Veggie versions of world cuisine

Veggie versions of world cuisine

Gateaux Piment

Being a vegetarian has its drawbacks, especially if you love travelling. You don’t always get the ‘vegetarian-version’ of the authentic dishes, so I took it upon myself to learn how to make them. 

I purchased cookbooks, watched videos and learnt about various cuisines just to satisfy my craving. And because of my husband’s job, we travelled all over the world. This helped me learn more about cuisines from around the world. When he would go to work, I would attend cooking classes and recreate the dish at home. 

Though I took a course in Home Science, I am a jewellery design by profession. I never took cooking too seriously. However, because of my training as a designer, I definitely look at cooking through similiar vision, be it the plating or the balance of flavours. Though I wouldn’t exactly term it as ‘deconstruction’, the concept of cooking and designing is the same. The riot of colours makes me happy. 

One of my favourite things about cooking is sourcing the ingredients. I love going down to the nearby market and exploring the new things available for the day. I think that happiness translates into the food that I make.

When I moved to Bengaluru three years ago, a friend of mine asked me to help him with a project. He wanted me to come in as a food stylist even though I have no professional background in it. Long story short, I was asked to do a screen test when I went there and I started hosting a cooking show for television. 

Thanks to my new love interest in cooking, I’ve realised that there’s so much to experiment with. Mexican cuisine is one of my favourites. I love that there are so many ingredients to play with. Each dish has so many layers, flavours and texture to it. 

Thai food is my other favourite. The cuisine appeals to me because of the flavours palate and there’s so much more you can do with one dish. My children absolutely love it too. 

The recipe for the week is a dish from Mauritius called Gateaux Piment. It’s similar to the Indian version of dal vada but what makes it different here is the addition of green onions which gives it the unique aroma and taste. It’s a great tea-time snack that you can enjoy with your friends and family. 

Rupa Balachandar

Gateaux Piment

  • Chana dal, 1 cup, soaked in water for 30 mins
  • Parsley or coriander leaves, 2 to 3 sprigs
  • Chopped spring onion, 2 to 3
  • Chopped green chillies, 2 to 3
  • Red chilli, 1 (optional)
  • Oil for deep drying
  • Salt to taste    


  • Add the onion, green chillies, red chilli, drained dal and salt. Pulse in your blender/mixer until you get a thick paste, where the texture is like sand, don’t add any extra water, just keep pulsing till you achieve the texture.
  • Heat oil in a large kadhai, and place a spoonful of the batter into the oil and cook on medium low heat until they are golden brown.
  • Remove on to absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
  • Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.