Indian vegan or vegetarian food builds up flavors – The Denver Post

Are you considering eating more plants in lieu of meats or fish? May I propose that you cook Indian?

I merely guess, but isn’t a chief barrier to entry into vegetarian or vegan cooking that it isn’t flavorful enough? Or, to use an apt word here, is eating plants deemed not as toothsome as eating meat or fish?

Indian cooking simply ignores answering those questions. Because it can.

In its manifest variety, Indian cookery is some of the more appetizing and savory cooking with which I am familiar. (Truth be told, it is my favored form of cooking. Its comestibles are the largest section of my pantry.) Plus, perhaps above all cuisines that I know, it particularly lends itself to the cooking of plant-based foods.

While we think of the Indian people as the consummate vegetarians, note that close to 70 percent of Indians eat meat or fish. Vegetarianism in India is more a cultural, even an inherited, facet of one’s life, unlike here where customarily it is a choice.

India excels at recipes for plant-based cooking because it has devised nearly unlimited variations on — well, let’s devour the fact — anything to eat. That alone is a helpful lesson for other cuisines that might seek to augment or vary a plant-based diet.

The panoply of the Indian pantry is but a list of enticing, heady, exotic and, yes, toothsome tastes, aromas and textures. By and large, Indian cooking does what most delicious food preparations do: it builds up flavors, layering them atop one another.

It also uses time in a happy way. Many preparations begin the day ahead (marinating something, for example). Then, to cook a dish almost always takes a while, one step leading to another, the patience of progress preceding perfection.

And more than in many other cuisines (save, perhaps, other Asian cuisines), Indian cooking begins with flavors that pack a purposeful punch. Turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, chile pepper, mustard seed and the Indian “trinity” of onions, garlic and ginger — you’ll likely find all of these (often more) in merely a single savory Indian vegan or vegetarian recipe.

In order to prepare vegan Indian dishes, as distinct from those vegetarian, you need make only a few adjustments to your kitchen and cooking.