Richa Hingle is the prolific and award winning recipe developer, blogger, and photographer behind VeganRicha.com. She has a growing community of ardent followers who love making her recipes and sharing them with family and friends. Her brand new cookbook Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen just came out yesterday, and I was fortunate to spend some time chatting with her about it.
What motivated you to become vegan? Was it an overnight switch or more gradual shift?
It was a slow switch over months. I was stuck at home recovering from surgery and not able to get back to my job. I adopted Chewie, our Pomeranian, from a rescue in 2008 to keep me company. After his adoption, I became a part of the rescue groups on Facebook to help with spreading awareness about adoption of shelter dogs. Around the same time I also started blogging about food (baked recipes) with phone pictures. I started reading vegan food blogs and about veganism because of some vegans who were a part of the dog rescue groups. I started with eliminating meats first and looking for dairy alternatives as we used dairy in various forms much more compared to meats. Meanwhile, I continued to read and watch videos to help answer my own questions about the transition. Eventually, I, and my home, went vegan.
What makes your blog so unique and why should people read it
The blog has Dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free recipes from various cuisines to help people who would like to eliminate these from the diet for ethical as well as allergy reasons. The recipes show the readers how to bake without eggs and butter and how to eat healthy, plant based, and without meats, paneer, cheese, ghee, cream and other animal ingredients.
Was it difficult to veganize traditional Indian dishes
It was easier to veganize most meals as Indian food is generally already vegetable and legume centric. Indian food celebrates vegetables and beans in various forms. The most difficult dishes to veganize are usually Indian desserts as they are heavily dairy dependent.
What tips do you have for someone who’s new to Indian cooking
Indian cooking needs a good spice pantry. Spices are used to add layers of flavor to a lot of dishes, which will not taste the same without the spices. Invest in whole spices to be ready to start cooking. A lot of Indian spices are also used in other ethnic cuisines, so they will not go to waste.