I don't know about you, but I love eating vegetarian Indian food. Here is an article which will give you lots of ideas for types of Indian vegetarian food to eat.
Vegetarian Indian Food
by Manasi Gandhi
We recently moved into a new house. Our neighbour Mark is a vegetarian, and lives with his wife and four children. During one of our over the fence conversations he mentioned the monotony of eating vegetarian food. Being Indian, we were quite surprised to hear this. Though we are not vegetarian ourselves, we do eat a lot of vegetarian Indian food regularly. I invited him over for dinner and he happily accepted.
In the few years that I have lived in the UK, I have discovered the love of the Britons for Indian food. When I was training as a teacher at the University of Cambridge, I had the opportunity of visiting schools in the very English Boroughs of Britain. One thing which was common to all these places was that as soon as one stepped out of the railway station the first thing to be seen was an Indian Restaurant. My students had hardly ever seen an Indian, but had tasted a variety of Indian foods.
As much as the Britons love the good old ‘Chicken Tikka Masala‘, they also relish some vegetarian Indian foods. So taking these known dishes as reference points we can easily discover the huge range of vegetarian Indian Dishes. Lets start with ‘Biryani‘. Contrary to the misconception that Biryani contains chicken or meat, it can be vegetarian as well. Vegetable
Biryani is a mixture of fragrant spices, rice and a variety of vegetables, enriched with cashews and slow cooked in a pot with a tight lid. Rice is a staple diet of Indians, and provides the much needed carbohydrates. It is cooked in various ways, plain, sweet, savoury, and is often accompanied by a curry or lentil soup (daal).
‘Daal’ is made from lentils, sometimes cooked with vegetables, the most common example from south India is the ‘Sambar’ which is served with dosa (pancakes made from rice flour- one more rice recipe). There are different varieties of daals served with rice, for example the luscious ‘Daal Fry’ served in restaurants is a lentil soup tempered in butter and a variety of spices. Besides being a rich source of proteins, daal also acts as a hydrating element when mixed with rice or as a dip for Indian bread .
The most known among Indian breads is ‘Naan’ bread. It is made from the flour of wheat which is also an important crop in India. The flour is kneaded and rolled and then baked in kilns similar to a pizza base. Chapati’ which is slimmer version of Indian bread is also becoming very popular. It looks very much like a Mexican tortilla wrap the only difference is that chapati is made from whole wheat flour, unlike the tortilla which is often made from corn. Besides these, there is ‘Puri‘-a deep fried puffed bread, ‘Roti’- similar to naan but less oily, ‘Bhatura’ -which is similar to puri but thicker and bigger in size (often served with Chole- a famous chickpea curry of north India), and Parathas -readily available in frozen form- plain or stuffed with potatoes, onions and a variety of vegetables.
Curry is the main accompaniment in an Indian meal. Most supermarkets now sell Indian vegetarian curries, e.g ‘Paneer Tikka Masala’ -consisting of Indian variety of cheese paneer(similar to Mozzarella) fried in butter and cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with some mild spices, ‘Sarson ka Saag’ -a leafy green vegetable cooked and typically eaten with a bread made from corn makke di roti (one more variety of Indian bread), ‘Bombay Aloo’ -Potatoes boiled and stir fried in spices, ‘Vegetable Korma’ -mixed vegetables cooked in a mild sauce with spices to name a few. If we try to explore all the vegetarian curries in India space wont be enough,.
Besides these there are a number of other dishes served alongside the above main dishes, for example ‘Mango Chutney‘- a sweet and sour sauce of mangoes and a hint of spices (Coconut
Chutney is another very famous chutney served with idlis- Indian rice cakes- and here goes one more rice recipe), ‘Onion Bhaji’ - onions mixed with spices and batter and deep fried in oil, ‘Poppadums’ -deep fried Indian crisps, mostly made from rice flour-(rice once again), Lemon
Pickle -lemons preserved in a mixture of oil and spices and the list goes on.
Mark was a happy man at the end of dinner and wishes to come back again to take recipes from me and try them himself.
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