The festive season is all about going guilt-free and indulging.. Being vegan need not stop you from enjoying some traditional Indian delicacies that you can tweak ever so slightly to suit your requirements. So go ahead and cook up a storm with these simple vegan recipes that hit the spot.
Vegan carrot halwa
Gajar ka halwa is among the most loved Indian desserts and every household has its own version of the dish – a little tweak here, a little flourish there. This festive season, whip up a vegan version of this stellar dish by just making a few simple swaps. First up, add grated carrots to a heavy-bottomed pan, and instead of letting them cook in regular milk, as is the norm, use almond milk. Add some cardamom and cook this mixture for about 30-40 minutes till the carrots are soft and the almond milk, reduced. Stir in the sugar or sweetener of choice, some cashew paste if you feel like it, top with raisins, roasted almonds and cashews. Dig in to your healthy, vegan carrot halwa.
Coconut milk kheer
Turn your traditional rice kheer into a vegan one by using coconut milk. Not only does it add a layer of richness to the dish but it is also a healthier alternative, considering coconut milk’s cooling properties. Start out by heating coconut milk in a saucepan – you could use a mix of thick and thin coconut milk by diluting it with water. Add some sugar and about half a cup of rice to the coconut milk and let it simmer until the rice softens and the milk thickens. Season with some crushed cardamom, add a splash of rose water, and top with roasted nuts.
Peanut butter laddoos
Give your typical besan laddoo a gourmet makeover that is vegan and festive to boot. Heat some chickpea flour in a pan till it gives out a nutty aroma and stir in some cardamom. Remove from the stove and spread it on a large plate. Mix it with some flavoured peanut butter (chocolate works great), sugar or dates syrup, and work it into bite-sized laddoos while it’s still hot. Bite into it when it’s cooled. Store it in an airtight container.
Vegan Kaju Katli
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned kaju katli straight from the sweet shop counter? Well, it’s time you gave the vegan version of your favourite snack a try. This straightforward recipe uses just three ingredients: good quality cashew nuts, powdered raw sugar, some corn starch to bring it all together. Start off by making a sugar syrup with sugar and water and wait until it reaches a single thread consistency. Mix cashew nuts and corn starch in a blender, and add the buttery mixture to the sugar syrup in batches; keep mixing as you do this till it turns into a smooth thick batter-like consistency. Transfer this to a greased plate and pat it down; cut into desired shapes when cooled.
Make way for tofu, aka vegan paneer. Loaded with protein, bean curd or tofu is made by condensing soy milk, and is a healthier alternative if you are going dairy-free. In this version of kofta, you merely skip the paneer and use tofu instead, and substitute butter or ghee with your oil of choice. Boil and mash potatoes and mix it with crumbled tofu, ginger-garlic paste, corn flour and spices; pat this mixture into balls and deep fry them. In a heated pan, toss some onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and cashew nuts. Blitz them in a mixer once cooled and transfer them to a heated kadai. Add some water and let it reduce to a thick gravy; season with garam masala and spices, add in the koftas and drizzle some cashew cream to finish it off.