Indian festive recipes

As every year, although I don’t celebrate it, I found y’all vegan recipes for Indian sweets and snacks. Quote of the week:

An Indian festival means a few more words about dairy. Because of the enormous demand for dairy in sweets, everyday food and increasing costs, the sweet shops in India these days use shampoo and oil concoctions and call it milk. […] — Richa

And if you’re using powdered milk as most do here, if we forget that you killed a coupla calves in New Zealand or wherever for the milk, let’s not forget the pus and blood in the milk. You’re fasting that day, you say?

Let’s start with kaju burfi, coconut and semolina burfi (can be made gluten-free, or check out her amaranth burfi).

Gluten-free nut-free vegan black sesame laddoos, vadas and kaju katli or badam halwa (vegan version included in the latter or their kaju katli recipe) You can make coconut burfi, and low sugar or sugar-free laddoos. Sometimes folks ask me why I link to non-vegan sites, all the nut-free sugar-free, gluten free vegan recipes are not on the vegan sites, ok! Cashew is a seed by the way, I’m low-nut or nut free if I count the nut-fungus which I’m allergic to, otherwise I can have a few almonds, 12 a day is a stretch but I can have 150g cashews per day. I tolerate it better than sunflower or pumkin seeds.

Here’s the most interesting sugarfree glutenfree veganSpiced Tamarind and Date Truffles, I’d use coconut instead of sesame as Deepa suggested and then it’d totally be a digestive aid, aside from being a cool truffle. It would be sweeter and pleasant to munch on. This recipe makes me feel like making sweets for people actually.

It makes no sense at all to celebrate this in the Southern hemisphere in summer heat, why not Diwali in July? Then the whole thing is about sharing but does anyone bother to make me sugar-free or sprouted beans version of stuff? No. Relatives would make sad faces and interrogate me yet again on my diet, when I used to visit em along with my family, at most I’d drink water (bc they seriously would have nothing else to offer me that I’m not allergic to, diwali/deepavali is the official Indian junk food day). It’s true that people order their sweets etc. Only my cousin-in-law from Chennai makes everything from scratch, pretty murruku and such, and it’s not great for my food intolerances but it’s pretty, tasty and sugarfree glutenfree vegan so once a year I eat it. There’s a silver lining to being allergic to sugar and stuff (aside that my freezer is full of pre-cooked green jackfruit and vazhaithandu (banana stem) for the week so I’ll have comfort foods all week, thanks to my patti!), I haven’t had non-vegan food accidentally.

I used to think some sweets are traditionally vegan but I found only 1 vegan version of Adhirasam, on one cool blog, check the link above the quote for a big recipe list. Here it’s made with white rice and castor sugar, not healthy but people love their carbs.

Dhal Boorelu See the junk food is supposed to be quite healthy (or at least loaded with protein).

For those of us for whom it’s only tamarind or mango season here, here’s a puliyodharai, pulisadam or pulihora recipe. Peanuts and dhal are totally optional, there are original versions without. I must try it again and I’ll defo try mangaisadam or green mango rice soon. I said I’ll make it for my gran who has never had it.

World Vegan Day and Deepavali

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.

http://www.kamalascorner.com/others/deepavali.html

http://www.indiankhana.net/…/easy-diwali-sweets-recipes-deepavali-sweets.htm

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.