Going vegan in India isn’t that hard. All you need to do is skip that ghee, milk and paneer and you’re good to go. With a largely vegetable-eating population in India (I don’t say vegetarian only), the kinds of preps you can make with vegetables is quite fantastic, making turning vegan quite simple.
Turning on the vegan switch
Lactose-free and dairy-free are the first rules of going vegan. Imagine living without any yoghurt, cheese or butter – that is the holy grail of veganism. So almond, soy or even coconut milk works well. While you can eat all kinds of vegetables, the only source of protein are either pulses, soy orplant-protein. Of course, you need to call it quits with honey too, because the source still goes back to them bees. Maple syrup and sugar work just fine though.
You don’t have to go vegan all at once. The slower you make that move, the easier it is on your body. Focus on making your some of your favourite recipes vegan. For example, if you love pizza, figure out a non-dairy alternate with either tofu or cashew cheese. Another important thing is to read food labels before you buy them, that will ensure you’re buying only what you need. And finally, there’s no need to stop eating out just because you’re going vegan. For starters, you can explain your restrictions to the restaurants, or better still eat in these places where you’re guaranteed a delicious vegan meal.
Eating Vegan in Delhi
Unfortunately, two of the best vegan restaurants shut down in Delhi a few years ago – Nourish Organics and Spaghetti and Samosas, both of which ran amazing menus. But fear not, we still dole out our top picks where you can actually eat vegan in Delhi.
Sattvik - At this upmarket restaurant in Saket, there’s actually a lot to choose from the menu. Between the badam aur tulsi ka shorba and tamatar and pudine ka shorba, you’re in for an explosion of flavours. Try the Bhindi Piri Piri and the Bharwan Aloo Kashmiri for sure.
Price for two: Rs. 1500
Greenr Café - It’s the V-Sausage and pita triangles that’s quite a hit with the vegan community. These homemade vegan sausages topped with orange tahini sauce is quite a big hit. They also have an option for making your own salad with mesclun greens and a choice of plant meat including vegan meatballs, sausages and tofu amaranth with an amazing choice of vinaigrettes.
Price for two: Rs. 900
Dirty Apron - At this quaint south Delhi restaurant, there are quite a few delicious options for vegans to choose from. A vegan pizza for starters made with tofu is great. Opt for their Khao Suey or the Coconut Rice with Okra Sambal for an oriental vegan option. Ask for their vegan dessert options as well.
Price for two: Rs. 1200
The Altitude Deli - Both at Sangam and Lodhi Colony there’s a lot that vegans can choose from, between the garlic green beans and minty peas, you’re safely eating some delicious greens. Oh and that cucumber salad with miso dressing is quite the bomb.
Price for two: Rs. 900
Café Lota - If you haven’t tried the ragi uttapam at this restaurant in Pragati Maidan, then you have clearly missed out on a lot. Follow this some quinoa upma and the kerala stew and you have meal so delicious, you’re never going to miss meat. And for dessert the apple jalebi with the coconut rabri is the classic vegan dessert to go to.
She has been a journalist, food blogger and a food consultant. A cookbook addict, Ruchira has been cooking since she was 9 years old and in 2011, she was on Masterchef Indian Season 2 where she made it to the top 12. She is also a food stylist and a food photographer along which she blogs at The Great Cookaroo where she not only shares the recipes she has developed or read about but also her unique life experiences with food.