Dubai: No meat, no problem! Who says vegetarian food has to be bland, boring and flavourless? Your meat-loving friends might argue that vegetarians have limited options or choices. But that's not true. Take the example of South Asian kitchens, where vegetables, legumes and more non-meat items are skillfully turned into mouth-watering dishes using the right spices and seasonings.
So, if you are planning to go vegetarian for health or environmental reasons and are looking for dishes beyond stir-fried vegetables and boiled chickpeas, look no further. We bring you 5 dishes that will leave your taste buds satisfied. And what's more, they all take under 15 minutes to cook!
If you are worried about replacing the chicken broth in your recipe, there is a helpful tip. Use the scraps of vegetables – like onion, broccoli, and celery to make a vegetarian broth. Even vegetable peels that you do not use in cooking, like potatoes, lettuce, parsnips, parsley, and squash, can be used. If using onion skins, note that the stock will turn slightly red or brown. If you don't want the colour to change, avoid onions. Even wilted or vegetables past their prime are great to add to vegetable stock.
Quick vegetable stock recipe: In a pan, heat oil or butter, add in the vegetable scraps and other parts, cook them until they are soft, transfer them to a big pot filled with water, add salt to taste and boil for 30 to 45 minutes. A vegetarian broth takes lesser 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 elevated traditional cuisine from China to the world and in this recipe shared with Gulf News food team, the chef uses Madras curry powder to make the curry sauce. He suggests substituting it with regular curry powder or tandoori masala and adding some cayenne and mustard powder, based on personal tolerance level. Pick cut vegetables of your choice from a supermarket and pre-cooked noodles if you wish to save time on chopping and blanching, and make these vegetarian noodles with this recipe.
Pakistani style kurkuri bhindi or crispy ladies' fingers
Okras have never tasted better. These crispy ladies' fingers make a perfect vegetarian appetiser and are quite a popular snack in Pakistan. Cut the okra lengthwise, rub spices, deep fry and garnish with spiced yoghurt to serve. Crunch munch and enjoy this dish with this recipe.
Jowar or Sorghum vermicelli sauté
This is an any-time-of-the-day meal. Make it for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. This vermicelli recipe by our founding editor has your back. It's a gluten-free, high-nutrient, low-calorie vegetarian meal from India. Try the recipe here.
Pazhamkanji or panta bhaat
This is a mouth-watering delicacy from Kerala that's made of leftovers, this is a unique recipe. The dish is not cooked, or no additives are added. To say, it's the most accurate form of leftover food. Call it the lip-smacking fermented rice from Kerala. Here is a traditional recipe to try.
Indian masala khichdi
This is a one-pot vegetarian dish the world fell in love with. A rice-lentil based dish cooked together, masala khichdi is a spiced-up version of the simple khichdi. Add vegetables of your choice, chillies, and a teaspoon of garam masala powder, and cook them together for a wholesome, nutritious meal. Even Birbal, the famed courtier in legendary Indian Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, had his own recipe for this dish.
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