Author Archives: vslsowmya89

A complete guide to making dairy-free curd/yogurt!

Wondering how to make cruelty-free (i.e. vegan) curd, yogurt and buttermilk? Well, all you have to do is to substitute your milk (dairy version, animal based) with mylk (vegan version, plant based)! Okay, let me elaborate. Mylk can be made out of surprisingly many vegan sources: nuts (cashews, almonds), rice grains, coconut, soy and more. Vegan curd comes out best using mylk made of either peanuts, cashews, almonds, soy beans, rice or coconut.

Making plant based mylk

To make vegan curd, first we need to get the mylk ready. The basic steps to prepare plant based mylk acurd (1)re (almost) the same, as follows:

  1. Soak 1 cup beans/nuts/seeds for 8 hours (3 hours for cashews).
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Blend them adding some water in your blender, until it becomes smooth paste.
  4. Add the rest of the water to achieve mylky consistency. (Generally about 3 to 4 times the quantity of beans, nuts or seeds)
  5. Strain the liquid. What you get out of this is mylk.

Note: To make curd with coconut milk, just skip step 1 above. Blend fresh coconut pieces. Soak the pulp in hot water (equal amount). Strain with thin cloth after water cooks down. Repeat the process again with half amount of water and you get the mylk after which, the method of turning it into curd is just similar to above. This and other such pointers are available here.

Making the curd starter

Take small quantity of mylk to make the starter for the first time. If using peanut milk, rice milk or soy milk, boil them for 2-3 minutes and let the temperature come down until you can safely insert your figure into it. For cashew/almond/coconut milk, just warm the milk. Once this is done, either use the old vegan curd starter saved from the previous batch, or use one of the 3 options below to make the starter from scratch:

  1. Using Rejuvelac : Add 2-3 spoons of Rejuvelac in a small bowl of warm mylk and keep overnight. Rejuvelac is a home-made vegan pro-biotic drink (It is surprisingly easy-to-make).
  2. Using Chilli stems: Toss in 10-15 chilli stems into a small bowl of warm  mylk and keep overnight.
  3. Using plant based pro-biotic tablets (vsl#3 – available at any pharmacy store.

Setting the curd

  1. Boil peanut milk or soy milk let the milk boil for 2-3 minutes and then cool it down to a temperature so that you can safely insert your finger inside. For cashew/almond/coconut milk, just bring them to lukewarm temperature.
  2. To have good texture of cashew/almond/coconut curd, add 1tbsp cornflour or arrowroot (for 1-2 cups of milk) to small quantity of warm milk and add it back to the rest of the milk while heating. Keep stirring continuously with a spoon until the milk starts boiling or becomes thick.
  3. Add 2-3 spoons of starter (more depending on the quantity of mylk) and let it set overnight.
  4. It’s important not to disturb the curdling process till at least 8-10 hours.
  5. To get more sourness in the curd, keep it outside for longer than 10 hours.
  6. The texture of the curd improves after 2nd or 3rd batch.
  7. Once the curd is set, it can be saved in deep-freezer for a month to use as a starter for the next batch.  It stays fine for a month this way.

Other useful tips and resources on making vegan curd:

  • Video demonstration of peanut curd by Dr. Rupa Shah can be seen here. Peanut curd goes perfect with dishes such as raita, curd-rise, chat and butter milk, where in the added spices takes over the nutty taste.
  • If one needs to consume curd plain or with salt or sugar, then peanut+rice combo tastes awesome! Here the video demonstration for the same. In fact cashew or almond curd also works out perfect for the same purpose.
  • Recipe for Rejuvelac – a wonderful home-made pro-biotic drink, which is super-easy to make and also works as curd-starter.
  • Vegan curd How-to tutorial by Susmitha.
  • Another recipe for cashew and peanut based vegan yogurts by Harini at TongueTicklers.

At almost every Hyderabad Vegans monthly potluck or any other events, someone’s brought a curd dish (usually from peanut curd, sometimes cashew or soy curd). And, all the attendees – new/aspiring vegans as well as the old timers – will testify that it has come out yummy every time.

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Vegan Bazaar – a grand success!

The first ever Vegan Bazaar in Hyderabad on Feb 9th, 2014 witnessed a GRAND success!!

It’s difficult to precisely gauge the footfall, but based on several indicators such as number of leaflets taken away, we believe that we had as many as 400 visitors (within the span of 5-6 hours), many of whom were non-vegan. Except for 1-2 stalls, all the others were completely sold-out much before we wound up the event. The response we got from the commercial stall-owners was equally heartening; with some of them mentioning that this was the best experience they ever had in any event in the city! Moreover, all the items in the bazaar were prized very reasonably, proving that vegan food is very much cost-effective and sometimes even cheaper than the non-vegan couterparts! We thank Ms. Amala Akkineni for inaugurating the event. She then also gave an interview wherein she mentioned about how long since she’s been vegan and why.

You might want to take a glance at the space below, to know/recollect all the delightful moments and the delicious dishes that were presented in the bazaar :).

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All the entrants were asked to kindly register themselves by providing their names, Email IDs and contact numbers after which, were provided with a welcome kit that consisted of a leaflet showing WHY it is important to go vegan (for the animals, environment, health, etc.) and a booklet with the alternatives, recipes, etc to help with smooth vegan shift.

We also had as many as 15 books on various aspects of veganism on display that many people browsed through and noted down their names. There was also a separate table that displayed various off the shelf vegan products to make people aware of the wide availability of vegan options in the market.

Apple-Walnut crumbles pie, gluten free chocolate brownies, other bakery stuff

madhulika

Madhulika (an animal rights activitst), pretty well known for her culinary skills, had generously prepared varieties of desserts that also included the gluten-free ones. The apple walnut crumble pie was given with a tasty pineapple dip that made the dessert even grander. Being the first stall to have got sold out, the items did motivate the attendees to go check out the following stalls where the next was one that made people all inquisitive as it was.

Sesame based milk stall

ipshita

While most of us would not like to believe that sesame in itself is tasty, this milk made out of sesame had caught the eyes of many people. Almost everyone in the crowd had a glass of sesame milk on their plate. The feedback on the taste and quality of sesame milk was overwhelming, both to the organizers and to the owner of the stall, Ipshita, who along with her husband, has done a fabulous job in preparing the milk and adding flavors to it, besides managing the stall with the overflowing and curious crowd.

The Chocotarian stall

chocolate

Sweet is a taste nobody would get tired of. This was clearly depicted by a treat that MOST did not expect, something that everyone from children to adults enjoyed and relished at the bazaar: Chcolates! The stall was one of the biggest surprises to all the visitors, amusing all the chocolate lovers, in particular. There were close to ten flavors of chocolates in different forms, shapes and packaging. There was almost no visitor to have gone back home without tasting or buying at least one chocolate. The fact that they were all vegan, attracted a lot of attention among the visitors and kept the excitement and thrill steady enough to proceed to the stall after that which was.

Vegan Cheese spread sandwich stall

sandwich

This lip smacking cheese dripping from the middle of the sandwich has caught immense attention of the visitors as to how on earth can something like this be made dairy free. The small notes containing recipe of the cashew cheese spread were all grabbed by people in no time. A few samples of the cheese spread were also bought by interested visitors. Another interesting factor contributing to the fast sale of the sandwiches was the inclusion of healthy veggies along with cheese spread. Sowmya, who tirelessly made sandwiches for everyone, customized them with choices like cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber and a little of each. All in all, it was a filling and tasty experience that held up their curiosity levels high enough for the next.

All favorite, Ice cream stall

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The ice creams prepared by Berry’s were sold out in no time. There was a lot of curiosity among visitors as to the taste of the ice creams, since they were all soya milk based. The company named Berry’s has never disappointed us in the quality of his ice creams. Most of his flavors always remain unquestionably tasty to the extent that a non-vegan could NEVER make out they’re dairy free. Although not all of the visitors could get to taste it due to the limit of stock, they were happy enough to see something decorative in the.

Cookies and cakes stall

bakery

Amandine from O’ Delicacies bakery, impressed all the visitors, from kids to adults by giving them exactly what they need. Good health combined with taste. She’s mastered making birthday cakes (or for any other occasion), cupcakes, etc., so well. Her stall was one of those most crowded ones, hardly leaving her with time to taste the food at other stalls or to socialize with people at the event.

The authentic semiya paayasam

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A south-Indian event is never complete without a South-Indian dessert. To make sure this wish of people was fulfilled as well, Mr. Satyanarayana, accompanied by his wife, proved to everyone how coconut milk can be easily used to make. Being one of the coolest members of the group, Mr. Satyanarayana and his wife had brought semiya paayasam made out of coconut milk. The paayasam was just perfect with the right quantity of sugar and coconut milk (of course with those few crunchiness of nuts added, made it even richer!!).

Mac & cheese and Shahi Tofu

sejal

Quite surely readers could be wondering how Macaroni with Cheese, would have tasted, but believe me, it was a LOT better than the one made of dairy – A lot lighter on you and a lot healthie. Shahi Tofu was remarkable as well. It was served with Jowari rotis and made a complete lunch to all those who had opted to have it under the main course :). Although Sejal, the chef was busy with interacting with people and her 10 month old (born vegan) baby, she indeed did a great job managing to prepare all of this before rushing to the venue. She had prepared 4 kg of each Macaroni with cheese and Shahi Tofu and both hit a complete rock bottom at the end of the Bazaar!

Curd Rice

While this was covering up most of it for the north Indian part, a meal is never complete for a South Indian without…..

curdrice

Yes! (vegan) curd rice! This gorgeous and pretty looking curd rice stall was indeed put up by Manpreeth Singh & his wife Gagan. The curd was made out of peanuts and a very simple tadka made it look so delightful that people have started drooling at the very sight of it. There was a sumptuous quantity served on every plate that made sure that people who wanted to fill their stomach, would surely not go disappointed. The pomegranate seeds and grated carrot added to the lusciousness. People were mesmerized by the different flavors that their tongue experienced.

Soya milk and soya milk based buttermilk stall

soymilk

In the midst of all yummy flavors enjoyed by people, this came as a surprise (stall also being placed in the middle of the shelter). The excitement that showed on people faces was worth a click! The butter milk was indomitable, hats off to this lady and her husband who make soya milk and other (many) soya based snacks, sweets, etc., at home (Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad). Most people who had attended went back carrying at least little of that soya milk home. Now whether you use the milk for tea, coffee, sweets or you let it become curd and use it or you break it using lemon and use it (as tofu), anything would end up as a treat to your tummy and taste buds :).

Ahaar Kuteer millet based food stall

While we speak about natural and homemade food here, we should be addressing concerns of those looking for completely healthy and easily digestible food. Here is it for you in the form of…

aahaar kuteer

Now what all was there inside those huge containers, is a lot to explain, not due to the variety, but due to the fineness in the taste of the few varieties that were there. Ahaar Kuteer, one of the most vegan friendly restaurants in Hyderabad, located in Begumpet, was successful enough in having their entire food sold out. Few of their delicacies included millet based halwa (that you can see in the picture), milled based upma and millet based vadas (that were again, a super hit of the day), served with chutney. A perfect example of health+taste, this is! Every one of you should time out of your weekend and visit this place :).

Lemon cakes with icing, sold at a superfast speed

While people were busy indulging into this combination of health+taste, there were others quickly grabbing stuff at another stall.

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While Visala, this young lady in the picture, was busy explaining to people the what, why and how of the concept of veganism, her visitors were all pouncing over the lemon cakes and she was all set with the will and readiness to go back home and get a fresh (2nd) batch of lemon cakes with icing. There could be no competition to this and her endeavors and enthusiasm, in taking up the preparation and management of the entire stall, were very much appreciated. Also, kudos to her mother who stood by her to support and help her all the time! This being the last stall in the bazaar, I definitely do not want to end the narration of this wonderful journey this way.

Herbal shampoo powder, bath powder

This was an overdose of food, I know!! There was something else that caught people’s eyes. Yes, something that most women, in particular would be curious to take a look at…

saisampada

These little bags of goodness created so much of excitement among the crowd that they actually ended up spending quite a long time, around the stall! We all know how the word “herbal” rings bells of natural and eco-friendly thoughts in our mind :). There were bath powders, shampoo powders, face powders (replacing face washes), grey hair concealers, etc., all of these, 100% natural. We always wish everything was natural in the world, don’t we? Well… I’m not sure about everything, but we sure did have something in the bazaar that was a super duper hit…

A show of the many vegan lifestyle products available in the market

lifestyle products1

The stall by IAMO Organics presented and made available for sale a lot of goodies that we can all pretty conveniently find in the super markets, grocery stores, etc. Apart from this, we also had a few vegan products by Jiva Organics, T-shirts with Vegan logo by Karma over Dogma etc.,

The crowd went back home absolutely cheerful and happy, totally satisfied with the food, the lifestyle products, and most importantly, the vegan message below:

Being vegan is a win-win-win proposition, in terms of human health, environmental sustainability and animal suffering avoidance.

While all the stalls mentioned were sold out as mentioned, have you ever wondered who had been behind making sure all went well at the bazaar, hassle free for both the stall owners and the visitors? It’s certainly not fair to forget them!! I’m pretty sure I’m missing out a lot of names but here are few of them starting with Pulkit who was busy explaining the concept of veganism until his throat had gone dry; Rekha who helped many arrange their stalls and manage them for a while when the stall owners wanted to take a round of the bazaar themselves and have their lunch; Varenya (Rekha’s 11 year old daughter, who’s a passionate and enthusiastic vegan) who was the star of the bazaar with all her energies put into the event, the busy bee who was in a lot of demand; Manpreeth Singh who helped with a number of logistical needs; Amita Desai who had helped us spread the word by media co-ordination and arranging press meets pre-event; Abhijit who helped in directing people to the venue, taking phone calls and was a right hand to most stall owners who required help; Srihari Kolachina who helped well at the registration counter; Gaurav, who again helped at cashew cheese sandwich stall by getting some supplies when everything but the cheese was over; Mr. Manipal Reddy’s daughter & her friend who had done an extremely great job in managing the crowd and visitors at the Macaroni & Cheese and Shahi tofu stall put up by Sejal and many more. A HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO ALL OF THEM!!! 🙂

Wondering when the next bazaar is going to be? Well, keep a tab on the Hyderabad Vegans Facebook group and this blog. It’s not far away :).

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