Indian food is quite vegan friendly with dishes like aloo puri (deep-fried flatbread made of wheat flour and eaten with potato curry), gobi paratha (wheat-based flatbread stuffed with cauliflower and masala), khichdi (a dish made with rice, lentils, and spices), vada (a deep-fried savoury snack made of ground pulses), and dosa (a crepe made from rice flour and ground pulses). These popular Indian dishes turned vegan can help you stay healthy and maintain your vegan diet. Not all of Indian food is vegan, in spite of the large range of vegetarian fare available. Many vegetarian delicacies include paneer (cottage cheese), milk, ghee and curd in their preparation, all of which are of course strictly vegan no-gos. So here are some ways you can eat some classic Indian dishes and also be vegan.

Also read: 12 amazing vegan recipes from around the world

Cook These Popular Indian Dishes Turned Vegan Right Away

1. From The Mughals To Us: Malai Kofta

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Vᥱgᥲᥒ Mᥲᥣᥲι Koftᥲ

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The word malai means cream and kofta means deep-fried dumplings. This Mughal origin dish is commonly seen at North Indian households during festivals like Diwali and Dussehra. The gravy is very creamy, and spices like coriander seeds and cumin are ground to give an aromatic flavour to the curry. The kofta is made of potatoes, or meat, and the above-mentioned spices along with garam masala (a blend of spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and nutmeg). This savoury dish is delicious but not vegan. To make this popular Indian dish vegan replace the cream and meat with raw cashew paste and potatoes. You can also use tofu with potatoes and spices to make a solid and creamy kofta curry. Replacing the cream with cashew paste will make sure the gravy is thick and rich. These simple replacements will turn this classic into one of the best vegan recipes of India. Find the full recipe here.

2. Sweetmeats From Heaven: Barfi

Another classic Indian dessert, loved by everyone is the barfi. It’s a very versatile sweet, and there are many types like coconut barfi, almond barfi, and so on. The texture of a barfi is very soft, and it isn’t overly sweet. This sweet is also commonly made and distributed during various  festivals in India. The key ingredient is milk, therefore it’s not vegan. To turn this famous Indian dish vegan, place half a cup of water and one cup of sugar in a non-stick skillet on a medium to high flame. Add cardamom and let it boil. Next, add almond and cashew flour and stir it. Scrape the mixture off the skillet. Add coconut oil and stir for 12-15 minutes. As soon as the mixture stops being sticky, turn off the stove and remove it  into a pan (preferably a rectangular one) and flatten it. Cut  the mixture into your desired shape, square or diamond. Garnish this popular Indian dish turned vegan with some shaved nuts like almonds, pistachios, and cashews, and your vegan barfi is ready to serve.

3. Yogurt Without Curd, Is That Possible: Vegan Cucumber Raita

Raita is a very popular condiment made with yogurt, spices and chopped raw vegetables. It  usually accompanies spicy food, vegetarian and non-vegetarian biryani, parathas and masala filled curries. It helps to balance the spices, even cooling the digestive system. Raita can also be viewed as a salad. The yogurt can be replaced with a store-bought vegan yogurt or well whisked silken tofu, but we suggest you make your yogurt with cashew paste. All you have to do to make this popular Indian dish turn vegan is soak the cashews for 30 minutes and then blend it  with lime juice, cumin, ginger, and green chillies until it’s a semi-liquid mixture. Add grated cucumber and chopped onion. This Indian vegan recipe is ready to serve.

4. Every Indian Child’s Favourite Food: Gajar Ka Halwa

It is very difficult to find a person who does not like gajar ka halwa. A classic Indian dessert, it’s made with grated carrots, sugar, milk, and khoya (a milk reduction). It’s a regular feature on special occasions, festivals, and also as rewards for good behaviour among children. It is a rich carrot pudding and oozes appetizing flavours. To make this one among the most popular Indian dishes turned vegan we will replace milk and khoya with homemade cashew milk so that it retains the thickness that the dessert is known for. To turn this Indian dish vegan without losing any of this mouth-watering taste, make the cashew milk blend with one cup of raw cashews and three cups of water. To make this Indian dish turned vegan extra healthy you can make it without sugar too, using the natural sweetness of the carrots and by adding dates. Find the full recipe here.

5. The Best Combination Ever: Mango Lassi

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Vegan Mango Lassi 🥭

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Two things to look forward to in Indian summers are mangoes and lassi. Put them together and you have heaven in a glass. Lassi is a cool beverage made of yogurt that is common in north  India. Since this is an Indian vegan recipe we are going to replace the yogurt with cashew milk. All you need to do is mix the mango pulp, sugar, cashew milk, cardamom powder, and fresh lemon juice. Blend until it turns into a thick and smooth mixture. Serve this popular Indian dish turned vegan in a tall glass and garnish with some mint to add an edge to the sweetness.

6. Beyond The Beaches: Vindaloo

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VINDALOO 🔥 I made this epic vegan vindaloo using an amazing curry powder that I picked up from from @gewurzhaus 🍛🌟 Recipe below: Ingredients: ✨ 1 brown onion, finely chopped ✨ 3 cloves of garlic, crushed ✨ A little olive oil ✨ 3 tbsp @gewurzhaus vindaloo curry powder ✨ 1 tbsp tomato paste ✨ 400ml coconut milk ✨ 2 cups of vegetable stock ✨ Salt and pepper to taste ✨ 2 cups of chopped cauliflower ✨ 2 potatoes, peeled & chopped ✨ 1 carrot, thinly sliced ✨ 2 cups of green beans, with ends cut off & chopped in half ✨ A heap of fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped Heat your olive oil in a pot and then cook the onion in until soft and transparent. Then add the garlic, cooking for another two minutes, careful not to burn. Add the spices and tomato paste, cooking together for two minutes, getting it all nice and aromatic! Then add the coconut milk, stock and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, while you cut your vegetables. Have a taste and add any more salt or spices as necessary. Add your vegies (except the spinach) and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until soft and cooked through. Once ready, add the baby spinach and simmer for another minute until collapsed. Serve with rice and if you like, some homemade vegan raita too (RECOMMEND 🤤). RAITA RECIPE: Combine the following: ✨ 300g of plain coconut yoghurt (I love @purecocobella) ✨ A bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped ✨ 1 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped ✨ 3 gloves of garlic, minced ✨ A couple dashes of ground cumin ✨ A couple dashes of ground coriander seeds ✨ A couple pinches of salt, to taste ✨ Ground or cracked pepper to taste Mix all together, have a taste and feel free to add more of any of the ingredients to your liking. This raita is SO delicious and the perfect way to complement your curry!

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Goa has more than just beautiful beaches and churches. Goan cuisine is very unique combining traditional Indian and Portuguese flavours. Vindaloo is a classic Goan dish that is made using pork. To make this popular Indian dish turned vegan, you can use sweet potatoes and other vegetables. The spicy gravy is believed to be the element that makes the dish stand out. The Vindaloo paste is an important ingredient in the dish. The paste includes ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, cilantro, cinnamon, fenugreek, pepper and cumin among others. The Indian vegan recipe includes vegetables like bell pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower and beans apart from the sweet potatoes. Also, add a vegetable broth to make the gravy thick and flavoursome. Find the full recipe here.

7. From The Streets Of Bombay: Cutting Chai

Chai or tea is a major part of most peoples’ mornings. But what makes Mumbai mornings better is the city’s famous cutting chai. Sold on the streets, this tea is characterised by the generous amount of milk used in it, making it very thick. It’s called cutting chai because it’s meant for the working class who couldn’t afford to buy a whole cup of tea and made do with just half a cup. When you ask for cutting chai, you are essentially asking for half a cup. You can replace the milk with soy milk. Add to one and half a cup of water, some cardamom, ginger, and sugar, and  boil. Add your tea leaves and let it boil for another two or  three minutes. Take it off the heat, and add soy milk. Only use soy milk at room temperature. Let the soy milk mix set. Strain it and enjoy this popular Indian dish turned vegan with cookies or any fried Indian snack.

8. From Irani Cafes And Parsi Households: Mawa Cake

Irani restaurants in India usually bustle with crowds who started their days with ‘chai and biscuits’. Mawa cake is one more such typical Irani cafe delicacy. As you take a bite of the cake, you will taste the presence of cardamom, and almost drown into the soft cake. The key ingredient, mawa, is a reduction of milk that gives the cake its soft texture and taste. To make this Indian dish turn vegan we suggest using cashew cream and almond flour and almond milk. Soak the cashews for 30 minutes and put them in a blender with almond milk. Then add the almond flour to get the creamy texture so that the cake doesn’t turn out grainy. Find the full recipe here.

Stay In Touch With Your Body

While transitioning to veganism is a healthy lifestyle, beware of health risks too. If you are confident you want to adopt veganism, you need to be ready with your research according to your own dietary needs and restrictions. Know your body before you make drastic dietary decisions. When we talk about a replacement for foods like meat, be careful about balancing your protein intake accordingly. While going vegan is a good decision for animals, you need to know your body better and make good decisions for it too. Let us know if you tried any of these popular Indian dishes turned vegan.

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