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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Appliances in a Vegan Kitchen


You will be impressed how some kitchen appliances can help you “discover” the marvel of plant foods and also help you transition into a conscious, compassionate eater, aka, a vegan. Investment in these appliances, in the long run, is bound to reduce your medicine bills or even eliminate them! No, these are not flimsy claims; this is exactly what has been happening to healthy vegan eaters all over the world! You just need to type the key words, “reversing disease through diet” on the search engine and find out what we are talking!

Without further ado, we present to you a list of desirable kitchen appliances in a vegan household; for all practical purposes, the list has been classified into “need to have” appliances and “good to have” appliances. We are not recommending specific brands simply because the market is too diverse and has varieties available to suit every pocket and fit into every kitchen space.

Need to have appliances in a vegan kitchen: This list is an imperative and many kitchens will already have them; however, it is another thing to be consciously aware of how to use them to the vegan advantage. Let’s find out.

1) Blender: Blending different plant ingredients to produce the most tasty and healthy concoctions to eat raw or cooked are perhaps the most powerful contribution that vegan food specialists and experimentalists have made to the history of cooking. Recently we were at an almost organic-vegan restaurant in Puttaparthi called, Swamy’s Kitchen and the proprietor, an accomplished chef, whisked up for us this heavenly raw-vegan dessert made of dates, coconut, etc. using his blender.

Blender made “Krsna’s Special” – A gluten free-raw-vegan dessert from “Swamy’s Kitchen”, Puttaparthi

Here are some important tasks that a blender can do for you: help you to make vegan milk, vegan cheese, raw-vegan ice cream, plant/nut butter, vegan soups, raw-vegan cakes, hummus, smoothies, juices, cake batters, bread batters, and whatever, wherever else your creativity takes you!   

The blender can range from the most basic type to the powerful VitaMix. If you are ready to invest in a VitaMix, it will help to read this review at vegancoach.com.


2) Oven: You will find quite a bit of baked vegan goods of daily consumption in the market these days. However, it is another thing to bake your own cookies, cakes, muffins, pizzas, quiche, and so on. Even the most basic oven is available with the “broil” and “toast” settings that can help you make impressive vegan starters or party nibbles at home. In doing your own baking and grilling, you can ensure that the ingredients are healthy and free of artificial colors, preservatives, and fragrances. If you are a gluten free vegan, your oven is of great help that lets you enjoy all the baked pleasures.

Homemade gluten free-vegan banana-almond bread baked in the oven topped with cashew butter made in the blender

However, do make one thing sure that you do not buy the “microwave” oven and if you have one already, it is advisable to chalk out a plan to dispose it. You can read all about the hazards of microwave food in this paper entitled, Microwaves and Microwave Ovens and in this article entitled, Microwave ovens destroy the nutritional value of your food. Two significant findings of the studies on microwave cooking has been that first, the nutrients in microwave foods are greatly destroyed and second, microwave food has been found to contain traces of cancer-causing substances called carcinogens. So if you are eating broccoli because it contains a high level of anti-cancer properties, be informed that microwaved broccoli would have lost all of that and in addition would have introduced carcinogens in the brocoli!

While shopping for an oven, what you should be looking out for is the “OTG” (Oven Toaster Griller) and not the “microwave” oven.


3) Iron tawa and karahi: Every Indian kitchen has a tawa and a karahi but what is being emphasized here is that you must ensure they are made of iron. Teflon-coated tawas and karahis sold as “non-stick” and one that aids “oil-free” cooking is a big selling gimmick aided by large advertising budgets. The substances used to make coated cookware are highly controversial where studies have indicated that heating the coated cookware at certain temperatures emit poisonous gasses and toxic particles. Over regular use, as the “coating” peels off, you are exposed to higher risks. You can read a summary of the issue in this article entitled, Be informed – Non-stick pans pose danger. Remember that before the advent of teflon-coated cookware, our mothers and grandmothers made excellent dosas, pancakes, and low-oil food, using tested and safe kitchen techniques.

Low-fat gram flour pancake cooking on an iron tawa using Grandmas’s onion treatment method to prevent sticking
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Good to have appliances in a vegan kitchen: This is a small list consisting of two appliances that are nice to have around in a vegan kitchen, although not crucial to vegan cooking. Let’s find out.

1) Steamer: Your pressure cooker without the whistle can do much of the streaming for you. However, a streamer with a rice pot and a vegetable rack, set exclusively for steaming jobs, is a cool appliance to have in the kitchen. Besides, the presence of a steamer encourages you to have more of steamed vegetables, a must for a healthy vegan.

Steamer steamed vegetables topped with tofu-black pepper sauce made in the blender

Here are some commonly known benefits of steaming food in a steamer: retention of much of the food’s nutritional value, shape, texture, color, natural taste; and prevention of the food from getting over-cooked.


2) Ice cream maker: You can make fantastic vegan ice cream using your blender and refrigerator with the very reliable blending-freezing-blending method repeated a few times; however if you want an appliance set for the express purpose of making ice creams, do know that the ice cream maker is available.

Homemade Vegan Blueberry Ice cream prepared in the Ice Cream Maker. Photograph courtesy: Urban Vegan blog. Click the photo for details.
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“Your life does matter. It always matters whether you reach out in friendship or lash out in anger. It always matters whether you live with compassion and awareness or whether you succumb to distractions and trivia. It always matters how you treat other people, how you treat animals, and how you treat yourself. It always matters what you do. It always matters what you say. And it always matters what you eat.” ~John Robbins in his book, The Food Revolution~ (John Robbins was the heir to Baskin-Robbins, the world's largest ice cream company; but he rejected it to live according to his own values.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

‘Green Theory’ Vegan-friendly, Pet-friendly, Vegetarian Restaurant and Café, Bangalore


For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

We have opined on previous occasions that for a vegetarian restaurant to be “vegan-friendly”, the most important ingredient is the attitude of the service staff. A large number of vegetarian dishes are vegan anyway; yet, as vegans we want to ensure that our food is free from animal milk and its derivatives, egg, and honey. So, is the service staff at the restaurant willing to understand what we want? Are they willing to veganize our food? If the answer to these two questions is a “yes”, then we are most certainly likely to enjoy our food at the restaurant and recommend it to others.


The name “Green Theory” sounded exotic. How “green” is this theory, we wanted to find out! It turned out to be quite impressive and certainly needs to be recommended. The first thing that strikes you at Green Theory is that most of the service staff understands what vegan is, thanks to vegan counterparts who have visited this place before! Next is the staff’s attitude of helpfulness that really makes you feel “at home”. You also have the affable proprietor Bikas, who is most helpful in case you are stuck while planning the order. Need we say more because once at this place, you simply feel like lounging here a “little while longer”; the sitting area, especially the outdoor with the light natural breeze is inviting.

And, if you have pet/s, pampered to the extent that you like to take them out for joyrides or if you have ever harbored even an iota of fret that they are not allowed in shopping malls and restaurants, then there’s exiting news here! Green Theory does not restrict entry to your pampered pet in their outer sitting area! Of course, your companion animal should be willing to sit at the restaurant like a “good” girl” or “good boy” and you should be vigilant about ensuring that.

Coming back to food at Green Theory, there are a few ingredients used at the restaurant that we would like to mention. These are stuff that vegans have helped make popular all over the world: avocado, tofu, and soy milk. On analyzing the menu further, we find that avocado has been used to make a soup, dip, and juice; tofu has been used to make the burger patty, pizza, pasta, and a main course gravy; and soy milk has been used to make smoothies and coffee upon request. Here are pictures of some of the food we had at Green Theory.

Chilled Avocado Soup with Cumin
Spicy Tofu Pizza (veganized by omitting the animal-based cheese)
Grilled Tofu Burger
Broccoli, Zucchini, and Peanut Stir Fried Salad
Three Bean Curry with Rice

We dunk down all of this food with juices, smoothies, and tea! The cucumber with lemon, carrot with ginger, and avocado juices were very fresh, the mixed fruit smoothie made from soy milk was quite filling, and the orange tea was absolutely aromatic. You can click this link on the Zomato site for a peek into the main course menu at Green Theory.

Contact details
Address: 15 Convent Road, Off Residency Road, Landmark: Near Konark Hotel, Bangalore – 560025
Phone: 080-41663836 and 8861435956
Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/greentheory

Timings
Open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 11pm, all days in the week.

“What we eat very much affects the state of our health, so if we add in nutrition that supports healing while cutting out foods that create havoc, we can really change the course of our lives for the better. Here's the bottom line: Animal protein seems to greatly contribute to diseases of nearly every type, including cancer, and a plant-based (vegan) diet is not only good insofar as prevention, but it could also be curative.” ~Kathy Freston, Bestselling Author, and Health and Wellness Activist
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