It’s time to take a delicious dive into the vibrant and diverse world of vegan Indian food.
In this blog post, we’ll be delving into the heart of the plant-based culinary traditions that take centre stage in traditional North Indian and Punjabi cuisine, uncovering the tantalising array of vegan delights that grace the tables of households and restaurants across the region. Our quick guide will explore the flavour profiles of traditional vegan Indian food, and consider the key ingredients that form the backbone of North Indian and Punjabi vegan fare. So, whether you’re a seasoned vegan or a curious foodie, join us as we celebrate the mouth-watering combination of flavours and ingredients that define vegan Indian cooking.
The significance of plant-based food in India
Did you know that India is commonly regarded as having the highest rates of vegetarianism in the world? In fact, Northern India in particular ranks as arguably the most plant-based region, with an estimated 75% of people following a vegetarian diet.
Whilst a large number of traditional plant-based Indian dishes tend to employ animal products such as butter, cream, and honey, veganism nonetheless has its place in India’s culinary repertoire, with around 9% of the contemporary Indian population embracing a vegan diet. Over here in the UK, popular Indian vegetarian dishes are easily transformed into vegan-friendly fare in Indian restaurants, meaning that there are always plenty of options for those who stick to a vegan diet.
More than just a dietary choice
In the tapestry of traditional Indian cuisine, the significance of plant-based food extends far beyond a dietary choice. In fact, adherence to a plant-based diet – in various iterations – is deeply rooted in the cultural, religious and spiritual fabric of the nation.
For example, veganism seamlessly aligns with the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence, which is a core tenet of many Indian philosophies. This essential principle in traditional Indian philosophy not only reflects respect for all living beings but also underscores the sustainability and health benefits associated with a plant-based lifestyle.
From fragrant lentil daals to spiced vegetable curries and unleavened breads, vegan offerings are integral to the kaleidoscope of flavours that define the Indian landscape. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the popular plant-based dishes and sundries in North India and the Punjab that are putting vegan Indian food firmly on the culinary map.
This stalwart spiced potato dish delights the palate with an array of typical North Indian flavours, comprising the warmth of cumin, the freshness of coriander and the earthiness of turmeric.
Sautéed to perfection, Aloo Masala is a dry curried dish that embodies the heart of North Indian cuisine. Here at Sachins, our Aloo Masala is an incredibly popular choice amongst vegans, veggies and meat-eaters alike, featuring irresistible pieces of flavoursome potato fried with a tantalising blend of tomatoes, green peppers and aromatics.
Rice may act as the staple carbohydrate in South India, but the humble roti (or chapati bread) is the undisputed staple of North India and the Punjab!
This unleavened bread is prepared with whole wheat flour and is cooked on a tawa or griddle. It’s an integral part of everyday meals and contains no animal products, making it a fantastic choice for vegans.
A guide to vegan Indian food simply would not be complete without mentioning Daal, a culinary cornerstone of North Indian and Punjabi cuisine.
This popular lentil dish is a major part of the Indian diet and is an integral component of day-to-day meals in your average Indian household. Daal features the likes of cumin, mustard seeds, garlic and turmeric. Simply put, this dish captures the essence of North Indian and Punjabi cooking — wholesome, nutritious, and bursting with fragrant, earthy flavours.
Okra, known as bhindi in North Indian and Punjabi cuisine, holds a paramount role in the region’s culinary landscape, and its significance in Indian cuisine in general comes as little surprise when you consider the fact that India produces approximately 6 million tonnes of okra each year, much of which is exported across the globe!
The most popular use of okra in North Indian and Punjabi cuisine is in the dry, curried dish known as Bhindi Masala. This cherished regional dish embodies a delectable flavour profile, transforming the humble okra with spices such as cumin and garam masala, creating a savoury and aromatic flavour profile.
Vegan dining at Sachins
Here at Sachins, we are passionate about showcasing the finest flavours of North India and the Punjabi region, celebrating traditional dishes with an emphasis on vibrant flavours and keystone ingredients.
As part of this commitment, we are proud to offer a range of delicious vegan dishes to our diners. Not only do these dishes hold true to the prevalence of plant-based cuisine in the North Indian region, but they also ensure our menu remains inclusive of a range of dietary requirements and choices. This means that everyone can dine at Sachins and enjoy an abundance of exciting flavours.
Keen to sample the delicious flavours of vegan Indian food? Book your table at Sachins now!indian food, Plant-based, Vegan