Imagine you are vacationing in a coastal paradise in a tropical country, Imagine the refreshing sea breeze running through your hair, the salty, sultry atmosphere seeping into your pores. Imagine the sand cushioning your steps as you walk beside the vast ocean and then a wafting aroma captures your sense of smell and you are beguiled and led to a coastal shack. Your mouth watering at the eventuality of your tongue tasting an exotic yet comforting delicacy. You are dreaming of the most tantalizing coastal culinary experience. You are about to forfeit to the sin of gluttony and then lo! It turns into a nightmare… An anguished tale of denial as you figure out that the delicacy is for the fellow meat eaters and your vegan / vegetarian lifestyle does not allow this experience.
Coastal Cuisine around the world has been somewhat partial to the omnivores of the planet. You have to be at the least a Pescatarian to have a rich and fulfilling culinary adventure on the beach side. Or do you?
At Home Kouzina we are always trying to enlighten people on the hidden gems and rare recipes around the country. In our quest to bring the rarest recipes and the most authentic flavors and spices to your table, we went on a ‘pure vegetarian adventure’ to unearth the best kept secrets from India’s diverse coastal culture. After all, we are a country of vegetarians, where 70% of the population still adheres to vegetarianism. ‘India has been doing veganism before it became trendy’ says Anita Sahoo, founder of Home Kouzina. It’s only natural that you will find the widest variety of vegetarian coastal cuisine & vegan approved delicacies here.” Vegetarian Coastal Cuisine is not a myth and we have proof!
Coastal Food for Vegetarians & Vegans -
Popular restaurants & menus sometimes fail to do justice to the vegan and vegetarian options but veteran travelers and food enthusiasts have a different tale to tell. So we tapped into the wisdom of our coastal friends and food fanatics to dig out the best recipes from around the country. Even the islands Like Andaman & Lakshadweep where the culinary culture is dependent on locally sourced sea foods , we have dishes that will tickle a vegetarians’ taste buds . Here’s a map to the most amazing vegetarian dishes from India’s most popular coastal tourism spots.
Goa & Its Vegetarian Delights
Goa is known for its amazing sea food and Instagram worthy menus.
However, in this glitz and glam of Fish Caldine and Ambutik Prawn Curry, and Xacuti the lesser discovered vegetarian coastal cuisine gets lost.
This does not mean that every vegetarian will have to stick to the boring mainstream or continental cuisine when they visit Goa. In fact there are so many local vegetarian delicacies to explore that a week long trip will fall short to accommodate the fare.
Here’s a list :
Baingana Recheado :
Recehado is Portuguese for 'stuffed'. While the usual preparations feature fishes such as pomfret, locals love to add the blend to okras and brinjals creating a delectable and flavourful recipe for vegetarians. One of our most favourite recipes is made with eggplants stuffed with the Recheado paste. The deep red paste made of local spices and vinegar makes for a wonderful delicacy lending it wonderful colour, flavour and texture.
Coming from the Portuguese word for soup, Caldinho is a slightly sweet, coconut milk curry made with vegetables like bottle gourd, tendlim, cauliflower or dudhi. It can also be made with prawns or fish but as with most dishes the flavors are lent to it with the spices and and fresh coastal ingredients. Try adding the Fish Caldine Masala for an authentic taste and experience.
Paanch pale bhaji
A unique dish for Chaturthi, this recipe combines a variety of five leafy vegetables sourced from kitchen gardens or farms. The assortment includes red amaranth (tambdi bhaji), Malabar spinach (val chi bhaji), moringa leaves, colocasia leaves (alu), hog plum leaves, bottle gourd leaves, and more.
An excellent method of enjoying cucumbers, this dish involves grating the vegetable, combining it with semolina, coconut, jaggery, a touch of cardamom, and then steaming the mixture to create a subtly sweet and moist cake. Using locally sourced cucumbers is recommended, as they are thought to possess a sweeter and more flavorful profile than other varieties. Enjoy this as a dessert or well ditch guilt and just go for a few helpings.
The other amazing dishes include ambade uddamethi,( a dish made from amabade or ‘hog plum’ , lentils and fenugreek), Khatkatem ( a vegetable curry), Sushel/ Chakho ‘(A jackfruit preparation).
As a bonus you can also try our Recheado Masala and make this amazing Bhende Recheado recipe right at home.
Kerala : Gods Own Country & Vegetarian Coastal Cuisine :
The eastern ghats remained elusive to tourism for a while. But Kerala with its serene backwaters and untouched beaches that are overlooked by lush green mountains became a huge favorite of those who wanted to escape to a coastal retreat. Unlike Goa, Kerala was always known for its meditative tranquility, Ayurveda therapies and harmonious landscapes. What it was not known for was the coastal cuisine other than the mainstream southern delights that are common to the whole Dravidian belt. Explore some of Kerala’s exclusive vegetarian delicacies here :
A staple in nearly every Kerala household, Puttu is a breakfast or evening snack made from rice and coconut. This soft, steamed cylindrical rice cake, generously adorned with coconut shavings, boasts of a sumptuous texture and flavor. Typically accompanied by Kadala or black chickpea curry, Puttu holds its place as a beloved breakfast and a prominent dish in the state.
Embraced by both locals and tourists, Erissery is a dish crafted with the help of a grater. This flavorful delight combines coconut, vegetables, and spices like turmeric and cumin. Often featured as a main dish in Kerala thalis, Erissery flaunts its distinct flavor when paired with rice, becoming a highlight during special occasions and festivals. Check this off your list when exploring the vegetarian coastal cuisine delights in India.
The Kerala Sambar
The primary distinction between Kerala Sambar and Tamil Sambar lies in both the ingredients used and the preparation method. Kerala Sambar incorporates a unique spice blend, possibly including coconut, whereas Tamil Sambar is characterized by a tamarind base and distinct spices such as fenugreek and asafoetida. Check out our Thanjavur Sambar powder to relish an authentic Tamil preparation but the next time you are in Kerala do not forget to taste the refreshingly different Kerala Sambar.
A delectable curry crafted with curd, coconut, and an array of exquisite spices, Moru Curry, also known as seasoned buttermilk, graces the tables during Onam Sadya. A household favorite, this vegetarian dish captures the essence of Kerala's culinary finesse.
The Onam Sadya ( Onam Feast) has popularized the fine vegetarian foods from Kerala across the country but if you are still living under a rock, go figure the goodness and wholesomeness of Pachdi curry, ( A beetroot & curd preparation) , Appam and Kerala stew and a range of other vegetarian delights from the state.
Odisha : India’s Best Kept Culinary Secret
Odisha has one of the largest gatherings of Vishnu devouts in Puri. The renowned Jagannath temple and the Jagannath rath yatra beckons devotees from all over the world . This amalgamation of pristine beaches, scenic drives and a divine atmosphere adds the most rich and vast vegan and vegetarian menu to India’s Coastal Cuisine. Odisha has a different blend of five spices in comparison to the North Indian ‘Garam Masala’. This local mix is used widely in the Odia cuisine and lends it a distinct taste. Some of the popular vegetarian coastal cuisine dishes widely use this mix. Here are some of our favorites :
Dahi baigana, a well-loved vegetarian dish originating from the Indian state of Odisha, features fried eggplant (baigana) combined with yogurt (dahi) and an array of aromatic spices. This delightful dish boasts of a distinctive and invigorating taste, offering a subtle tanginess and creaminess. The yogurt contributes a cool and refreshing essence, while the eggplant imparts a luscious and substantial texture. Infused with spices, the dish achieves a gentle warmth and a complex flavor profile that makes it irresistibly delicious. Nutritionally rich, Dahi baigana is a wholesome meal abundant in protein, calcium, and vitamins. A cherished comfort food in Odisha, it is commonly served alongside steamed rice and lentil soup.
Besara is a customary dish crafted with a medley of vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant, potatoes, or drumsticks, simmered in a blend of mustard paste and spices. This spicy and aromatic preparation is typically enjoyed alongside steamed rice or flatbreads. Embraced during festivals and special events in Odisha, Besara holds a prominent place in everyday Odia cuisine. Its distinct flavor profile has made it a cherished favorite among both locals and visitors alike.
The other coastal delicacies include Dalma ( Lentils and vegetables cooked together), Santula ( A balanced mixed vegetable delicacy, prepared with a simple blend of whole spices and grated coconut.)
Lakshadweep : India’s ‘Hundred Thousand Islands’ sauce
A new and rising star on the Indian coastal tourism map we could not help but add this special appearance to our list. Lakshadweep translates to a ‘Hundred Thousand Islands’ and while we are still to discover the Indian equivalent of the Thousand Island Sauce we brought you a vegetarian dessert from the Island of Androth. A dessert from India's rich vegetarian coastal cuisine, Batla Appam is a comfort food you would not want to miss.
Batla Appam is a sweet dish popular among the inhabitants of the Androth Island. This dish is similar to the idlis popular in Southern India. The technique of preparation is similar as well but the ingredients are completely different. Jaggery, rice flour and tempered sweet spices like star anise and cinnamon are combined and a leafy mold is made to steam the batter on slow flame. The result is a flavourful dessert that is widely appreciated as a snack too.
In Conclusion if you are a vegetarian on a mission to have a culinary adventure, there is a lot to experiment with in India. In fact even if you are non vegetarian who frequents coastlines we recommend you switch preferences and try some of these rare gems. Ditch the meaty curries you would have normally and relish the amazing vegetarian delights. It’s a vacation so you can break a pattern for a while!
We hope we have saved most vegetarians from the nightmare of not knowing what to eat while on a beach side vacation. You can also reach out to our home chefs and culinary experts to get the recipes and an advice on how to source ingredients by writing to us at : https://homekouzina.com/pages/contact