Deccan Chronicle

Culinary Medley : Who Says Vegan Dishes Are Boring?

Deccan Chronicle| Sharmila Chand

Published on: October 4, 2021 | Updated on: October 4, 2021

Gourmet vegan food is breaking stereotypes with its healthy and indigenous ingredients

Chef Antonio's Love Triangle Pizza

Chef Antonio's Love Triangle Pizza

Vegan food is mainstream now. It is not boring, in fact, it is gourmet food with great preparation and presentation besides having loads of healthy quotient. If you think vegans have limited dining options, you can think again for chefs are trying incessantly to create outstanding vegan dishes in their kitchens. It is not about showing off their culinary talents but they genuinely feel it is time for them to create dishes that nourish, inspire, and satisfy diners according to their specific requirements.

From Turkish Kebabs to Moroccon Couscous, from exotic pizzas to delicious Croissants, not to miss French Rougaille and Tibetan Laphing, we present outstanding vegan dishes as curated by chefs with lot of care.

Avacado Aragula Salad With Togarashi Dressing
Bursting with an amalgamation of flavours, Avacado Aragula Salad is nutritious, lean, fresh and crunchy.
We add edamame to give it an enticing texture. Asparagus further enhances the flavour. Dried cranberries add colour and perk it up. We make a dressing with passion fruit puree, a little bit of olive oil and spice it up with togarashi. And then garnish it with cranberries and almond flakes. A palate pleasing salad which vegetarians and vegans can rejoice.
— Chef Sathiya Prakash, Executive Chef, Café E, DLF Emporio

Vegetarina Pizza
Why should vegan diners miss out on pizzas. So I have created the perfect vegan alternative for MLT’s classic Vegetarina pizza. The pizza comes loaded with an assortment of veggies and fresh herbs, a top ripe San Marzano tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. The finishing touch includes a deliciously smoky, mildly sweet white BBQ drizzle. The vegan option has a plant-based spread which replaces the need for mozzarella as well as the BBQ drizzle. With a soft, creamy texture that resembles the structure of cheese, this spread is designed to hit the palate in the same way that mozzarella would. Each bite oozes delectable flavour, and it’s 100% vegan. With strong smoky notes and a mildly sweet aftertaste, MLT’s plant-based spread makes the Vegetarina pizza any vegan’s gourmet delight!
— Chef Antonio, My Love Triangle

Saffron Couscous
A Morocon dish, Saffron Couscous with fruits and nuts, like cranberries, toasted almonds, apricots pomegranate and pinenuts. We serve with Romesco sauce and pickled red beets, drizzled with mint oil. We use fresh olive oil, cranberries, apricots, and mint which work well to give glorious flavours. It is a wholesome dish relished alongside grilled veggies. It’s cooked in olive oil, every ingredient used is sustainably sourced. Couscous in itself is a very good source of plant-based protein which makes it even more wonderful to include in everyday meals."
— Chef Utkarsh Bhalla, Brand Chef, Sly Granny

Vegan Shish Kebab
Inspired by my grandmother’s kitchen, I offer vegan version of the popular Adana Shish Kebab of Turkey. It is an alluring vegan take on the succulent shish kebab, using soy meat-based substitute with our in-house special spice blend and coated generously with tomato glaze.
— Chef Sareen Madhiyan, Executive Chef Punjab Grill

Rougaille with Himalayan Kidney Beans and Solan Mushrooms
Rougaille, a tomato and thyme based dish is a classic in the Mauritian cuisine. Originated in Southern France, primarily made with meats such as prawns and pork. We have given our own twist and made it a mountain delight using locally sourced Himachali ingredients such as Himachali Rajma, Galgal (Himachali Lemon) and Solan Mushrooms. It is ideal for vegan diet as we serve with Baby Spinach rice. A few drops of Galgal juice add a citrusy punch. Our diners like to have it with our special coconut chutney.
— Chinmaya Paranjpe, Executive Chef, Welcom hotel Tavleen, Chail, Himachal Pradesh

Loaded Vegetable Hummus
Believing in the concept of sharing is caring, this dish at Foxtrot serves you with a big portion of hummus topped with our take on the fatoush salad with pita and French fries. It gives you just the right amount of fiber and protein coming from chickpeas, which a vegan diner can relish.
— Chef Agnibh Mudi, Brand Chef, Foxtrot

Vegan Croissant
Traditionally croissants are made from butter laminated, leavened dough that results in a light, flaky & buttery texture. With a changing dietary landscape, there has been a lot of demand for Vegan croissants of late. This shift from butter lamination to plant-based fat lamination is a fairly easy switch considering the wide variety of plant-based butters now available across the market. Barring the change in this ingredient & omitting any eggs/dairy from the recipe the process remains exactly the same. As long as one is using high quality, low moisture butter, the result is a light & flaky pastry quite similar to a traditional croissant.
— Chef Ankita Sood, Executive Chef, The Artful Baker

Tibetan Laphing
Laphing is a spicy cold moong bean noodles from Tibet, usually had with chilli oil and chopped spring onions. At Green Mantis, we make cold moong bean wrappers with peanut-sesame sauce, frozen tomatoes & Tibetan coriander chutney. Smoked bamboo shoots add a mild smoky flavour, whereas golden fried onions & garlic with cilantro add crunch and freshness.
I tried this dish at the famous Majnu ka Teela. I found it exceptionally spicy, and that’s where I decided that I wanted to do my own version of the same. In my preparation, moong starch is isolated from the beans and is then steamed, spread thinly. Laphing wrappers are then rolled with spicy peanut-sesame sauce, frozen tomatoes, Tibetan coriander chutney. It is a well-balanced dish with regards to flavour and nutrition. Laphing is one of the favourites amongst our patrons."
— Chef Honey Mishra, Co-Founder, Green Mantis

Benefits of veganism
According to figures one third of our green house gases come from farming around rearing & slaughter of livestock. The health benefits that seem to be driving people to go vegan include weight loss and cancer prevention. Many people report reversal of diabetes and even cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund has also made links between meat consumption and cancer.
This has seen a huge surge of people turning to plant food only clocking a growth of 360 percent over the past decade according to the Vegan society. The trend in other parts of the world including the US is similar.
The medical research around vegan diets is so far supportive. Reduced levels of inflammation and better gut microbiota are reported in studies comparing vegetarian, omnivorous and vegan diets. Veganism versus vegetarian diets have not found lower bone densities.
According to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, a well planned vegan diet is healthy and nutritionally adequate. Diets must be rich in vegetables, fruits, pulses, lentils, nuts, seeds, high fibre grains. Vegans need reliable sources of Vitamin B-12 through fortified supplements.
All in all diets need to be customised & there are no simple solutions to be applied to all.
— Ishi Khosla, Clinical Nutritionist, Columnist and Author

The author, Sharmila Chand is a lifestyle, travel and food writer to be reached

About The Author

The writer is a food author.

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