Vegan Indian Food

Vegan Indian Food

In my efforts to eat healthy and not starve while doing this, I have been trying to make more vegetarian dishes that are filling and equally delicious. One of my favourite cuisines is Indian food, the use of spices makes me salivate just with the thought of the cornucopia of flavours and aromas that Indian food is known for. The spices found in Indian cuisine not only tantalizingly flavour these dishes but also brighten up an otherwise bland and bleak looking plate of food. The other night I made four dishes which complement each other but can also be cooked separately and served as a meal or a side dish for any occasion. 
 
My all time favourite dish is saag paneer also known as palak paneer, which if you are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, is sort of a curry made with a creamy sauce, spinach and paneer which is similar to cottage cheese. To make it completely vegan I switched out the paneer for extra-firm tofu which practically has the same texture and provides needed protein in your diet. If you do not eat tofu or paneer you could swap it out and try chickpeas ( Chana Saag) or potatoes (saag aloo) instead. Saag comes in many varieties and it is thought there are over 2000 different forms of saag and it is one of the most known and loved dishes around the world. 
 
If you are looking for a simpler recipe which is more of a side dish then a main, try curry flavoured cauliflower which is by far the easiest dish out of the four. The great thing about this recipe is you can opt out of the cauliflower and substitute another vegetable or add more vegetables to the mix. The flavours in this recipe are definitely going to start (or reawaken) your love affair with Indian food and is a great way of introducing children to flavours from another part of the world. 
 
If you are more adventurous or inclined to eating a variety of different vegetables then this may be the perfect recipe for you. Eggplant is a great vegetable that in my opinion does not get enough love and really needs to be embraced more by everyone. This recipes is also a great side dish, or could potentially be used like a salsa or dip to bring to a party. By char-broiling the eggplant first you get a delicious smoky flavour that really makes this dish. It can also be made spicier or milder depending on your preferences, I like spicy food but my mother who was eating with me that evening does not like too much heat so I compromised and made a milder version. 
 
I also decided to spice up plain brown basmati, but this is not something that needs to be done as you really don’t want to overpower all the other flavours, but if you prefer flavoured rice this is a nice simple way to do so. It is also lovely for when you want rice paired with another recipe, particularly meat dishes. 
 
I encourage you to try one or all of these recipes and let me know what you think of them. I was going to make gluten-free naan but ran out of time so will save my recipe for another day. I also came across a vegan and gluten free recipe for gulab jamum, a popular and amazing good dessert so need to try it out soon. I will definitely be including more Indian recipes so look out for those.
 
 
 
 
Palak “Paneer”
 
Serves 3-4     Cook time: 20 minutes     Total time: 30 minutes
 
 
Ingredients
 
 
1 Package extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes
 
2 Cups spinach, chopped ( if using frozen, thaw and squeeze excess water before using)
 
1/4 Cup water
 
1/4 Cup coconut milk
 
1/4 Cup cashew cream
 
4 Cloves garlic, minced
 
1 Serano chili, minced (less or more depending how spicy you want it)
 
1/2 Tsp garam masala
 
1/2 Tsp cumin powder
 
Salt and peper to taste
 
2 Tsp oil (coconut or olive is best)
 
 
Directions
 
1. Saute tofu cubes in oil, garam masala, cumin, and half of garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
 
2. Combine spinach, water, coconut milk, rest of garlic, cashew cream, and serene pepper in a blend and blend to smooth.
 
3. Pour spinach mixture in with tofu and mix to combine. Cook for a further 15 minutes on low-medium.
 
4. Transfer to serving dish and drizzle some cashew cream on top.
 
 
 
 
Curry Cauliflower
 
Serves 3-4     Cook time: 30 minutes     Total time: 35 minutes
 
 
Ingredients
 
 
1 Head of cauliflower, but into bite size pieces 
 
2 Tbsp olive oil
 
1 Tsp garam masala
 
1 Tsp curry powder
 
1 Tsp tumeric
 
1 Tsp cumin
 
Salt and pepper
 
 
Directions
 
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
2. Toss cauliflower with oil and spices and lay on baking tray.
 
3. Bake for 30 minutes.
 
 
 
 
 
Spiced Rice
 
Serves 3-4     Cook time: 20-30 minutes     Total time: 30 minutes
 
 
Ingredients
 
 
2 Cups rice, basmati is the best type for this
 
2 Cups vegetable broth
 
2 Cups water
 
1/4 Tsp cumin
 
1/4 Tsp tumeric
 
3 cloves garlic, minced
 
2 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
 
 
Directions
 
 
1. Add garlic, spices and oil to a pot and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
 
2. Add rice and toss to coat.
 
3. Add liquid and turn heat up to a boil. Once it starts to boil turn heat down to low medium, cover and cook until liquid is completely dissolved.
 
4. Fluff with a fork and serve.
 
 
 
 
Spicy Eggplant and Tomato 
 
Serves 3-4     Cook time: 20 minutes     Total time: 30 minutes
 
 
Ingredients
 
 
1 Medium sized eggplant
 
1 can diced tomatoes or 5 medium tomatoes, diced
 
1 Onion, cut into fours
 
2 Cloves garlic, chopped roughly
 
1 Serano Chili (more or less to taste), chopped roughly
 
1/2 Tsp garam masala
 
1/2 Tsp chili powder
 
1/2 Tsp cumin
 
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
 
2 Tbsp olive oil plus 1 Tbsp
 
Cilantro, roughly chopped
 
 
Directions
 
 
1. Turn  broil to high.
 
2. Place whole eggplant in oven proof pan, coat in olive oil. Broil eggplant until skin becomes blackened, turning every few minutes. Should take about 5 minutes.
 
3. Place all other ingredients except tomatoes into a blender and roughly blend, you want some lumps.
 
4. Take eggplant out of oven and let it cool down. Once cooled peel off the skin and roughly chop up the eggplant. Transfer to a pot and add tomatoes and blend mixture. Cook for 15 minutes on low heat, covered. 
 
5. Transfer to serving dish and top with cilantro.
 
 
Enjoy!
 
 
PS- Sorry that the picture quality is not the best, I used my phone this time.
 
 
 
 
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