Dubai: No meat, no problem! Who says vegetarian food has to be bland, boring and tasteless? Your meat-loving friends might argue that vegetarians have limited options or choices. But that is not true. Take the example of South Asian cuisines, where vegetables, legumes and more non-meat products are expertly turned into mouth-watering dishes with the right spices and seasonings.
So, if you’re looking to go vegetarian for health or environmental reasons and are looking for dishes beyond stir-fried vegetables and cooked chickpeas, look no further. We bring you 5 dishes that will leave your taste buds satisfied. And what’s more, they all take less than 15 minutes to cook!
If you’re concerned about substituting chicken stock in your recipe, there’s a helpful tip. Use the leftover vegetables – such as onion, broccoli and celery to make a vegetarian stock. Even vegetable peels that you don’t use in cooking, such as potatoes, lettuce, parsnips, parsley and pumpkin, can be used. If using onion skins, keep in mind that the stock will turn a little red or brown. If you don’t want the color to change, avoid onions. Even wilted or past their prime are great to add to the vegetable stock.
Quick vegetable stock recipe: Heat oil or butter in a pan, add the vegetable scraps and other parts, cook until soft, transfer to a large pot filled with water, add salt to taste and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. A vegetarian broth takes less time to make compared to chicken-based ones.
Chef Ken Homs curry rice noodles with vegetables
A vegetarian option of the popular dish – Singaporean rice noodles, can be made in less than 15 minutes. American-Chinese chef Ken Hom brought lofty traditional dishes from China to the world, and in this recipe, shared with the Gulf News food team, the chef uses Madras curry powder to make the curry sauce. He suggests replacing it with regular curry powder or tandoori masala and adding some cayenne pepper and mustard powder, based on personal tolerance. Choose sliced vegetables of your choice from a supermarket and pre-cooked noodles if you want to save time chopping and blanching, and make these vegetarian noodles with this recipe.
Pakistani Style Kurkuri Bhindi or Crispy Lady Fingers
Okras have never tasted so good. These crispy lady fingers make a perfect vegetarian appetizer and are quite a popular snack in Pakistan. Cut the okra lengthwise, rub with spices, deep-fry and garnish with spiced yogurt to serve. Crunch munch and enjoy this dish with this recipe.
Jowar or Sorghum vermicelli sauté
This is a meal at any time of the day. Make it for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. This vermicelli recipe from our founding editor is ready for you. It is a gluten-free, nutritious, low-calorie vegetarian meal from India. Try the recipe here.
Pazhamkanji or panta bhaat
This is a delicious Kerala delicacy made from leftovers, this is a unique recipe. The dish is undercooked, or no additives have been added. To say, it is the most accurate form of leftover food. Call it the lip-smacking fermented rice from Kerala. Here’s a traditional recipe to try.
Indian masala khichdi
This is a vegetarian one-pot dish that the world fell in love with. A rice-lentil-based dish cooked together, masala khichdi is a spiced version of the simple khichdi. Add vegetables of your choice, chillies and a teaspoon of garam masala powder and cook them together for a healthy, nutritious meal. Even Birbal, the famous courtier at the court of the legendary Indian Mughal emperor Akbar, had his own recipe for this dish.
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