Image courtesy - https://www.veganricha.com
You can indulge in making a variety of traditional dairy sweets using plant-based ingredients. You can re-create traditional dairy-rich sweets using plant-based ingredients, as a matter of fact. All the sweets are authored by a Vegan creator named ‘Vegan Richa’. She lives in Seattle and has been featured in international forums like Huffington Post, Oprah’s Show, etc. Her wonderfully curated plant-based recipes have been turned into a book, all together.
Let me introduce 4 authentic Diwali recipes that can be done using plant-based ingredients. I will have the section curated as Part 1 and Part 2.
Vegan Ras Malai Cake
Ras Malai is a decadent Bengali sweet made from dairy-rich chenna. Chenna is done by curding full-fat creamy milk. With a few simple variations, you can make this indulgent sweet dairy-free too. So, let us get started with the ingredients and the method of preparation:
For the Malai:-
- Raw cashews- ½ a cup
- 6-7 raw pistachios
- 1 cup of rose water (You can boil a few dried rose petals in a cup of water; this can add to a delectable flavor)
- 3-4 strands of saffron
- Cane sugar or raw sugar- 5-6 tablespoons (You can powder it up)
- ¼ tsp of salt
- Cardamon seeds from a pod
For the Malai cake:-
- ½ a cup of raw cashews (Use a heaping cup to measure the quantity of cashew nuts that you take for the recipe)
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch (tapioca starch)
- Cardamom seeds extracted from one pod of cardamom
- 3 or 4 strands of Saffron
- ½ a cup of almond flour
- 1 big pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp of vegan cream cheese
2-3 tsp of vegan butter (You can use avocado butter available to you from V Vegano itself, log in to https://www.vvegano.com)
- 1/4th cup of powdered sugar
For the garnishing:
- Almonds- slivered
- Raw pistachios chopped- 1 tbsp
Method of preparation:
- For the milk, you soak ½ a cup of cashews and raw pistachios overnight. Or, you soak both nuts for at least four 4 hours. You must drain the water. You can add to the blender along with sweetened dates or cane sugar. You blend it up to get a rich creamy version of dairy-free milk.
- For cashew-based flour, this is what you must ideally do. You can pulse raw cashews, cornstarch, cardamom seeds, and saffron strands. Keep pulsing until you get a fine powder. If you have un-pulsed cashews, remove them, then try pulsing the mixture a few more times.
- To a large bowl, add the mix, almond flour, creamy cheese, salt, butter, and sugar. Give the ingredients a lump-free mix. You can use an electronic whisker. This way, you can whip up all the ingredients like dough.
- Shallow grease a baking dish. You can pour the dough into square or rectangle edges. You can grease your palm with a little oil so that the dough mix doesn’t stick to its sides or edges.
- Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit or 135 degrees Celsius in a convection oven for about 25-30 minutes. You can also bake the dough in a regular oven. The dough must look completely dry on top and must have lightened in its color.
- You can now take the baking pan out and allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes or so. Cut into square or larger rectangular pieces. The center must feel soft. But make sure, it doesn’t crumble.
- Pour the cashew sauce mix to submerge into the cake.
- Chill for 5-6 hours.
- Serve fresh and garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios.
Vegan-based Almond Halwa
Almond halwa is otherwise known as ‘Badam Halwa’. This is a thick and creamy texture made from the goodness of almonds and ghee. Let us have a look at how this particular recipe can be veganized. Let us get started with the ingredients and the method of preparation:
- Water - 3 to 8 tablespoons
- Use 3 tablespoons of water for crumbly halwa. Invariably you can also make ladoos using the same.
- ½ a cup of water roughly measuring 8 tablespoons for a thin pudding-like halwa
- 1/3rd cup for a thicker proportion of halwa
- 1/3rd cup of sugar (You can use cane/ coconut sugar. Jaggery powder can also be used here)
- 3 drops of lemon juice
- 1/8th tsp salt
- For the flavors, you can use cardamom seeds or 6-8 saffron strands/ 1/4th tsp cinnamon powder/ ½ tsp rose-water
- 1 cup of almond flour
Method of preparation:
- You can use a circular aluminum cup that fits into your cooker. Firstly add sugar, lime juice, cardamom seeds/ saffron strands. Now, give all the ingredients a gentle mix.
- To the mixture, add the almond flour. You can add water in batches to stir into a lump-free paste. For a thinner consistency, you can add water and use a whisk.
- The batter is now ready. Pour 1.5 cups of water inside your steamer cooker or the instant pot as you would like to call it.
- Place the dish into the steamer basket. Lower the lid using a casket. And close the lid.
- Pressure cook at high flame for about 5 minutes. Now, allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Carefully, remove the dish container from the steamer and garnish with almonds, pistachios, and sweetened dates. The nuts and dry fruits can be slivered or chopped. Serve fresh!
We will look at a few more recipes in Diwali Sweets- Plant based - Part 2. Till then, stay tuned!
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