Happy New Year everyone! After a holiday hiatus I’m back, having just freshly returned a few hours before writing this post! This month’s instalments of Meatless Monday posts will feature foods found in Rajasthan, one of India’s provinces.
dahl = lentil dish
Anyone travelling to this southeastern nation who follows a meatless diet will be delighted to know that India is a vegetarian haven; especially those of the lacto-ovo persuasion. It is easy to find restaurants serving vegetarian food and some of the indigenous religions forbid the eating of certain animal flesh.
Hindus don’t eat beef while those of the Buddhist and Jain faith are vegetarian. It is worth noting that followers of the latter religions may also abstain from eating onions and garlic in their vegetarian diet. Jains are said to avoid root vegetables too.
Those who follow a vegan diet, however, may find it a little more challenging to get meals without dairy as this product figures heavily in many dishes. Look out for ‘pure veg’ options (sometimes it means without garlic/onion but can still contain a milk product) and request meals without dairy. Specify that you don’t want milk, cream, yoghurt ghee and paneer in your dish. Here are some terms that indicate the use of dairy.
Malai, korma and makhani are cream sauces; paneer is unfermented cheese; ghee is clarified butter.
Everyday in Rajasthan is a meatless day and here are some common food items.
plant protein: rice, wheat, peas, lentils, chickpeas, nuts
other protein sources: dairy, eggs
vegetables: potato, cauliflower, okra, eggplant, beans, carrots and leafy greens e.g. mustard, spinach, fenugreek (generically termed ‘saag’)
fruit: banana, oranges, mango, apples, limes
grains: rice, wheat
With the expert use of spices and an attitude of ahimsa or non-violence (not killing animals), vegetarians and vegans can expect to eat flavourful, nutritious and balanced meals in India.