Indian cuisine is a great option for vegans as the tasty spices and interesting textures can make it popular for everyone you are eating with. Here are some tips when looking for the best vegetarian restaurants in your town.
One of the hidden sources of animal product in Indian food is ghee, which is clarified butter. It is used both as a cooking oil and to add flavour to Indian dishes. However many Indian restaurants have switched to using vegetable oil as it easier and cheaper to use. It's well worth calling ahead and asking restaurants whether they use ghee and if they'd be happy to prepare dishes without ghee if requested. That way you can confidently order your vegetarian dishes without worrying they may have traces of dairy.
Look for Buddhist and Jain restaurants
Several religions that are popular in India have a natural bent towards vegetarianism including Buddhist and Jains. These restaurants usually have a wider range of vegan meals along with their vegetarian options and can be a really good option to avoid restaurants that may have traces of meat. They are often located near the Buddhist and Jain places of worship in each city.
These restaurants are often very popular Indian eaters due to their innovative approach in using legumes and vegetables to create interesting textures.
The main vegan issue with Indian vegetarian food is dairy products, so it's a good idea to ask questions about any yoghurt based dishes, as well as creams and new cheese (often called 'paneer'). Most of these dishes can be made with coconut or nut based substitutions, so it's simply a question of asking the right questions and finding restaurants that can do substitutions.
Watch your side dishes
Naan bread is traditionally made with yoghurt and can be a problem for vegans. You can fill up on pappadum, chapati and roti as well as yummy vegetable starters such as onion bhaji. Filling sides such as dahl can also be a good idea if you find yourself with a limited selection of vegan mains.
Indian restaurants can offer a great range of yummy vegan dishes for your next night out. The best Indian restaurant for a nice meal out can be easy to find by calling them and checking the range of vegetarian and vegan option on their menu, as well as their willingness to do some simple substitutions.