One of the reasons Indian food is so popular is because it has a lot of options for people who try to eat healthily, or follow vegetarian or vegan diets. If you’re unfamiliar with Indian dining, ordering dishes that are in another language may make you nervous, so to help you order with confidence we’ve put together a handy guide with popular vegan dishes of India and what their names mean.
If you like fried rice at Asian restaurants, you’ll love Biryani, which is essentially India’s version. Rice and vegetables are seasoned with a flavorful mix of spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, and even mint. Remember to ask them to fry the dish in oil, instead of ghee (butter).
Dal is a thick stew or dish made with lentils and is typically vegetarian as long as you make sure it has not been prepared or served with ghee (butter). For instance, Little Indian of Denver serves two different dal dishes, a dal soup, and Dal Makhni, which is lentils with garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices.
Indian cuisine offers a lot of vegetable dishes, and one of the healthiest Indian dishes is Alu Gobi, which is just potatoes and cauliflower cooked with spices. One of the main spices in this dish, turmeric, gives the food a yellow color, while ginger, coriander, cumin, garlic, and onion combine with the turmeric to provide the plate with a distinctive flavor.
Many of the healthiest Indian dishes include spinach, or “saag.” Saag Chole is another favorite dish that we serve at Little India of Denver. In this case, the spinach is pureed and cooked with spices such as cardamom, ginger, and masala, creating a delicious creamy texture that balances out the chickpeas.
One name you’ll see often repeated throughout the menu at any Indian restaurant is masala. Masala is simply a traditional blend of spices used in many dishes of India, in this case in chickpea dish. The chickpeas are cooked in a tomato-based masala sauce that is made with cumin, coriander, chili powder, and turmeric.
Vegans needn’t give up bread at an Indian restaurant. While naan is traditionally made with yogurt, making it off-limits for vegans, roti is a vegan flatbread that will pair perfectly with your food.
Indian Cuisine for Vegans
India’s many vegetable dishes and emphasis on flavor make it easy to incorporate the cuisine into a vegan diet. If you’re ready to try our vegan-friendly foods, stop into either our Sixth Avenue or Downing Street location and find out why Little India consistently holds the title for best Indian food in Denver.
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