Diwali is almost here, and as is the case during most other festivals in India, the craving for ghee-topped mithai takes centre stage. However, many have in the last couple of months ditched dairy products and opted for a completely vegan diet. But, what if we told you your Diwali decadence need not be comprised?
Shifting to veganism is believed to aid overall health and well-being. “From improving heart health and reducing risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure to overall nutritional enhancement, benefits of vegan foods are aplenty,” notes Rajesh Wadhwa, executive chef, Taj Palace, New Delhi.
While the common assumption is that meal options are limited in a vegan diet, such isn’t the case. Mumbai-based chef Guntas Sethi Bhasin believes the key is to find suitable alternatives: “It’s fairly simple to switch to veganism. If we make wiser choices, our traditional food can be easily made vegan. We just need to replace the ingredients with plant-based alternatives.”
Today, on World Vegan Day, we bring to you some exquisite dairy-free mithai options to try this festive season.
Vegan Gudh ke Laddoo
[Recipe by chef Rajesh Wadhwa]
Ingredients: 250g whole wheat flour, 250g jaggery, 30g each of almonds and cashew, 50g grated coconut, 15g raisins, 200g non-dairy clarified butter or plant-based ghee, 5g cardamom powder, 20g poppy seeds
-Heat the plant-based ghee/butter in a pan. One by one, fry the almonds, raisin and cashews, and set aside. Once cool, coarsely grind the nuts. Meanwhile, dry roast coconut and poppy seeds. Set aside.
– To the pan, add wheat flour and allow it to roast. Once it has been roasted well, add jaggery, crushed nuts and combine well.
-Remove from the heat, make ball-shaped laddoos and serve or store in an air-tight container.
[Recipe by chef Guntas Sethi Bhasin]
Ingredients: 500 unseeded dates, 2tbsp poppy seeds, 40g muskmelon seeds, 30g each of almonds, cashews and pistachio, 1.5tbsp of coconut oil (to sauté), ½tbsp coconut oil (to grease), 2tbsp poppy seeds and 20g pistachio (to coat the rolls)
– In a mixer jar, add seedless dates, grind it and keep it aside.
– Roast poppy seeds in pan for two minutes and keep it aside. Then, add muskmelon seeds, almonds, cashews and pistachio to the pan. Roast for two to three minutes and keep it aside.
– Take another pan, add coconut oil and ground dates to it. Stir it properly. Add the roasted dry fruits and seeds, and mix well.
-Take a wooden board with a flat surface. Apply coconut oil over the surface. Place the mixture on it and roll into an elongated circle.
-Spread the remaining poppy seeds and pistachio over the surface. Roll the dates mixture over it to get it coated with poppy seeds and pistachio. After that, cut the roll into two halves.
-Now, take parchment papers and roll both the halves into the papers. Pack both sides of the paper and refrigerate for one hour.
– Remove the paper, cut the rolls into equal pieces and serve!
[Recipe by chef Ranveer Brar]
Ingredients: 2cups puffed rice, 5-6 almonds and cashew nut chopped, ¾ cup jiggery (chopped), 1tsp fennel seeds, 1tsp black pepper powder, a pinch of salt, ¼cup dry grated coconut, dry rose petals (for garnish)
-In a kadhai, add puffed rice and dry roast on low flame, till the murmura turns crisp. Keep aside.
-In a large kadhai, add jaggery. Keep the flame on low and stir continuously until the jaggery melts and later turns frothy.
-Add fennel seeds, black pepper powder and mix it well. Check the consistency by dropping syrup into a bowl of water; it should form a soft ball.
-Add salt, dry coconut, almonds, cashew nuts and mix well.
-Turn off the flame and add dry roasted murmura. Mix until the mixture is well combined and jaggery syrup is coated well.
-Grease your hand and prepare laddoo, when the mixture is still warm.
Coconut Pancakes with Besan Halwa Mousse
[Recipe by chef Nishant Choubey]
Ingredients for halwa: 50g besan, 50g coconut oil, 500ml coconut milk, 200g sugar, ¼tsp green cardamom powder, 30ml coconut cream 30 ml
For pancake: 500ml coconut milk, 30g coconut milk powder, 30g sugar, 50 maida, 1tsp baking powder
– Cook besan with coconut oil in a deep dish. To this, add coconut milk, sugar and green cardamom powder. Mix well.
– Next, add coconut cream and whip well till you get a mousse-like texture
– Meanwhile, mix maida with coconut milk powder, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Let it ferment for one hour.
– Pour a ladle full of this batter on a heated non-stick skillet and cook on both the sides.
– Place pancakes on a plate, top with a dollop of besan halwa mousse and serve hot.
[Recipe by Rubal Pupneja, sous chef – Hotel Samrat, ITDC]
Ingredients: 300g pistachio (peeled), 150g sugar, 80-100 ml water, ½tsp green cardamom powder, 2-3tbsp almond flour, 20g almonds and chopped pistachios (for garnish)
– Slightly dry roast the pistachio in a pan over low heat. Keep it aside and once cool, powder it. Sieve this pistachio powder.
– In a pan, take sugar and add water to it. Cook till the sugar syrup reaches one-string consistency. Gradually add pistachio powder to it and keep stirring, to avoid lumps. Cook for around five minutes over low flame.
– Add almond flour and cardamom powder to this mix and cook for another two to three minutes.
– Once it reaches a thick consistency, remove it from the flame. With a spatula, keep mixing (cut and fold method) and once cool, spread the mixture over a butter paper.
– Sprinkle chopped pista and almond over it, and cut into desired shape.
Author tweets @srinidhi_gk