Veganism has become very popular all over the globe in recent times and is based on the principle of excluding animal products from the diet. Vegan diets are extremely beneficial to health as they involve a lot of consumption of fruits and vegetables.
These are packed with a lot of antioxidants and vitamins and ensure better health and nutrition. The Indian palate is more used to spices and condiments so an Indian vegan meal would be drastically different from a continental one.
There is a lot of diversity in Indian cuisines as each region in India has its unique food. Still with more exposure and a willingness to experiment, Indian cuisine has incorporated many foreign ingredients.
5 Vegan Substitutes For Traditional Indian Foods ;
1. Almond milk in place of regular milk
Milk is considered a very important food in India and no meal is complete without milk in some form. Almond milk is a good substitute as it is naturally dairy free and also good for people with lactose intolerance.
Almond milk is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. It also has 40 calories per 100 gms as compared to cow’s milk which has 102 gms. Almond milk also helps to strengthen bones as it has higher calcium content and helps to control sugar levels as well.
It can be set into curd which again is widely used in all Indian meals. Almond milk also contains high quantities of vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant that fights stress and inflammation in the body. So consuming almond milk in place of regular milk has a number of health benefits.
2. Tofu in place of paneer
Most Indian vegetarian meals are incomplete without paneer. Paneer is generally made with high fat milk . Tofu is made from soy milk and is rich in proteins, minerals and calcium.
Tofu also has low levels of cholesterol and helps to fight obesity and keeps weight in check. It also improves the immune system as it is rich in antioxidants.
The high protein also helps to prevent hair loss and keeps wrinkles and lines at bay. Tofu can be added to any Indian curry as it has a neutral taste and flavour.
3. Jackfruit meat in place of chicken
Made from jackfruit, it involves retorting ,heating ,distilling and drying the fruit with a machine. Jackfruit is grown all over India.
It tastes like shredded chicken and can be substituted in a variety of chicken dishes. They also have a neutral flavour so it acquires the taste of the seasoning or sauce added.
Jackfruit is high in fibre nutrients and antioxidants too. Butter chicken is one of the most famous Indian curry and can be easily made with jackfruit meat.
4. Coconut cream in place of heavy cream
Coconut cream is a delicious dairy free and vegan alternative to full fat heavy cream. India is one of the largest producers of coconut in the world. Indian curries are generally very rich with generous amounts of cream.
Coconut cream is a healthier option and can be easily made by adding water to grated coconut and grinding it. It also increases the good cholesterol – HDL.
Coconut cream is also a good source of MCT(medium chain triglycerides) which promotes weight loss by decreasing appetite and increasing energy. It is a good source of vitamin C and E making it beneficial for maintaining the flexibility and elasticity of the skin.
Coconut cream is used to make a variety of drinks and desserts. Coconut cream is thus a tasty ,nutritious and versatile food that has numerous health benefits.
5. Soy meat
Soy is a popular legume of Asian origin and can be used by vegan people to replace regular meat. It is a complete protein and can be used to substitute a number of minced meat dishes like kheema , kebabs ,rogan gosht etc.
Soy is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and low in saturated fat,unlike meat so is extremely good for health. It can be added to a variety of meat dishes as it has the same moistness without affecting the ingredients and altering the taste.
Soy also reduces the risk of cardio-vascular diseases .It is also known to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Soybeans are one of the very few vegan foods that contain all the aminoacids needed for human health.
There are a number of plant based substitutes that can be easily adapted to suit Indian tastes and dishes. With the advancement in science and technology a number of vegan recipes are available online and with a little experimentation most people can find vegan meals suitable to their needs and protect the environment at the same time.