India is a surprising country – united by emotion but entirely diversified in terms of religion, language, culture and of course cuisine. While the Central part of the nation is filled with plant eaters, major parts of East, North East, South, and North are living on meat. I have seen the pain a person from Kota may feel residing in Kolkata or Kochin. No other country in the world has such diversification concerning culture & religion, and naturally, their cuisines do not vary so drastically within their boundary.
It is true that rest of the world does not have such a big group of the purely vegetarian population, but it would be unwise to think people there have not satisfied their taste buds with vegetarian delicacies. Everywhere in the world; be it the Americas, Europe, the Middle East or the South Eastern islands; some of their vegetarian dishes can beat any non-vegetarian dishes any day. Here is a list of 10 unparallel Vegetarian dishes found around the world.
1. Frijoles Negros – Mexico.
When in Mexico, you are sure to find plenty of black beans in your food – it can be a filling in your tacos or burritos, or it may be a side dish. However, their most delicious black bean recipe is Frijoles Negros or a light black bean stew cooked with onions, garlic, green pepper and a host of vegetables. The authentic way of serving it is with avocado & cilantro topping and a bowl of rice.
2. Pampoenkoekies – South Africa.
Pampoenkoekies is one of the oldest South African desserts. As you may have guessed the meaning of the name – these are pumpkin cookies or rather pumpkin fritters. Hell easy to make, these fritters, often served with a scoop of ice-cream are so delicious that you are sure to order one more.
3. Caldo Verde – Portugal.
Portuguese people are generous meat eaters, and it is challenging to find purely vegetarian items in this country. It is the Northern part of Portugal where Caldo Verde can be tasted, and it is sure to give you a pleasure never felt before. It is one of the tastiest soups in the world, and the green soup is prepared with cabbage, potatoes, onions and olive oil. The authentic Caldo Verde is served in clay bowl after cooking it in a metal pot. You may find non-vegetarian versions of it, but the traditional one is the vegetarian one.
4. Koshari – Egypt.
Koshari – one of Egypt’s most preferred meal is an African version of Khichdi. In the early 19th century, Khichdi – cooked by boiling rice and lentils together was brought to Egypt – most probably by soldiers. Because it was easy to prepare & healthy and could fill the belly at the same time, it became a huge hit, and the Egyptians made it their own by improving it. The authentic Koshari was prepared by including macaroni with the rice and lentils – an Italian punch to the taste. A topping of tomato sauce, garlic vinegar, fried onions, and chickpeas is made while serving a bowl of Koshari. This Egyptian version of our very own Khichdi is a healthy, vegetarian wonder.
Falafel is absolutely not the reason behind the territorial disputes in the Middle East, but it is one dish everybody claims to be his own. It is debated about the exact origin of Falafel, but it is most likely another Egyptian product. However, Falafel is widely available all over, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan. A deep-fried ball made of ground chickpea or fava beans is served inside a pita bread pocket or inside layers or taboon – the flatbread.
6. Edamame – Japan.
Edamame, the marvellous Japanese delicacy can easily be termed as world’s best appetiser. Made with boiled young soybeans, edamame requires intricate perfection in cooking – like most other Japanese product. It has to be the perfect soybean – which is not ripe and not too young and then the young pods are boiled with water and served after adding salt to taste. Sometimes, salt is added to the water before adding the pods for boiling. This simple Japanese delicacy is one of the sweetest appetisers, and a must try when you are in Japan.
7. Tabouleh – Lebanon.
Tabbouleh is one of the most herb-rich dishes in the world, and its main ingredient is parsley. In the Middle Eastern countries, traditionally a lot of herbs were used in their foods and tabbouleh is one such example. Finely chopped parsley and mint are mixed with chopped tomatoes, onions and bulgur and olive oil, lemon juice and salt are added as seasoning. Tabbouleh was once served as an accompaniment to drinks, but now it’s mostly used as a pre-meal salad, and there is absolutely no match for this delicious yet healthy vegetarian dish.
8. Mi-Quang – Vietnam.
Originated in the Quang-Nam province of Vietnam, Mi-Quang literally means the noodles of Quang. The noodle based dish is a national item in the country and can be seen at any family gathering or occasion. Mi-Quang is one of the tastiest noodles you can find and is made with a host of herbs which make it one of the healthiest too. Flat rice noodles are kept on a thick bed of herbs which include basil, cilantro, scallions, coriander, banana flower, lettuce and many other local herbs, and the lukewarm vegetable stock is added. One of the most popular lunch dishes of Vietnam, it is generally served with peanuts and sesame crackers making it an out of the world dish.
9. Palak Paneer – India.
Paneer or cottage cheese is generally the most preferred item among the North Indian vegetarians. There are plenty of uses of paneer in both main course and side dishes; however, the perfect mix of spinach with paneer is something special. Thick gravy of pureed spinach is prepared on which large size cubes of paneer are added to make it a perfect blend. Palak Paneer is a standard item in almost all Indian menu cards and can be seen served at any occasion. It is also popular among non-vegetarians and is eaten with both rice and flatbread or chapati.
10. Baklava – Turkey.
The list has to end with a dessert, and there is nothing compared to the heavenly Baklava. If you have returned from Turkey without having it, you a have a reason to fly back. Among all Turkish creation, Baklava is the tastiest and is undoubtedly a hot favourite for anybody who has tasted it. Fine phyllo sheets are laid in layers with finely chopped nuts (walnut, almond, cashew, and pistachio) in between and held with thick sugar syrup or honey to prepare the tastiest Baklava. On top of it, ground or finely chopped pistachio is sprinkled.
So, let us know if we missed any of the famous vegetarian dishes around the world in the comment section!