Vegan Eating Guide | MF Guide

By Yamini Walia December 20, 2018
Vegans have a lot of food options in Mumbai!

Veganism or vegetarianism? Most people believe that both the terms mean the same thing. If you shook your head to that, then this article is meant for you. Let me explain the difference. 

A vegan avoids meat, poultry and seafood just like a vegetarian but they refrain from consuming dairy products like milk, cream and eggs as well. So, no cheese, no butter, no curd and no cream. Now, that seems restrictive but all you need is better meal planning and it would be the easiest thing to do. 

If you live in India, the perception is that it’s hard to adapt the vegan lifestyle. Turns out it is way easier than before. Here are my recommendations of vegan-friendly places in the city and a recipe that you could try at home.

Yogisattva

Situated in Khar, Yogisattva offers both savoury and sweet vegan options. Moreover, they also serve vegan cheese (made with cashew nuts) and trust me, that’s absolutely yum! Their vegan pizzas are loaded with veggies but it’s their Vegan and Gluten Free Quinoa and Chia Bread with Vegan Cheese and Smoked Paprika Avocado that is the clear winner!

Vegan and Gluten Free Quinoa and Chia Bread with Vegan Cheese and Smoked Paprika Avocado

Vegan and Gluten Free Quinoa and Chia Bread with Vegan Cheese and Smoked Paprika Avocado

Jamjar Diner

Honestly, JJ’s Superfood Smoothie Bowl is so hearty and wholesome, you don’t need to be vegan to order this at Jamjar Diner for breakfast. Smoothie bowls are the trendiest healthy eats at the moment, and you can trust Jamjar to serve a consistent, light portion with earthy layers of texture and gentle, mild flavours.

Jamjar Diner's Smoothie Bowls

Jamjar Diner’s Smoothie Bowls

 

Neighbourhood Stall

The biggest concern that people have about vegans is that so many of their food options are painfully limited. Once you actually get into it, you realise that the window is actually wide open; specifically, a window that opens to the glorious Indian street food scene. Go, have a golgappa. 

Golgappas are vegan! Image Source

Golgappas are vegan! Image Source

Papacream

Yet another vegan misconception resolved. The doors to ice creams are still open! Okay, sorbet is different from ice cream, but it’s a classy substitute, alright! Drop in at Papacream and try their Spicy Guava Sorbet, a twist and a step away from the boring old raspberry sorbets.

The Nutcracker

Nutcracker is hands-down one of the coziest places in town and nobody can say otherwise. Usually, burgers come off as meaty, indulgent food with loud, messy personalities, but Nutcracker’s vegan Soya Spinach Jalapeno and Black Bean Burgers make for light, easy plates.

Vegan food at The Nutcracker. Image Source

Vegan food at The Nutcracker. Image Source

Farmer’s Cafe

Pizza. Spaghetti. Cake. Pudding. Whatever you’re dreaming of, Farmer’s Cafe has got you covered with their vegan range! They got vegan options for all the sections on their menu and they’re all about making unhealthy food healthy and delicious. My personal favourite is their Rainbow Pizza and Chocolate Almond Pudding. 

Farmer’s Cafe. Image Source

Farmer’s Cafe. Image Source

Sequel Bistro and Juice Bar

When you browse for vegan food online, you will stumble across Sequel Bistro and Juice Bar and rightly so. Their Avolicious Smoothie, Buddha Bowl and Chocolate Lust are favourites here. What’s even more interesting is their Vegan Bacon that is made of…well, you’ll have to head there and find out. 

Vegan Food at Sequel. Image Source

Vegan Food at Sequel. Image Source

Bastian

The most popular seafood restaurant in the city has vegan options? Yes it does and all their options are as impressive as you would imagine. For a place known for cheesecakes, one thing that you can’t miss here is ‘Not Cheesecake’, their decadent chocolate tart.

Vegan food at Bastian. Image Source

Vegan food at Bastian. Image Source

Kitchen Garden by Suzette

If you’re wondering where you should head out for a wholesome vegan breakfast, Kitchen Garden by Suzette is the IT place. Their Overnight Turmeric & Almond Milk Oats is the breakfast special that you would visit them again and again for. Well, that’s what I do!

Vegan food at Kitchen Garden. Image Source

Vegan food at Kitchen Garden. Image Source

Recipes to try at home:

Another misconception that’s associated with veganism is that you can’t make Indian cuisine vegan-friendly. That’s certainly not true and this recipe is the perfect example:

Vegan Palak Paneer by Vaishali

Palak Paneer is almost vegan – all you need to do is replace Paneer with Tofu!

Vegan Palak Paneer. Image Source

Vegan Palak Paneer. Image Source

Ingredients 

  • 450 gms of super firm tofu, cut into six pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (adjust up or down based on your taste)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Optional, but I strongly recommend it.
  • 450 gms of frozen spinach, thawed and pureed (use two large bunches of fresh spinach if that’s what you have. Blanch the spinach for a couple of minutes in boiling water and then puree)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp cashew cream: optional but nice. (Make this by blending 1 tbsp raw cashews with 2-3 tbsp of water)

Method:

  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Place the slices of tofu on the skillet in a single layer and cook both sides until lightly golden. When cool, cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Set it aside. 
  2. Heat the oil. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and, when they start to color, add the cumin seeds. As they start to darken, add the onions and the garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions become golden-brown.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste, saute for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders and mix well. Cover and let the tomatoes cook until they are very soft and pulpy.
  4. Add the kasoori methi, if using, and mix well. Add the spinach puree, mix, and let the sauce come to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking the spinach for 10 minutes. Add some vegetable stock or water if it looks too thick, but don’t add too much liquid at this point– you want the spinach to cook thoroughly and lose any raw flavor.
  5. Add the garam masala, cubes of tofu and salt. Mix well and let it all simmer another two minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the cashew paste. The cashew paste adds a rich, luxurious finish, but if you want a nut-free recipe, it’s completely optional.
  7. Serve piping hot.

Writing this guide definitely helped me understand the concept of veganism even better. If you’re a vegan and found this useful, I am glad I could help!