Local Tips for Eating Vegetarian in India If You Cannot Cook - Ahulan

Local Tips for Eating Vegetarian in India If You Cannot Cook


In India, halfway across the globe, eating vegetarian might be difficult if you don’t know what to purchase. When volunteering in a foreign nation, it’s important to get to know the local cuisine as quickly as possible to stay healthy. Fortunately, India makes vegetarianism simple.

India has many vegetarians

About 40% of Indians are vegetarian. At 75% vegetarian, Rajasthan is the most vegetarian state. Gujarat’s Palitana is the world’s first vegetarian city. Selling eggs or meat is forbidden in this city, as is killing animals for food.


India consumes the second-least meat per person. Numerous Indian vegetarians do this for religious reasons. Lacto vegetarianism is the norm among Hindus. All beef is avoided since cows are sacred, but dairy is consumed. Some people are Jain. One of the earliest Indian faiths. Jains shun root vegetables and certain fruits in addition to being lacto vegetarian. The majority of Indian vegetarians live in the north. Twenty of 29 Indian states ban cow slaughter. The export and import of beef is illegal under existing trade legislation.

Indian Pantry Essentials


Many Indian cuisines are based on ghee. Clarified butter without smoke is good for frying. Though heavy in fat, ghee is abundant in omega-3. Healthy fatty acids benefit the heart and circulatory system. Ghee provides additional vitamins, including vitamin B12, which plant-based products lack. Ghee from the fridge is thick and hard to distribute. Ghee tastes stronger than butter, so use carefully.

A typical Indian kitchen has several additional items. In several recipes, like paneer butter masala, Indian cottage cheese is deep-fried. Chana “chickpeas” and dal “lentils or pulses” in curries provide protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Must have masala!

Invest in masala. Meals usually include masala. The most popular is Garam Masala, which contains clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, coriander, pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, and nigella. The masala spice combination may be wet (paste) or dry (dried, roasted, ground spices).

Local street vendors sell masala dry powder for 60 rupees (approximately 60 pence), but many residents purchase the raw components and crush them themselves. Spices are important in Indian medicine and boost immunity. Another frequently sold all-purpose spice blend is sabzi masala.

Indian food is diverse in flavor and texture. Meals usually include sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami flavors. Having all these flavors in one dish is satisfying. Indian cuisine is so delicious that sauces are seldom provided, save for thick chutneys. Kissan ketchup, created with 100% organically ripened tomatoes, is available in supermarkets if you still need any.

Differences by region

Traveling around India, the menu changes like in every nation. There are vegetarian meals everywhere, although they vary by area. Typically, Northern and Southern food differ.

A thin pancake prepared from fermented rice batter and lentils, the dosa is a Southern specialty. Before rolling like a taco, the dosa is filled with potatoes, carrot, ginger, paneer, and other ingredients. Dosa is Tava-made. The cast iron or aluminum Tava is a popular frying pan resembling the Asian wok. Coconut chutney prepared with fresh coconut from the South of India goes well with dosa.

North Indian parathas are famous. This ghee-layered flatbread is filled with potatoes, peas, onions, and paneer. A paratha is commonly served with fiber-rich coriander chutney.

Breakfast ideas

Breakfast includes poha or flattened rice. Since it’s parboiled, it needs less cooking. Some consume it uncooked in milk or water with sugar, salt, and spices. Ready-to-eat Poha in plastic jars need boiling water like instant noodles. Instant paratha may be made on the tava frying pan.

Puffed rice, called muri in India, is great for breakfast or movie snacks. Cereal and low-calorie puffed rice treats like rice cakes are available in stores. Feeling adventurous? Make your own puffed rice at home in hot oil.

Indian snack

Naturally, you’ll need a snack when you can’t plan ahead. Vegan protein-rich roasted chickpeas “chana” are crisp and pleasant on the bus. They are frequently sold in stores but may be produced at home from cooked chickpeas and your favorite seasonings in the oven.

Morning markets sell sprouted mung beans, which may be sprinkled with lemon, salt, and sugar for a healthy, crunchy snack. To keep them fresh, sprouting beans are only sold in the morning, so avoid purchasing them in the afternoon.

Street Food

Visit the markets to try custard apple, starfruit, jackfruit, Indian hog plum, carandas cherry, amla berry, and other exotic fruits. If you want an Indian fruit, try the phalsa, or Indian Sherbet Berry. Try this sweet-sour summer fruit—berries have the most antioxidants.

Pakora, deep-fried vegetable fritters made of onion, sweet potato, sweetcorn, and others, may be purchased on the street for a fast meal. Be cautious not to overdo it since it’s heavy in saturated fat. Steamed bun dumplings or samosas, fried or baked dough in triangular, cone, or half-moon forms, may be ordered with various fillings.

In Punjabi culture, the lassi is a drink made of yogurt, water, spices, and occasionally fruit, ideal for a rapid sugar surge. Indian golden milk is famous in the West. Warming plant-based milk (soy, almond, oat, etc.) or cow milk with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon makes it vibrant yellow. Its calming effects make it ideal before sleep and may be produced at home.

Instant noodles from Nestle-owned Maggi appeal to health-conscious Indians. These include wholewheat noodles and protein-rich dal. In a balanced diet, these quick noodles may provide a nutritious lunch in under two minutes with less than 1 g of salt per 100 g serving.

Last thoughts

Indian market traderVolunteer in India | WorkingAbroadLook for the green vegetarian symbol, a square with a green circle, on processed store items. The product is lacto-vegetarian, meaning it has no meat or eggs.

Hope this shows that vegetarian volunteering and eating abroad in India is simpler than you think. Want to volunteer in India and try its food? Our India website lists current possibilities, including the Elephant and Bear Volunteer Project.

The essay would not have been written without Shubhra Singh’s assistance. Shubhra is a lifelong vegetarian from Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Relocating to Taiwan for a PhD in agricultural sciences, Shubhra aims to study how DNA sequencing activates plant defense systems. I appreciate Shubhra’s efforts teaching me vegetarian Indian food.

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