Many think that veganism – the practise of abstaining from the use of animal and dairy products, particularly in terms of dietary decisions – can lead to an extremely restricted choice of meals. Although Indian cuisine caters well to vegetarians (there is reported to be around 500 million vegetarians living in India, more than anywhere else in the world), the use of animal-based oils, milk, ghee or curd in many meals means that it can often be difficult for a vegan to enjoy Indian food.
However, that is not to say that Indian food cannot be accommodating to a vegan diet and there is a wide range of delicious recipe choices that can be enjoyed, mainly by swapping to vegetable, olive or coconut oils, or by using soya milk instead of dairy milk.Take a look at some of these recipes that can be enjoyed by anyone but particularly savoured by vegans.
This unleavened flat bread is traditionally made with butter but can easily become vegan-friendly by replacing the butter with vegetable oil. Dry fried flat breads are known as rotis, using whole wheat will make a chapatti, frying the dough with oil to make it puff up into a ball will make what is called a puri.
Make your dough by mixing the flour, salt, water and oil into a firm dough. Knead the dough, then leave to stand in a bowl to rise for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough into balls and then flatten into small pancake shapes. Cook in a skillet with our without oil, depending on what sort of bread you want to make.
This delicious potato and cauliflower-based main meal features a tasty blend of spices and can be enjoyed with a variety of breads.
The recipe is made by making a paste with shredded ginger, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric and water. This paste is then added to the vegan-friendly oil (such as olive oil), which has been heated with cumin seeds, bay leaves and green chillies.
You can then add cauliflower florets and potatoes to the mixture, which is flavoured more with mango powder and green coriander.
This recipe is a variation of a popular Punjabi meal, featuring lots of kidney beans for protein in a thick curry sauce. It will require you to have soaked the kidney beans in water overnight, which are then pressure cooked until soft.
Heat the oil in a cooking vessel, adding cumin seeds, bay leaves, ground onion paste, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, asafoetida and salt. Continue to cook with tomato puree until it separates.
Add the kidney beans with the water to the mixture, add garam masala and simmer until the Rajma Masala has a gravy like consistency. Ideal served with bread or rice.
Another popular dish in Punjab, this mashed aubergine and tomato curry is normally served with a roti.
Bake (or microwave) a large aubergine until it is tender, then peel and chop it. With this to one side, blend together tomatoes, ginger and green chilli.
Heat cumin seeds, tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chilli in oil until the puree separates from the oil. Stir in the aubergine to the mixture, mashing it as it cooks. Then, add a stir-fried red bell pepper, fresh coriander and garam masala. Serve hot with chapattis or rotis.
These north Indian spinach fritter snacks are easy to make with a great crispy texture that can be prepped and cooked in around half an hour.
Make a batter from a mixture of chick pea flour, rice flour, chilli powder, cumin powder, chopped green chillies, ginger paste, finely chopped mint and coriander leaves. Using a small amount of water and hot oil should make a stiff batter that is enough to just coat the spinach leaves.
In a pan heated with some oil, deep fry the pakodas by dropping in the batter mixture and cooking until golden brown. Alternatively, you can bake the fritters in the oven.
If you are vegan and want to enjoy authentic and tasty cuisine, some of London’s many fine-dining Indian restaurants may be able to cater to your needs with something from the freshly-prepared menu.