Vegan cooking is easier than you think. You don’t have to be a professional chef to prepare meals your whole family will enjoy. These South Asian-inspired dishes will show you the way.
Great for your health, great for the environment, great for animals and your taste buds don’t even have to suffer!
For this dish, we’re throwing two twists at you: a) we’re adding a South Asian twist on a classic Italian recipe and b) we’re making it all vegan. South Asian spices really change the flavour profile: heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a sauce pot and then add a few pinches of cumin seeds power, dried fenugreek leaves, mustard seeds, coriander seeds powder and turmeric powder. When the mustard seeds start popping, add your tomato sauce and a tablespoon of black strap molasses (for a little sweetness and extra iron). Now time to make your cashew “ricotta.” Soak about half a cup of cashews in boiling hot water for 30 minutes satta matka.
When soft, drain the water and add the nuts to a blender with some water, salt, nutritional yeast and a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Remove from your blender and add a bag of soy crumbles and shredded vegan cheese to your nut mixture. Now layer your components (sauce-noodles-cashew “cheese”) in a baking dish, top with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, oregano, salt and vegan cheese, and cook in a 350 degree oven for one hour. This is one lasagna you won’t be able to stop eating!
Butter chicken is one of the most popular dishes at any Indian restaurant around the world. It’s not hard to see why: tender chicken pieces practically melt into the popular dish’s creamy, rich, aromatic curry sauce. But, surprisingly, you don’t need chicken to capture this dish’s magic. While most tofu recipes will have you meticulously cube your ‘fu, for irresistible Butter Tofu, with tofu tasting a bit like a chicken-paneer hybrid, you should tear your block of beancurd into small “chicken-like” chunks. Once torn, carefully toss your tofu pieces in corn starch and salt and then splash with a neutral oil and cook on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. While the tofu is cooking, fry up a medium size onion. When soft, add your spices: a teaspoon of curry powder, a tablespoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of coriander powder, a tablespoon of garam masala powder and a pinch of salt. Once your spices have opened up, add a tablespoon of tomato sauce and a can of coconut milk. When your tofu finishes cooking, add to your curry and serve with rice or fresh (and vegan) naan. This tofu will trick your tastebuds. Is it chicken? Is it paneer? No, but it is delicious (and good for you too).
There you have it. With some clever substitutions and the right spices, you can pull off animal product-free, restaurant-quality, South Asian-inspired comfort food at home.