Vegan Indian food is surprisingly easy to come by. Traditionally a very vegetarian-friendly nation, India is well-known for its aromatic spices and flavour combinations. Taking the animal products out of Indian food doesn’t take anything away from, what I truly believe, is the greatest cuisine on the planet. Here’s my guide to vegan Indian food, including cooking it at home and dining out.
I am super passionate about food, especially when it comes to trying new things and mixing different flavours. However, I am by no means an expert and I am certainly not an Indian food connoisseur. I focus on making tasty, filling and easy dishes that I can make for Craig and take leftovers for packed lunches. Although it’s always delicious, vegan Indian food can sometimes be a minefield so here’s the some lessons I’ve learnt, and some tips for keeping Indian food delicious just without the cruelty!
Vegan Indian Takeaways
There are several things you need to keep an eye out for when ordering a vegan Indian take away, especially if you’re not ordering from a vegetarian or vegan-specific restaurant. In Newcastle, we are very fortune to have a completely vegan Indian take away, Karma Kitchen (pictured above), which is based in the city’s famous Bigg Market. From Tofu Tikka Massala to South Indian Kathal Jackfruit Curry, Karma Kitchen has absolutely nailed vegan Indian food. A little known fact about Karma Kitchen is that you can actually order from the vegan menu in their restaurant, Taj Palace – which is awesome if your family eat meat and you are sick of compromising for a meal out!
Anyway, back to takeaways. If you are ordering a vegan Indian takeaway, be aware the ghee (butter) is prevalent in vegan cooking. You will often find ghee on naan breads and in pilau rice, so you must double check before ordering these seemingly innocent items as they can often contain dairy products!
In addition, curries can often contain ghee – particularly those with creamy sauces. Many restaurants will mention in the description if it is “cooked in butter”, however that’s not the say that all items containing butter will tell you!
Vegan Indian Takeaways We Love
- Chana Masala (Chickpeas)
- Tarka Dhal (Lentils)
- Tofu Tikka Masala
- Tofu Saag (A great vegan replacement for saag paneer!)
- Anything with jackfruit!
Cooking Vegan Indian Food
When cooking vegan Indian food, it’s super important to make sure you have a great selection of herbs and spices in your cupboard. My personal favourites include turmeric (literally a super-food, check out its health benefits at Nutritionfacts.org!), cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper.
When buying spices in the supermarket, don’t forget to check the World Foods aisle. Often they will sell large bags of spices you can use to refill your spice shakers (and use less plastic as a result – double win!), plus they can be cheaper than buying a new jar every time.
There are so many fantastic herbs and spices out there, and most of the time I have no idea what to do with them so I often buy spice mixes that I can easily chuck in with a block or tofu or tin of chickpea. My favourites at the moment are Garam Masala and Tandoori Spice, both of which I found in the World Foods section of Morrisons.
Whether you’re interested in cooking vegan Indian food, or you’re just wondering about how to vegan-ise your favourite takeaway, hopefully this blog post helped you on your vegan journey! I’d love to hear about your favourite vegan Indian food in the comments below.