World Vegan Day is right before Deepavali/Diwali, this year on the 2nd or 3rd of World Vegan Month. I just discovered Richa Hingle’s new e-book (proceeds going to Help Animals India and a sanctuary) while googling extensively for this post, looks full of amazing, with mind blowing recipes like ‘Amaranth burfi‘ (Morog-flour fudge bars). I’m looking for the flour here, the seed was one of my staples and the greens are so good.
I’ll start with a few vegan recipe links, to sweeten this post before the serious talk 😉
I don’t know one savoury snack made on this festival that isn’t vegan, sweet South Indian ones (usually with rice flour, green mung flour, some aren’t even fried or are fried in oil) are vegan, traditional North Indian modaks and laddus are too. One needs to make sure the sugar isn’t processed with bone meal (jaggery or brown sugar usually aren’t) and that no ghee is used. Halvas with coconut or almond/cashew milk would taste far better and they’d be far healthier. I don’t know anyone who cooks with fat-free stolen (cow’s) milk for Diwali but even if one did, coconut milk would be the healthy alternative and nut or seed milks actual low fat options. Ghee is fat from milk (infant food which makes a baby calf grow into 800 pounds in a few months), coconut oil is a healthy equivalent and canola oil is a tasteless healthier alternative with an even higher smoke point (well over 200’C if you’re baking). Some things to bear in mind in case you browse more recipes on the non-vegan sites.
My gran will be making suzhiyans in a gluten batter as usual. My mum was going to make bajjis and chilli bites (South African for toor dhal kachoris I think? I only know S. African and Mauritian Indian food names, these are considered local dishes in these multicultural countries) but I will share these ideas with her although one is similar to sweets she’s making but kummayam seems much simpler.
I think these kozhukattai can be made sugar free. I might try sub more coconut and tapioca flour.
Til seeds are sesame seeds. Sweets like urundai are high in protein and calcium besides sugar.
I’ll throw in some more western, healthier or more allergy friendly recipes. To make this *actually* gluten free substitute rolled buckwheat and ground rolled buckwheat, PB is optional – I ground some sesame seeds and nuts instead, mine was yummy, too delish to resist eating it all no matter how hard I tried 😦 they didn’t survive ’til brekkie!
These are very crumbly (too crumbly for a diwali box) but the average non-vegan found them better than the above. The fat content is probably higher due to coconut flour, I find non-vegans like high-fat vegan foods.
I was joking that cardamom can be added to any cookie or brownie and it could be called a Diwali sweet – I suppose there are endless ways to modify Nankathai and make gluten free versions. I wouldn’t go to extremes though!
http://www.monsoonspice.com/2011/08/vegan-avalakki-payasapoha-kheer-vegan.html doesn’t have much else but the following non-vegan blogs have many savoury recipes that are vegan and that I didn’t link in text above, I linked some sweet ones.
Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Pooja/Annakoot: “On the 4th day of Diwali, cattle are worshiped, bathed, decorated with kumkum, flowers and then prayers are performed for cattle; in the later part of day people take cattle around and celebrate” (edited for clarity). Blogger didn’t say ‘their’ cattle but don’t they consider the cattle theirs? This would be a day or 2 after milk belonging to the (probably dead or soon to be dead) calves, from abused (or not, allegedly) and overmilked cows is used abundantly to make sweets for large parts of India and diaspora to stuff their faces (because they want not need, because it’s tradition and that). Contradiction much? Another contradiction is that Hindu philosophy as understood universally is not manichean so why do we hear the good v/s evil and light v/s dark BS instead of real discourses on Ahimsa? If tribal traditions are manichean these are the same tribal traditions we oppress (or that the Indian government chases off their lands for profit and we do or say nothing) so why do we adopt only that part of their beliefs? Not judging their beliefs that I don’t know about, consider that they are more environmentally friendly than we could ever be in our respective communities.
In a community of South Indian heritage here, traditional recipes seem vegan aside from the soji (semolina pudding by the way do check Vegan Richa’s version and other recipes) in most houses here because one is eating lots of junk (so they need more sugar and dairy for meals during the day, y’know :rolls eyes:) or sweets and fried stuff all day. Then people will go on a diet until New Year comes around. There is a high incidence of Type 2 diabetes here and it’s probably not the sugar. I’m not praising sugar (I frequently call for a boycott of Mauritian sugar in fact, because of the cruel Monkey trade for one) but I’m yet to come across a type-2 diabetic vegan (Sociologist Bob Torres shared his overcoming diabetes with veganism, numerous doctors and dieticians spoke on the same). In shops selling Diwali sweets you might find something popular that’s basically sweetened cheese, fried in ghee then soaked in more milk and sugar! If you can’t think of the pain and wrong, think of all the fat and casomorphines!
If one is mourning, one won’t celebrate Deepavali/Diwali (though maybe some eat sweets offered to them). I’ll be mourning calves and old cows, who are certainly abused more at this time of the year. If I wasn’t, I’d see looks of pity on faces because I can’t eat gluten, sugar, dhal, unsprouted mung, white rice – everything they’d cook for Diwali basically… as if allergies are to be pitied more than moral vacuity one chooses (in my family’s case).
If you’re celebrating, make unforgettable vegan snacks and please share with non-vegans! You can celebrate even if you’re not of Indian heritage but want to try out new recipes, or help veganise Diwali/Deepavali/the Festival of Lights worldwide! It’s world vegan month! No one would ever call it appropriation for reasons stated: the good over evil traditional beliefs makes absolutely no sense, more so when beings are being used and abused for fun, in the name of celebration and tradition tied to said beliefs. If someone who hasn’t followed this tradition is doing something good, something remotely helpful to the animals whose bodies are being abused for snacks, then surely it can’t be denied that it could only be respectful of the belief this celebration usually falsely claims to follow.