Something for the veggie sweet tooth

Vegan Treats

Many vegetarians give up on their sweet tooth, looking at the ingredients in conventional desserts. Preeti Verma Lal suggests some simple twists for a veggie appeal.

It is Saturday morning. You have just rubbed sleep off your eyes. Last night’s dream has already faded. You sit down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper to look at the tales that are pouring in from around the world.

Hey, wait! Do you have a marshmallow in hand? Or, are you gulping bottled juice? Or, are you satiating your cravings with some jellied dessert? Sorry, vegetarians, I hate to be an early morning spoilsport, but it’s time you heard the truth. If you think marshmallow is merely a sweet sin, think again. It has gelatin, a protein derived from bones, cartilage, tendons and skin of animals.

That bottled juice probably has carmine made of ground cochineal (an insect) and the jellied dessert might have a hint of isinglass, which is made from the air bladder of sturgeon.

Unfortunately, what you think is vegetarian might not really be vegetarian. No, I am not talking about eggs here. Instead, I am talking of hidden animal byproducts. Like, gelatin in ice cream. Animal tallow in cheese. Suet (hard white fat around kidneys, loins of animals) in pastries. A lot of animal byproducts are regularly used in baked and processed food, alcoholic beverages and fruit preservatives.

Do not be disheartened, though. You need not pull out your sweet tooth in distress. There are real vegetarian alternatives. Chef Sahil Arora, executive chef, Jaipur Marriott, replaces gelatin with kanten, which is made of seaweed. He suggests replacing egg in cakes with a combination of condensed milk, butter and yoghurt.

For a pure vegetarian dessert, chef Abhishek Basu, executive chef, The Park, New Delhi, uses agar instead of gelatin. Shun maida and use whole wheat flour for that extra healthy touch. Apple sauce or a fruit puree is a good alternative to butter, so is coconut oil. “Most of the ingredients are easily available,” adds Abhishek.

Chocolate buckwheat cake


Buckwheat flour:    200 gm
Castor sugar     :    200 gm
Cocoa powder   :    200 gm
Almond powder :    100 gm
Baking powder  :        3 gm
Salt                   :        5 gm
Coconut milk     :    400 ml
Milkmaid            :    100 ml
Clarified butter  :    300 m
Yoghurt             :      50 gm


Sieve buck wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking flour, almond powder and salt together and keep it aside. In a bowl, mix coconut milk, milkmaid, butter, sugar and yoghurt. Whisk thoroughly till the sugar dissolves. Add the sifted flour by cutting and folding. Grease the pan and put the mixture in it. Bake in preheated oven at 175 degree Celsius for 25-30 minutes.

Eggless brownie


Milk                   :    250 ml
Oil                     :    125 ml
Melted butter    :    125 ml
Sugar                :    250 gm
Refined flour      :    260 gm
Cocoa powder   :      40 gm
Baking powder  :        4 gm
Chocolate          :    100 gm
Walnuts             :      50 gm
Cashew nuts     :      50 gm


Mix milk, oil, butter, sugar to a smooth consistency in a bowl. Sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Melt chocolate on a double boiler and mix it with the mixture of milk, butter and sugar. After mixing it well, add the flour mixture by cutting and folding. This method helps trap all the air in the mixture. Then, add the nuts. Put this mixture in a well-greased tray in a preheated oven and bake it at 170 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes.
Recipes courtesy: Chef Sahil Arora,  executive chef, Jaipur Marriott

Jelly water chestnut with coconut cream


Water chestnut    :    80 gm
Tapioca flour         :    20 gm
Coconut milk         :  100 ml
Annar syrup          :    10 ml
Mint sprig             :    for garnish
Sugar syrup          :    to taste


Cut water chestnut into cubes. Toss it in annar syrup to give it colour. Coat it in tapioca flour and poach it in boiling water till cooked. Take it out; put it in cold water and strain. Sweeten the coconut milk with sugar syrup and put the dumplings into the same. Serve it chilled with a sprig of mint.

Recipe courtesy: Chef Abhishek Basu, executive chef, The Park, New Delhi

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