While Pakistani cuisine is big on meat and dairy, a lot of it is vegan too. Here are some dishes that happen to be plant-based.
Traditionally meat-heavy, Pakistan’s diverse cuisine has lots of incredible food that happens to be vegan. These dishes are ubiquitous in Pakistan, and can be found on street markets as well as in fine dining restaurants.
These plant-based foods don’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything when it comes to Pakistani cuisine. Here are six Pakistani dishes that happen to be vegan.
Lobia ka salan
This black-eyed peas dish is quite versatile and a delicious source of nutrition. Lobia can be eaten with bread, rice or just on its own.
The ingredients you need to make lobia ka salan are like any other Pakistani curry: onions, cumin seeds, garlic, tomatoes and green chillies, with the addition of black-eyed beans. The gravy made from all these ingredients is extremely flavourful, which is why this naturally vegan dish is quite popular in Pakistani households. Black-eyed peas are packed with vitamin A, folate, iron and protein, which is why this dish is an incredibly well-balanced vegan meal.
This dish is usually eaten as a snack by most Pakistanis. To prepare this, you just need a few ingredients: mainly gram flour, some vegetables of your choice and spices to your taste. After creating a thick batter out of this, you fry it up and it’s ready to serve.
The main ingredient of this dish, gram flour, is rich in protein and fibre. It is also naturally gluten-free. This dish is highly customisable and can be altered according to your dietary needs. It can be made as a quick snack or a whole meal that can appeal to anyone.
Dal (lentils) is one of the most common dishes eaten in Pakistan. There are many kinds of dal to choose from as well, all having a distinct delicious flavour.
This is a quick dish anyone can make easily. All you need to do is soak the lentils in water for about half an hour and then cook it with your choice of spices, some onion and garlic. When the daal is fully cooked, you add the tadka to it: quick-fry some chillies and whole spices in a little oil and pour it over the dal to give it a special smokey taste. This is a dish that can easily be incorporated into low-fat and high-carb diets.
An elevated paratha that everyone needs to try, it’s quite filling and can be eaten at any time of the day. An easy way to make this dish is to make two parathas (preferably with whole wheat flour) and make a filling of rough mashed potatoes mixed with green chillies, cilantro, chaat masala and garam masala.
Put the filling inside the parathas and cook on a flat pan. This dish is bound to be a favourite anywhere it’s made. The whole wheat flour in the paratha is good for maintaining blood sugar levels and potatoes are a good source for starch.
One of the most loved dishes of Pakistan, this is made out of chickpeas. It is essentially a Pakistani version of a salad. To make this dish, toss the chana (the chickpeas) together with diced onions, tomatoes, green chillies, coriander, lemon juice and some spices, salt and chaat masala.
The chaat masala and lemon juice bring out the dish’s distinct sour taste. It is sold all around Pakistan by food vendors but can be made easily at home in no time. A great thing about chana chaat is that it is low in calories and is helpful to incorporate in a low-fat diet.
A staple dish in all Pakistani households, this incorporates okras (bhindi) and traditional spices into a delicious vegan stir-fry. This dish is quite versatile, since you can put in any spices you want.
The main ingredients in this dish are okra, tomatoes and onions. After the addition of these vegetables, you can make this dish your own. Potatoes can also be added to this dish for some extra starch. Okra is high in vitamin C and vitamin B9. It also has a great amount of fibre that’s beneficial for weight loss. Bhindi masala is typically eaten with rotis or other flatbreads.