Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vegan Birthday Surprise at 022, Trident

So I have the best friends ever. This is why: On my birthday last week, I was whisked off to the Trident in Mumbai for a surprise birthday dinner by my friend Shreya and her husband Naresh. The sushi chef at 022 had prepared a beautiful vegan sushi platter with avocado, shitake mushroom and cucumber. The patisserie chef, Tanisha Ravindra pulled out all the stops with her vegan dark chocolate cake- decorated on top with a stiletto (this is Shreya's way of hinting that I may have slight shoe addiction problem... :P ). Seriously, if you want to eat the best vegan cake in town- Tanisha's your man.

For the main course there was a red curry and shitake mushroom and broccoli stir fry in black bean sauce with jasmine rice. And of course the Pina Coladas made the evening one I will remember for a very very long time. Thanks Shreya and Naresh- I owe you guys one! :)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Animal Shaped Paper Clips from HitPlay

Bunny Clips

These little paper clips in animal shapes are so adorable. They come in cow, elephant, bunny, hippo and pig shapes. At just Rs 199 for a box of 20- these could make a great gift office gift.  Buy them online at

Elephant Clips
Pig Clips

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pink and Blue Vegan Thongs for the Rains!

Vegan footwear just got cuter! These candy colored plastic thongs are all weather, all terrain shoes and are perfect for the Indian Monsoon. The rainy season promises to be slushy and muddy- so put away your faux leather pretties and make practicality your best friend. 

At Rs 200 a pair, you can find these on the street, opposite Globus on Hill Road (Bandra, Mumbai). And if pink is not your color do not despair! These rain-proof flats come in combinations of black and blue as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vegan Cashew and Peanut Butter from Fabindia

Honestly, the cashew butter is insanely good. I tried it for the first time yesterday and I was sold. It is creamy and sticky and just bursts with the sweet and salty flavor of cashew nuts. The peanut butter is pretty kickass too. Thank you Fabindia!

The Cashew Butter is Rs 200 for 150g and the Peanut Butter is Rs 100 for 150g. Totally worth every penny. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vegan Pizza at Ray's Cafe and Pizzeria

Ray's Cafe and Pizzera is a cute little pizza parlour tucked away behind Nature's Basket on Hill Road (Bandra W) in Mumbai. Their pizzas have a dangerously thin "Skinny" crust (although I prefer the slightly thicker regular crust) with perfectly seasoned toppings and a wide range of combinations to cater almost anyone who walks through their doors. They have pizzas without cheese, old-style pizzas without sauce, pastas, sandwiches, burgers and and range of excellent sides and coolers!

I love Ray's for their special vegan menus (see below). Their Hearty Vegan pizza with spinach and artichokes (and I like to add mushrooms on mine) is an absolute delight. I never miss the cheese because the sauce, artichokes and spinach combine to give the pizza a creamy texture of their own. The grilled eggplant pizza with garlic and basil is also finger- lickin' good! And Ray's does not scrimp with their extra virgin olive oil at all!

I suggest go to Ray's with a bunch of vegan and non-vegan friends and order one of everything- a couple of vegan pizzas, a Veganopoly Sandwich, a couple of vegan salads, spaghetti with fresh tomato & herbs, some fries, a plate of onion rings and a pitcher of Lemon Grass Dash!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vegan Belts from Simply Kitsch

It's time to ditch those leather belts and let cows hold on to their skin! These bright and quirky belts from Simple Kitsch are a damned good reason to give up animal skins this monsoon. The range is almost entirely vegan- but be sure to check with designer Ashish Kumar if the belt you're buying is silk-free or not (some of the belts may have silk patches). Simply Kitsch products are made of textile leftovers making it a completely sustainable fashion brand. 

Simply Kitsch also makes cute cotton bags and pouches that are sure to brighten up any outift. And with the grey season ahead we need all the color we can get!


You can buy Simply Kitsch accessories at 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Vegetarian Bengali Thali from Bhojohori Manna

Bengali food is one of those cuisines where the intensity of the flavors stays with you long after the meal is over. I love Bong food for that distinct flavor of mustard oil and mustard seeds, that feeling of sleepy contentment from poppy seeds and the sweetness of jaggery mixed with the heat of fresh green chillies.

One of my favorite Bong restaurants is Bhojohori Manna. This is a quaint little place tucked away in a lane in Oshiwara in Mumbai. The first restaurant opened up in Kolkata some years back, and they have since set up shop in several cities in India. In Mumbai, the staff is not half as friendly and pleasant but the food is still awesome! Back in college this was an excellent choice for lunch with friends, because of it's quick service and pricing. 

Even now, their vegetarian thali is one of my favorite food choices in the city. The veg thali comes in two sizes- mini and regular. The mini thali is enough for two people so don't order the regular sized meal unless you can eat a LOT!

Aloo Dom and Luchi

For a Bong food virgin this promises to be an interesting experience- the dishes are cooked with some unusual ingredients like raw banana, bitter gourd, banana flower, ridge gourd, drumsticks, bay leaves, lots of mustard oil and poppy seeds! :O

My top picks at Bhojohori Manna are- 
  • Aloo Dom aar Luchi- the spicy tangy potato curry with fluffy hot luchis- best eaten with the gandharaj lebu (a lime that Bengalis swear by for its aroma) and green chillies. 
  • Shukto- A mixed vegetable that is loved for its bitter-sweet after taste! Made with veggies like brinjal, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, raw banana, string beans, mustard and poppy seeds this dish has a pretty unique flavor. (Make sure to ask for the one not cooked in ghee though!) 
  • Aamer Chatney- The mango chutney is sweet, spicy and sticky in just the right degrees.
  • Chholar Dal- This dal is cooked with Bengal Gram or Chana Dal and has a slight peppery sweet flavor.
Clockwise from left: Mochar Ghonto, Basanti Pulao, Steamed Rice, Shukto, Aamer Chatney

Clockwise from left: Luchi, Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Dom, Jhoodi Bhaaja, Chholar Daal, Centre: Basanti Pulao

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vegan Bok Choy & Mushroom Stir Fry

-by guest blogger Alokananda Dasgupta

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: SERVES 2 to 3

  • 1  onion chopped into big pieces 
  • 7 or 8 cloves  of chopped garlic . You can leave a couple of them whole.
  • 1-2 thumb-size pieces of ginger, sliced into thin pieces
  • 3 or 4  small fresh red chili, sliced, OR chili flakes
  • 2 cups of mushrooms  sliced or left in halves or quarters.
  • 1 red or green pepper, sliced into broad strips
  • 6 or 7 leaves of bok choy (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds)
  •  3 table spoons of dark soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon of Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce (shhhhhhh….)
  • 1 table spoon of sugar
  • 1 tea spoon of regular white vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper according to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of Vegetable/Olive/Sesame oil

Heat a large cooking pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of  oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and chillies and stir-fry just until they are aromatic for  about 30 seconds. Then add the onions and the green or red peppers and stir-fry until they turn glossy and bright for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and let the onions caramelize a bit. After this add the bok choy and mushrooms and  stir-fry for about 1 to 2 minutes more.Continue stir-frying until the vegetables are all tender-crisp for about 2 minutes more. To this add the  soy sauce, vinegar and  Maggie tomato sauce  and stir-fry until the vegetables all look lightly glazed with sauce for about 1 minute more. Add salt and pepper to taste.Transfer the stir-fried vegetables to a heated serving dish. Garnish with red chillies and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vegan Picks from Eat Around the Corner

Eat Around the Corner is home to some of the quickest, cheapest, most delicious vegan food in Mumbai. They have fresh fruit juices, a variety of vegan salads, cheese-less pastas, vegan sandwiches, hot meals with great Mexican, Oriental and Italian dishes, and great loos! (Yes, if you lived in Bandra you'd know that a nice clean loo is pretty hard to find in a restaurant). The patisserie chef has even agreed to make me a vegan dessert if I give him enough notice- which I totally intend to do this weekend!

My top picks at Eat Around the Corner: The Falafel Wrap with really creamy garlicky hummus, the Tomato and Avocado Sandwich (toasted please!), the Organic Soba Noodle & Mushroom Salad, watermelon juice, the Tofu & Pok Choy in Black Bean Sauce, and the Spanish Tomato Rice!

Tofu & Pok Choy in Black Bean Sauce, Stir Fried Veggies and Fried Rice with Kidney Beans

Organic Soba Noodle & Mushroom Salad

Macaroni and Bean Salad (Left), Pasta Pesto Salad (Center)

Thai Vegetable Green Curry (Left) and Oriental Stir Fry Veggies (Right)

Hot "Buttered" Toast Anyone?

I know that as a vegan one of the things I really miss is hot buttered toast in the mornings. Which is why I got really excited when I spotted some vegan butter at Nature's Basket the other day! (India doesn't yet have very many options for good dairy-free butter substitutes) The Nuttelex range (imported from Australia) is dairy, milk & lactose free; sucrose & egg free; nut oil free; gluten free (there’s no wheat, no rye, no barley or malt) and totally yeast free. Available at Nature's Basket for Rs 497 for a 500 gm pack, this is definitely going to be worth it when you can spread a generous portion of it on toast for breakfast!

Nuttelex has six nutritious natural seed oil spreads- Original, Lite, Olive, Olive Lite, Kosher, Pulse.