As the holidays are upon us, houses are covered in glimmering lights that add opulence and warmth; greens and reds are in abundance, and the enticing smell of gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa are dancing around. It indeed is the most wonderful time of the year.
Amidst all the joy is every vegan’s nightmare - a feast filled with feathers and fowls. Here is a hearty list of 10 traditionally vegan dishes that will brush away your sweat, and allow the festive season to pervade in all its joyous essence.
A supremely indulgent snack that is indigenous to the southern states of the country. Typically made by deep frying rice flour or dal flour blended with spices, it makes for a very satisfying snack. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Christmas feast, but it is delicious enough to spread warmth on a cold Christmas morning.
Roasted potatoes are key to a Christmas feast. Starchy, sweet or somewhere in between, whatever be your choice of potatoes, they’re undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser. They are incredibly crisp and crunchy on the outside, with centres that are creamy and packed with flavour. Simple, scrumptious and supremely filling.
The symbol of Halloween makes for an indulgent Christmas dish. Tender, silky and sweet, it’s incredibly delicious and full of flavour. The spicy-sweet flavours and the alluring fragrance of the dish are transformative. What more could you ask for in a Christmas dinner?
There’s nothing better than a bowl of nourishing comfort-food that is incredibly rich and impeccably delicious. The appealing mix of a foray of spices, coconut cream and flavourful vegetables would knock the socks off any turkey or chicken. Pair it with some rice and you are sorted for your Christmas dinner.
COCONUT MILK RICE
The perfect dish to accompany your Christmas feast. It is creamy, aromatic and balanced, and gives a little lift to your Christmas dinner. A big pile of this makes one hell of a centrepiece. And if someone dares to ask you “What do vegans eat?” shove a spoonful into their mouth and watch their eyes widen with joy.
This coastal Indian food is eaten with curries, stews, stir-fries or on its own. These warm, soft and fluffy steamed cakes are identical to the Southern-favourite idlis, and are made with fermented coconut. They act as sponges to absorb the rich broth of the stew or curry and unapologetically elevates your Christmas dinner.
KAJU KATLIMouth-watering, wholesome and tempting, the humble kaju katli is simply irresistible. They are surprisingly sophisticated with a warm hit of cardamom and crunchy toasted almonds. Sweet, chewy and satisfying. Perfection. Note: If your recipe calls for ghee, substitute it with a plant-based alternative like oil.
A glorious staple in south Indian festivities, it is made by deep frying rice flour and jaggery. They are deliciously crispy on the outside, and are pleasingly sweet and soft on the inside, making it impossible to stop at one. But because they’re not too huge, it is okay to have many in one sitting. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
Made from many layers of coconut oozing with syrup, it’s terribly hard for people with a sweet tooth to rid themselves of a love affair with this delicacy. The freshness of the coconut, when mixed with sugar, creates a divine combination of light, soft and sweet. It’s a Christmas treat you shouldn’t miss.
Red wine and spices are indeed a magical combination. From straight-out-of-a-soda- bottle sweet to warningly spice, this luscious drink takes endless forms. A centuries-old warm punch, it's a winter favourite across the world. Since each place has its own spin on it, there are numerous ways in which it can be relished.
With the festive season being synonymous with merry and joy, embrace everyone you love and everything you cherish with a Christmas that sacrifices meat and dairy without sacrificing the traditional decadence of the festival.
This article was contributed by Janardhan Pokala. Coming from the world of advertising, he's now on a quest to spread the message of veganism, compassion and love. He enjoys cycling, lifting and sitting by himself with a book and tea. Check out his work here.