Image source: Tempeh Do Pyaaza
Here at One Green Planet, we love Indian food. You can find some of our very favorite Indian recipes from the site here. We’ve also introduced you to five steps to make your Indian food taste even better and the health benefits of one of India’s favorite species, turmeric.
Today, we’re doing something a little different. We’re not just providing you with scrumptious recipes; we’ve taking you on a little tour of Indian cuisine, virtually that is, to better introduce you to India’s flavorful food.
For those that have not yet encountered Indian food before, Indian cooking might look a bit daunting as some believe it’s very spicy, difficult to prepare and even unhealthy. Indian food is exactly the opposite though.
Sure, certain dishes can be quite hot on the spice meter, but generally many Indian dishes are fairly mild. Plus, if you’re making them yourself you can adjust the spiciness of dishes to your liking.
Traditional Indian cuisine is also often easy to prepare, using simple, yet dynamic ingredients. And aside from a few “sinful” dishes, as there are in any culture, Indian food is very healthy. Recipes typically use an array of fresh vegetables and medicinal spices like garlic, ginger and turmeric. What’s more, a typical Indian menu usually covers all the food pyramid essentials—carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers—giving you a deliciously balanced meal.
Whether you’re new to Indian food or a die-hard fan, this all-day Indian menu full of tasty 100% vegan dishes, like winged bean salad and saag dip, is sure to please. Spend a “day” in India with our morning to evening healthy Indian menu.
Poha is a flattened variety of dehusked raw rice that is used in Indian and surrounding countries like Nepal and Bangladesh to make light foods and snacks. Poha is also served as a quick fast breakfast in many parts of India. Try out a tradition-inspired Indian poha breakfast with this savory recipe.
Health benefit: Curcumin, which is a substance in turmeric used in this dish and other Indian recipes, may help prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes, among other ailments and conditions.
Crunchy winged beans, also called goa bean, asparagus pea and winged pea, are grown in Indian and used in some but not all Indian regions. This recipe offers a good introduction to winged beans in the form of a tropically-flavored salad that includes fresh coconut and lime juice in addition to a little kick of red chili.
Health benefit: Winged beans are amazing sources of fiber, protein, B-vitamins, iron and manganese.
In many Indian restaurants, saag dip is unfortunately not veg-friendly. But, thanks to this recipe you can now fully enjoy this delicious dip if you’re a meatless eater. It’s chock full of flavorful ingredients like spinach, onion, garlic, ginger, olive oil, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, tofu and lemon juice. Serve it with crackers, pita chips or Indian naan for a quick snack.
Health benefit: Cumin helps aid digestion and improve immunity and memory while coriander treats swelling and high cholesterol.
In Western culture, curry is often a generic term applied to a number of Indian-inspired dishes that use the curry spice. Curry though is actually usually a mixture of five spices—mustard seed, cumin, red chili powder, turmeric and coriander. This means that curry-infused dishes are sure to be highly flavorful and healthy. Try your hand at this mung bean and root vegetable curry for a dinner-time feast. If you want to add more of a protein punch to your meal, then wipe up these tofu pakoras too.
Health benefit: Mung beans help detox your body and are rich in protein, B vitamins, iron and magnesium.
Halwa is Indian for pudding. Yet, what makes Indian puddings unique, and especially Gajar Halwa, is that root vegetables are often used. This recipe definitely doesn’t taste like veggies though—it does a fantastic job of satisfying your sweet tooth. Gajar Halwa is usually eaten during the colder months in India, which is why root vegetables, or in this case carrots, are its main ingredients. Other notable ingredients include cardamoms, dates and ground almonds.
Health benefit: Carrots are a vitamin A powerhouse and are also packed with vitamin K, fiber and some vitamin C.