Hyderabadi cuisine is an amalgamation of various cuisines, including Mughlai, Arabic and Turkish. Many of the region’s staple dishes include some form of meat; however, vegetables are also used in abundance in home cooking.
Hyderabad’s vegetable dishes are far from bland. The locals are expertly skilled in blending herbs and spices together and adding them to vegetable dishes to enhance the flavour. Other key ingredients added to vegetable dishes include peanuts and sesame seeds (for texture), as well as coconut and tamarind.
One example of a tasty Hyderabadi vegetable dish is Bagara Baingan, which comprises of young aubergines which are stuffed with numerous ingredients and cooked in a creamy paste. Typical ingredients used to stuff the aubergines include grated coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander and red chilli pepper. When blended together, these ingredients create an intense flavour and aroma.
Another vegetarian dish often prepared by Hyderabadi Muslims is TamatekaKut. This is an egg and tomato curry made using ripe tomatoes and served alongside a Biryani, Hyderabad’s most famous dish. Of course, numerous herbs and spices are added to the curry to give it flavour, including fresh coriander, fresh mint, cumin seeds, cumin powder, red chilli powder and ginger-garlic paste.
During the winter, a common go-to dish is Sem Ki Phalli KaSalan. The main ingredient to this dish is the humble broad bean, which is harvested namely during the cooler months. Broad beans are packed full of nutrients and are known to be a good source of zinc, iron, copper and potassium. Sem Ki Phalli KaSalan is a relatively simple dish, prepared by combining cooked broad beans with red chilli powder, turmeric, onion and coriander.
A tanga tangy dish sure to tantalise the taste buds is Khatti Dal, which is prepared using either Masoor Dal or Wither Toor Dal. This dish is sometimes known as ‘Urdu’ (meaning ‘sour’) due to the addition of tamarind and lemon juice. Turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, white cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies form the base of this dish, which has a liquid consistency much like a soup. Khatti Dal is often treated as a side dish and enjoyed with other vegetable dishes or alongside rice and meat. Sometimes, it is served with Kachumbar, which is a raw onion salad.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult trying to find an Indian restaurant in the UK which produces such authentic, mouth-watering vegetable dishes similar to those mentioned above. There are many vegetarians who feel let down by the choice of meals on offer when they visit their local curry house, often faced with the choice of a Vegetable Korma or Tikka Masala – and not much else.
Thankfully, there are a number of fine Indian restaurants in London that serve authentic and innovative Indian fare guaranteed to wow all the senses. Chefs give as much attention to vegetable dishes as they do meat ones, meaning vegetarians will not leave disappointed. And of course, you don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy vegetable dishes – you may choose to enjoy one as a starter or order one to complement a meaty main course.