have Rupy’s stamp all over them and we decided to make this a practical review. In short, prepare to feast your senses, bring nourishment to mind and body and make yourself popular with friends and family all at the same time!

Too many believe that healthy food is bland, boring and brown. The Doctor’s Kitchen cookbook is anything but. Instead, it’s an explosion of colour, taste and vibrancy backed by culinary and nutritional science. One hundred recipes demonstrate how fresh, natural ingredients can be combined to tantalise your taste buds whilst explaining the principles of healthy living in an easy to understand format with Rupy’s trademark relaxed, but informed, style.

It’s not hard to see that we’re already fans of Rupy, having first profiled him in June 2016. Since then, he’s been busy taking his message across the globe and has picked up a huge number of additional fans in the process. In the UK, he continues to pursue his dream to integrate culinary medicine and lifestyle advice into GP practices so it becomes the foundation for good health and prevention of chronic diseases. His latest project is a cookery course designed just for GPs.

For Rupy, this book represents far more than just cooking. In this exclusive, Rupy told us:

This project really represents my aspirations for culinary medicine to be incorporated into the medical school curriculum and my vision for creating free community kitchens affiliated with every general practice surgery across the country. I believe this cookbook is the starting point. An engaging manifesto detailing why food is medicinal, but also how we should not sacrifice the enjoyment of eating.

 I’m sure you’re aware of just how poor the current state of our nation’s health is, despite the valiant efforts of our healthcare system. This is my humble attempt at joining the wellness industry and conventional medical practice, in the pursuit of creating a healthier proactive population that appreciates the medicinal impact of eating well.”

The ANH team get cookin’

Having spent a few days deliberating over what we were each going to cook, such is the diversity of yummy recipes, we settled on the following:

Rob Verkerk PhD, executive & scientific director
Za’atar Bowl, p. 189

I grew up with a healthy dose of Middle Eastern flavours in my mother’s cooking, taken from her parents’ childhood in Turkey and her own childhood in Greece. Along with South East Asian and Indian cookery, Middle Eastern food has remained my mainstay in the kitchen for the last 30 years.

With very little time to spare on Saturday evening, I made Rupy’s Za’atar bowl for my family. I wanted one dish that had enough plant diversity to feed all of us, and that could be made quickly. It hit the spot! I added some extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, but the diverse flavours, the wonderful Puy lentil ‘houmous’, along with the base of root veg and spinach bound in the tricolore quinoa simply came to life! Food like this is about life, vitality and health – and it can be made as quickly as it takes someone to wait for their pizza delivery.

Meleni Aldridge, executive coordinator
Raspberry Adzuki Slices, p. 234

On the brink of departing to Sweden for meetings, I needed to find something speedy, simple and delicious that I could take with me. I was also looking for a recipe that matched what I had in my kitchen. The Raspberry Adzuki slices ticked all those boxes and I knew they’d go down well at coffee time in Stockholm. And they did. In fact, there weren’t enough!

As long as you have a food processor, a Vitamix or even a hand whizzer, you’re good to go with these. Literally took no more than 10 mins to make them and get them in the oven. I say make them in the loosest sense – bung all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. You don’t have to be a cook. Perfect for budding cooks in the younger generation.

Verdict: Tangy without being over sweet, gooey, but not heavy, protein-rich to offset the natural fruit sugar and full of natural antioxidants. Clever.

Melissa Smith, outreach & communications officer
Fresh Kimchi, Noodles and Shredded Cabbage, pg 123; Jay’s Vietnamese Salad, p. 137

I was spoilt for choice, but as soon as I saw the word Kimchi I knew I had to try this dish as I make my own Kimchi and always have a jar to hand. I eat it regularly with a wide variety of dishes. It’s always nice to find a new way to use a favourite ingredient though. As I love raw veggies and wanted to try some new flavours, the Vietnamese Salad really appealed as I’d never used sesame oil before.

Both salads were really easy and quick to prepare and super colourful. As I have a cupboard that’s overflowing with store cupboard ingredients I had just about everything I needed (except the sesame oil) without having to do a massive shop. On their own or as a side these salads really liven up a meal and I will definitely be making them again. The salads were great fresh, but were possibly even nicer the next day with time for the flavours to infuse. This is definitely a recipe book I will be returning to again and again for inspiration. All I need to do now is decide what dish I’m going to enjoy next!

Charlie Jones, communications specialist
Punjabi Pakoras, p. 128

Being perhaps the least adept at cooking on the team (I’ve been known to burn a salad), I knew I’d have to go for something a little more on the simpler side. Skipping to the small plates, I was instantly enamoured by the vibrant green of the Punjabi Pakoras – and my choice was made!

Between the coriander, garam masala and ginger, these little vegetable patties pack a delicious, herby/spicy-filled flavour and take no more than half an hour to throw together. Best of all, any leftover ingredients can quite happily be recycled into the accompanying mint chutney, making this recipe perfect for a clean, no effort side plate or sharer. To those looking for a bit more of a kick, I’d recommend dropping in a little more green chilli – or perhaps a dash of garlic to bring out that flavour!

Miranda Black, administrative coordinator
Vietnamese Chicken and Lemongrass Balls with Mangetout and Carrot Salad, p. 174

Being a staunch meat eater, I raced to check out the meaty mains. Note, if you are not a regular Asian cook prepare for a substantial investment in your store cupboard. The total preparation and cooking time was 45 minutes (alas not including cleaning up time).  It turns out I am not such a great fan of lemongrass or fish sauce, but with the addition of the garlic and chilli flakes it made for a tasty alternative to our normal meals. I really wanted to try an Asian-style dish as I don’t like very strong spicy flavours, but I’d definitely make these again with a couple of tweaks like adding fresh lemon zest instead of the lemongrass and using stock powder instead of the fish sauce. Knowing that the rest of the team are far more ‘Asian foodie’ than me, I brought the rest to the office, where it was devoured in short order and everyone was looking for more. Enough said!

One for the ‘cookshelf’?

Definitely! This is a recipe book you will keep going back to for more inspiration. A resource to help you prepare a delicious range of meals, that are super good for you, full of flavour and prevent bland, brown boredom! An added bonus is that the recipes fit perfectly with the ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines, helping and encouraging you to eat a wide range of diverse, coloured plant foods, herbs and spices every day to support good health. It’s culinary medicine at its best.

The deets…

Author: Dr Rupy Aujla
Title: The Doctor’s Kitchen: Supercharge your health with 100 delicious everyday recipes
Publisher: Thorsons
Date of publication: 2017
ISBN: 9780008239336
eISBN: 97880008239343

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