So, you think veganism is a new thing? Well, you would be very much mistaken. This form of diet has been going on around us for centuries and we had no idea. This plant based food diet appears to be the future for many of us. It is a way to become a healthier eater as well helping to reducing the amount of animals we are slaughtering.
I can imagine it would be hard to make the jump from eating meat to going vegan. You may be thinking, 'what if it tastes bad? or 'there will literally be no flavour!' So, here are some of the best tips from various cuisines around the world to help you get through it.
Clever conversation from China
The Chinese believe that food is a medicine and that you shouldn't eat too much of one thing. Like taking too many paracetamol or having an Anusol sandwich, it wouldn't do you much good. So, why eat so much meat when there are plenty of other ways to enjoy a meal?
Chinese Chef, Andrew Wong doesn't understand why people would go out of their way to make and develop faux meat products. He explains that people never used to eat so much protein, "My grandmother would cook vegetable dishes and use a small amount of meat as a lubricating source of oil.” So, with the world trying to reduce its meat intake, Chinese chefs have started to mimic the tastes and textures you get with real meats using other things. For example, they would use vegetables, gluten and tofu to mimic the texture of meat and fish. An example of this would be using eggs to replicate crab meat. It really does make a lot of sense when you think about it and I'm sure tastes just as good, if not better.
I would say, the thing to take away from vegan Chinese food would be to not be afraid of using vegetables instead of meats or faux meats. Tofu is probably the best way to enhance what would otherwise be a rather plain dish.
Enlightening expressions from Ethiopia
I will admit, I am very poorly educated on Ethiopia and the food culture but I think this is all about to change. You see, I didn't know that 70% of the diet is vegan. That is an astonishing amount and yet everyone clearly likes it, so what do they do?
The idea of sharing food is very much a popular thing in Ethiopia, which is probably why we never saw an episode of Friends filmed there. As you can see from the photo above, there is a large plate of plant based items as well as a plate of what look like pancakes. These pancakes are called 'Injera' and are simply a type of savoury pancake which one would use as cutlery which is a great idea and is also very popular in India.
The sorts of things you would find on the plate would normally be something such as 'fasolia' which is green beans in a tomato sauce. You might also find something called 'gomen' which is simmered greens or perhaps 'shiro' which is a chickpea paste, all served alongside a thick and spicy stew. Then the idea would be to use the pancake as your spoon if you will, and eat it that way. Just writing this is making me incredibly hungry. The stews can often be made of red lentils or even just normal vegetables such as potatoes or carrots.
Intelligent instructions from India
Unlike Ethiopian cuisine, I happen to know a little bit more about Indian foods as my stepmother is from India. If there's one thing I would go out of my way for, it's vegan/vegetarian Indian food. Cut me, and I bleed masala dosa. This stuff is what you really want. More often that not, I would take a plant based Indian dish over a chicken curry, and I love chicken. There is just something about the freshness and purity of these dishes which is like not much else.
The item of food in the photo is a little something called 'aloo palak' and it is delicious. It is essentially a potato and spinach dish which is cooked up with a bunch of spices. This is a great thing to have with naan bread or chapatis. Another great way to enjoy being a vegan would be to try dishes such as Chana masala with rice or Dal with rice. They are such simple and nutritious meals yet incredibly rich and creamy.
So, next time you decide to go out for a curry, why not try out one of these. I promise you, you will not look back. Sometimes you need a break from meat based curries and this is a perfect way to do so. I could happily live off of these if I was given the chance.
Informing idioms from Italy
For many people in the less fortunate parts of Italy back in the 70s, meat was a luxury meaning that a large amount of Italians can make some truly delicious vegan dishes which really don't need any meat at all. If you think about it, a meat ragu (we call it a spaghetti bolognese) doesn't have an incredible amount of meat in it anyway, so why not switch that out for fried aubergine?
Courgettes are also quite an important vegetable in Italy. One of the ways to consume this is to leave sliced courgettes on your balcony to dry then fry until they are brown. This is apparently a tasty way to eat them, though I have never tried it. You can of course, also make vegan lasagnas, casseroles, pizzas and of course, pastas. The possibilities are endless when it comes to vegan pasta dishes.
Is that it?
No, the vegan options are pretty much endless. There is so much more out there which you wouldn't have even thought of. What about vegan sushi? I bet you hadn't thought about Greek cuisine such as vine leaf parcels. Why not jive on over to Jamaica and try out some of their bean and pumpkin curries? Don't forget the vast amount of vegan culture lurking around in parts of Asia.
It turns out, being vegan is not as difficult as one might have thought. You have seen the great lengths different cultures have gone to in making this food taste as good as possible, so why not give it a go? Unless you are really boring and uncultured. You can go to Tesco and nosh on a cheap imitation chicken sarnie or something.