5 Vegetarian Delights from India You Have to Try

Posted on: 8 February 2018

Did you know that India has more vegetarians than the rest of the world put together? India has amongst the lowest amount of meat consumed each year (approximately 4.4 kg per person annually). As a comparison, Australians consume an average of 111.5 kg of meat per person annually. There's even a growing movement in India to outlaw meat in some areas, such is the prevalence in vegetarianism in the country. With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that there is an abundance of delicious vegetarian dishes on the menu at your local Indian restaurant. These are truly traditional dishes, not cuisine that has been given a vegetarian makeover to suit international tastes. There are many sublime vegetarian specialties that you need to try the next time you go out for an Indian meal.

1. Malai Kofta

While the word kofta is an umbrella term used to describe meatballs in a variety of international cuisines, the malai kofta is a delicious Indian vegetarian version. Available in a variety of sauces, the malai kofta is essentially a vegetarian ball. It can be made from spiced potatoes, paneer, or bananas, or for a more exotic variety, try a malai kofta made from calabash.

2. Palak Paneer

Vegetarians are probably already familiar with this one. Paneer is cooked in a spinach purée, heavily flavoured with rich, fragrant garam masala.  

3. Rajma

This dish needed some help from Central America, since it didn't exist until the kidney bean was introduced to India from Mexico. It has since become an Indian staple, and is a type of spiced kidney bean stew. It's hearty, delicious, and totally vegetarian.

4. Chana Masala

Do you love the nutty taste of chickpeas? You're going to need to try chana masala. The chana is a smaller variety of chickpea with an even stronger flavour. In chana masala, it's simply stewed in a delicately spiced sauce, and due to the texture of the chana, it doesn't become mushy.

5. Hara Bhara Kebab

A traditional vegetarian street food in India, the truly tasty hara bhara kebab can also be served as patties with a range of accompaniments. Potatoes, peas, spinach, garlic, ginger and coriander are combined with cumin powder, garam masala, and amchur (a type of green mango powder). Patties are shaped and then deep fried.

Indian food offers amongst the best variety for vegetarians when dining out. Carnivores are unlikely to even miss meat!