How to start stocking your vegan pantry
Here are some meat and dairy substitutes you’ll want to make note of.
The idea of quitting meat, poultry, and dairy for good, or even temporarily, can be daunting for many. Even so, in the past few years, even those who grew up as hardcore non-vegetarians have taken to veganism. With personal health and environmental concerns, being the driving force behind most people switching over to being vegan, it might be safe to say that this is not a trend, but a movement.
“I have personally been following a plant-based since 2015, and although it may seem like a trend now, it’s here to stay. The pandemic has been a big wake up call for many, in terms of how important personal health is. Eating in a manner that’s in sync with nature and participating in cooking your own food, have been habits that several people tried to inculcate during the lockdown. This led to a greater awareness.” says Raveena Taurani, Founder, CEO & Head Chef at Yogisattva, Mumbai. She added that those who visit her café have been receptive towards plant-based foods and expressed genuine interest in looking after their own health.
If you’re looking to give the vegan lifestyle a shot, this might be helpful. We have collated a list of increasingly popular and nutritious meat, poultry and dairy substitutes and you might want to take notes.
Lentils need no introduction to Indians. A classic ingredient that features in cuisines from across the country, lentils can be cooked in more ways than one. Turn them into burger patties or use them in salads, there’s many ways to go about it. We especially love the lentil pancakes, for which all you need is lentils, carrots, spinach mixed with your favourite spices.
Healthy, earthy and flavourful, who doesn’t love mushrooms? The fleshy fungus is a crowd pleaser and rightly so, because of their umami-rich flavour. Considered one of the best replacements for meat, the versatile mushroom can be used in everything from sauces and curries to stir fries and stroganoffs.
A staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, tofu is the ideal substitute for meats like pork, chicken and seafood. It’s made from soybeans, making it naturally high in protein and calcium. Tofu’s reputation for being soft and bland has one simple reason: we aren’t familiar with the right way to cook it. The best way to enjoy it is to press it for at least 30 minutes and cut it into cubes, then add it to a pan with oil and brown on each side for 1-2 minutes for about 15 minutes.
The stock from soaked chickpeas can be vigorously churned to give you a whipped-egg-like froth, which can be used in dishes like vegan chocolate mousse where chickpea froth, sugar and high-quality chocolate are the only major ingredients.
These egg substitutes are made with ground flax seeds and water and honestly, not as bad as people make them out to be. While they cannot be made into omelettes or bhurjis, they are the perfect substitute for bread and dessert recipes. Our favourite recipe to use flax eggs in are brownies, where the richness of the chocolate is enough to mask any residual taste of the flaxseeds.