As early as 3,500 years ago, Hindu culture began to encourage the abstinence of eating meat. Although strict rules were not implemented, the sages encouraged the masses to consume vegetarian food for great bodily and spiritual reward. As war, famine and drought became more intense in the Indian subcontinent, beef became prohibited. Incredibly useful, load bearing animals, cows became important beasts of burden and were vital for the survival of kingdoms, cultures and farming.
At Tandoor Saigon, you will find not only some of the most delicious Indian food in Saigon, but you’ll also discover dishes that are among the best vegetarian food in Ho Chi Minh City. Additionally, most vegetable-based dishes at Tandoor Saigon are cooked without ghee or clarified butter, making Tandoor one of the best restaurants for vegan food in Saigon.
Here are some of the best vegetarian and vegan dishes at Tandoor Saigon.
Tarka Dal – Vegan simmered lentils
Lentils, or Dal in Hindi, are a superfood. They contain exceptionally high levels of Vitamin B, folate and manganese. Vitamin B is essential to skin and intestinal health, while also helping to protect against the occurrence of stroke. To create Tarka Dal, lentils are cooked slowly over fire with turmeric, cumin, onions and other herbs until a slightly soft consistency is achieved. The natural savouriness of the dish is a great pairing with all types of rice and curries.
Dal Makhani – Vegetarian lentil, kidney bean and cream casserole
Just like Tarka Dal, lentils are the key ingredient in this classic that hails from the Punjab region of India. ‘Makhani’ translates to buttery in English and is also flavoured using cream, which provides a boost in richness. The recipe of Dal Makhani is somewhat more complex than Tarka Dal – apart from fresh lentils and other ingredients mentioned above, Dal Makhani also calls for tomatoes and garam masala, adding great complexity of flavour. A very versatile dish, Dal Makhani can be enjoyed alone, as an accompaniment to other mains, or simply with a serving of steaming rice.
Aloo Gobi Matar – Vegan cauliflower, potato and pea casserole
Another classic dish popular in almost every country in South Asia, Aloo Gobi Matar is made up of cauliflower, potatoes and peas, cooked with turmeric powder, spices, chilli and bay leaf, to achieve a simple yet delicious vegan meal that resembles a dry vegetable curry. Cauliflower contains an important nutrient called sulforaphane, which studies have shown helps to fight aging and cancer. Even if you’re not a strict vegetarian or vegan, this is a must order dish. The perfect accompaniment to the delectable meat choices on Tandoor Saigon’s menu.
Palak Paneer and Paneer Butter Masala (Vegetarian cheese and spinach curry)
The foundations of Palak Paneer are deceptively simple – spinach and cheese. But to achieve a smooth, creamy and irresistible consistency, chefs at Tandoor Saigon take fresh spinach and saute them with onions and other spices before pureeing the mixture to a fine consistency. To finish, fresh Indian-style cottage cheese, known as Paneer, is added to the spinach-based ‘gravy’.
Diners at Tandoor Saigon may also choose to enjoy paneer in a butter masala style – essentially taking the meat out of Butter Chicken Masala and replacing it with glorious dairy. Creating quite possibly, one of the best vegetarian cheese-based dishes in all of Ho Chi Minh City.
Chapati – Vegan Whole wheat flatbread
A staple favourite among South Asians, Chapati is essentially flatbread made with wholewheat flour. The slightly chewy and elastic texture of Chapati is due primarily to the use of wheat that is high in gluten, just like how durum wheat is used to manufacture flour that gives well cooked pasta an ‘al dente’ bite. During the cooking process, a special round skillet known as a Tava is used to bake these flatbreads at a high temperature. The reason for this is that no oil is used, so insufficient and uneven heat would result in sticking and charring. Chapati is best enjoyed freshly baked and you’ll find no fresher than at Tandoor Saigon.
Malai Kofta – Vegan ‘meatballs’ served with cashew gravy
Kofta is somewhat ethnically neutral – a meatball dish with Persian origins that can be found throughout India, the Middle East, Central Asia, Turkey and Greece. At Tandoor Saigon, you’ll find an exquisite rendition that’s not to be missed. Chef Khan uses mashed potato, carrots, peas, beans, cottage cheese and cashew nut paste to make these irresistible vegan ‘meatballs’. They are crisp fried and served in a lightly spiced cashew nut gravy. Malai kofta is one of the most delicious vegan dishes in Ho Chi Minh City and another wonderful example of the fantastic Indian food at Tandoor Saigon.