Vegetarian delights- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Navratri literally means ‘nine nights.’ It is a time of devotion, spirituality, fasting and feasting. During this period, many individuals choose to abstain from consuming non-vegetarian food and even some grains. Instead, they turn to a variety of vegetarian dishes that are not only delicious but also align with the religious significance of the festival. Let’s explore the rich tapestry of vegetarian food during Navratri.

Rizwan Khader, Corporate Chef of Telangana Spice Kitchen, boasts a culinary journey spanning 17 years and passionately highlights some exceptional options that may leave non-vegetarians pleasantly surprised.

Yam Ki Galouti / Kamal Kadi ki Galouti
A true masterpiece in the world of kebabs, these delicacies offer a texture and flavour that are second to none. The meticulous cooking of yam or lotus stems achieves a melt-in-the-mouth consistency, potentially surpassing non-vegetarian alternatives. As Chef Khader reveals, the secret lies in the precise blend of spices and cooking techniques. He emphasised his first encounter with ‘Yam Ki Galouti’ in Lucknow, where the delicate balance of spices and the yam’s melting texture left an indelible mark.

Bhunne Makai ke Kebab
Corn lovers, rejoice! These kebabs offer a revelation with their smoky and slightly sweet flavour, created by the use of roasted corn and spices. Chef Khader’s introduction to ‘Bhunne Makai ke Kebab’ in Punjab was serendipitous, but the extraordinary taste was unforgettable. This dish is elevated to gourmet delight status.

Tandoori Soya Chaap / Soya Chaap Ki Makhani 
Chef Khader’s exploration of Delhi’s street food scene inspired him to create ‘Soya Chaap Ki Makhani’ in his restaurant, blending traditional flavours with modern techniques. Soya chaap, when marinated and cooked to perfection, can convincingly mimic the texture and taste of meat. The craftsmanship involved in imparting smokiness and the rich, creamy makhani sauce make these dishes exceptional. 

Kathal Ki Biryani
The humble jackfruit transforms into a royal feast in this biryani. Its ability to absorb flavours and meaty texture, combined with aromatic spices, make this dish a vegetarian delight that competes with its non-vegetarian counterparts.

Mochar Chop (Banana Flower)
Banana flower, a lesser-known ingredient, astonishes as ‘mochar chop’ with its meaty texture and a burst of flavours. It’s a true representation of how vegetarian dishes can be both unique and exceptional. 
Chef Khader encountered ‘Kathal Ki Biryani’ and ‘Mochar Chop’ during his travels in eastern India, where the use of jackfruit and banana flower as meat substitutes opened his eyes to the diversity of vegetarian cuisine.

Chef Meet Shah of Gaurang’s Kitchen is a master, crafting one-of-a-kind vegetarian delicacies that weave magic with his expert hands and seasoned experience. Among his exceptional innovations, he selects two dishes that may outperform non-veg.

Vegetarian Haleem
Gaurang’s Kitchen’s Vegetarian Haleem is a revelation, particularly during the sacred month of Ramadan. Traditionally, haleem is a dish celebrated by meat enthusiasts, leaving vegetarians curious about the fuss. Chef Meet Shah, however, cracked the code and unveiled a vegetarian version that not only stands toe-to-toe with its meaty counterpart but also has a distinct charm of its own. Made using beaten soya, this vegetarian haleem boasts a texture and flavour profile that has been endorsed even by die-hard carnivores. This Vegetarian Haleem transcends expectations, proving that innovation and tradition can beautifully coexist on a plate.

Galouti Kofta
Chef Meet Shah’s Galouti Kofta is crafted with a blend of paneer and cheese, resulting in a soft, luscious texture that rivals the traditional kebabs. What sets this dish apart is not just its remarkable similarity to its meaty counterpart but also the way it’s served — in a sumptuous gravy that elevates the taste to new heights.

The Galouti Kofta isn’t just a dish; it’s a triumph of vegetarian gastronomy. It proves that, in the hands of a visionary chef, vegetarian cuisine can surpass the expectations of even the most discerning non-vegetarian palates.

Whether you’re fasting or simply looking to explore the diversity of Indian vegetarian cuisine, Navratri provides a delightful opportunity to savour a wide range of flavours and textures. So, during this auspicious festival, embrace the joy of wholesome vegetarian delights.

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