Indian Vegetarian Recipes

Indian Vegetarian Recipes

The main stable of the dining table in India is its extensive repertoire of vegetarian dishes. With millions of diners having perfected the cuisine over generations, it is hardly surprising that vegetarian cooking in India is not a grim exercise in dining, but a rich exploration of the variety of Indian cuisine.

Seasonal vegetables - like Punjab's sarson ka saag (curried Mustard greens) with makki ki roti (Indian maize bread) for example - inspire cooking. Paneer (cottage cheese) and mushrooms are vegetarian ingredients used for party foods as a replacement for meats, and home food generally tends to be lighter than party food, though the method of cooking might be almost similar.

Regional differences in food are often so great that they make for entirely different cuisines. What is common are the raw ingredients, the vegetables and meats, and the spices. But, while the greater part of India is vegetarian, there are other regions where meat and chicken are considered an essential part of the daily meal. In Bengal, fish is an obsession and is referred to as jal toru, an underwater vegetable.

The main meal is eaten with either rice or roti, and includes at least one lentil curry called daal, a selection of vegetarian servings, a meat, chicken or fish fry, a sampling of chutneys and pickles, and dahi (yoghurt). Papad is served with meals that may be sometimes accompanied by lassi (buttermilk) - which helps to induce sleep on a warm afternoon!. Desserts are not standard. Sweets, of course, are served with almost any Indian meal, and may take the form of a South Indian halwa, a delicate Lucknavi kheer or light Bengali sweets.

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