the crunchy texture balances out the flavour.
While Indian desserts are popular, they can be unsuitable for vegans. Thankfully, there are vegan Indian desserts that substitute certain ingredients.
They are some of the most unique food creations as they combine numerous ingredients to create a dish that is full of flavour.
Their incredible taste and textures have seen them become very popular in a number of regions throughout India.
Some of these desserts have even attracted popularity abroad in countries like the UK, USA, Canada and Europe.
But a lot of them are dairy-based, containing milk, yoghurt and ghee. This means that they are unsuitable for vegans.
Fortunately, there are dairy-free substitutes that have a similar taste and texture to the real thing.
This means everyone can enjoy Indian desserts.
These recipes will help you make vegan-friendly versions of your favourite Indian desserts.
Dairy-Free Ras Malai
Ras malai is a delicious Bengali delicacy and is a mix of sweet creaminess in every mouthful.
It is a dish that takes time so it is advised to start making this dessert a day in advance to ensure everything is correct.
Every bite of this vegan-friendly alternative is a melt in the mouth moment and it is so delicious, anyone who tries it will want to have more.
- 1-litre soy milk
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cornflour
For the Syrup
- 4 cups water
- 7 Cardamom pods
- 1 cup sugar
For the Ras
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 cup plant-based cream
- 3-4 tbsp sugar
- A pinch of saffron
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp almonds, chopped and blanched
- 2 tbsp pistachios, chopped
- 1 tbsp rosewater (optional)
- In a pan, boil the soy milk. When it is boiling, remove from the heat and add lemon juice until the milk has completely curdled.
- Strain through a sieve and rinse with cold water. Leave to strain for 15 minutes.
- Place into a bowl, add cornflour and knead until it becomes smooth.
- Shape into small discs and set aside.
- To make the syrup, boil water with sugar and cardamom pods.
- Add the discs and cook for 10 minutes then turn off the heat.
- Make the ras by boiling the milk and cream in a pan.
- Take two tablespoons of hot milk and add the saffron strands. Stir and set aside.
- Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring often.
- Add the sugar and stir until it has completely dissolved.
- Add cardamom powder, almonds and pistachios. Keep a few nuts for garnishing.
- Mix in the saffron milk and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the optional rosewater.
- Set the milk aside and allow it to cool slightly.
- Pour the warm milk into a container. Gently place the ras malai discs into the milk.
- Refrigerate for at least four hours.
- Garnish with chopped nuts before serving.
This recipe was inspired by Vegan Experiments.
Soan Papdi (Patisa)
Soan Papdi is a North Indian dessert that will melt in your mouth thanks to its flaky and light texture. It is also known as Patisa.
It uses sugar syrup, ghee, milk and a mixture of gram and refined flour to give it a burst of sweet flavour. It is not too sweet though as the crunchy texture balances out the flavour.
To make it suitable for vegans, simply use vegan ghee and soy milk.
It can be a difficult dish to make as an intensive process is needed to give it its fluffy texture.
- 1¼ cup gram flour
- 1¼ cup refined flour
- 250g vegan ghee
- 1½ cup water
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- 2½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp green cardamom, slightly crushed
- Sift the gram flour and refined flour into a large bowl.
- Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame. Once hot, add vegan ghee then add the flour mixture and roast until lightly golden.
- Set aside to cool while stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat sugar, soy milk and water in a pot and bring to a boil. When it has thickened, pour the sugar syrup into the flour mixture and beat with a large fork until the mixture forms threadlike flakes.
- Pour the mixture into a greased surface and roll lightly until it is one inch in thickness.
- Sprinkle the cardamom and gently press down using the palm of your hand.
- Leave it to cool then cut into one-inch squares. Wrap each piece into square pieces of thin plastic sheet.
- Store in an airtight container and serve.
This recipe was adapted from Times of India.
This is an ideal vegan Indian dessert to have as it is fruit-based.
Fruit chaat is the Desi version of fruit salad and it is a versatile dessert because different fruits can be used based on personal preference and season.
The inclusion of chaat masala adds a subtle combination of sweet, sour and spicy flavours to the array of fruits.
- 2 Oranges
- 2 Apricots, halved and pitted
- 1 Peach/Nectarine, halved and pitted
- 6 Strawberries, stem removed
- 12 Cherries, pitted
- 1¼ cups blueberries
- 3 Bananas
- 2 tbsp mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Remove the peel and white pith of the orange, gently cutting around them. Once done, cut into small chunks. Place in a large bowl.
- Cut the apricots, strawberries and peach/nectarine into small pieces and add them to the bowl.
- Cut the cherries into quarters and place into the bowl.
- Add the blueberries and chaat masala. Gently mix to combine then let it sit for around 10 minutes.
- Peel the bananas and thinly slice. Add them and the mint leaves to the bowl and mix. Once combined, serve.
This recipe was inspired by The Kitchn.
Apple jalebi is a fruity and vegan twist on the popular jalebi.
Apple rings are dipped in batter and deep-fried before they are dipped in sugar syrup to create a sweet delectable treat.
This is one recipe to try if you are looking for a great vegan Indian dessert.
- 2 Apples
For the Batter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp plant-based yoghurt
- Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
- Pistachios, to garnish
- Cherries, to garnish
For the Sugar Syrup
- 300g sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 Green cardamom pods
- A few saffron strands
- A few drops of rosewater
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- In a bowl, add the all-purpose flour, yoghurt and enough water to mix into a thick batter. Once mixed, set aside for five hours.
- Make the sugar syrup by adding water, saffron, rosewater and cardamom pods. Cook until a thick syrup forms.
- On a plate, mix together all-purpose flour and cinnamon powder and set aside.
- Peel the apples, remove the cores and cut into slices. Coat the slices in the flour and cinnamon powder mix.
- Heat the oil in a wok. Once hot, dip the slices in the batter and fry on low heat until they are lightly golden. Once done, place into the sugar syrup and leave to soak for two minutes.
- Remove from the syrup and garnish with cherries and pistachios before serving.
This recipe was inspired by Archana’s Kitchen.
Ladoo is one of the most enjoyable Indian sweets and this is a delicious treat to have for dessert.
This fudgy coconut ladoo is made with just five ingredients and is perfect after a meal on any day of the week.
Not only is it suitable for vegans but this recipe is also gluten-free.
- 2 cups unsweetened dried coconut, shredded
- 5 Cardamom pods
- 75ml coconut milk
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 155g ground jaggery
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- Grind the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar then mix in with the shredded coconut.
- In a pan, heat the coconut milk. Add the oil, sugar and salt. Cook for four minutes until the mixture is bubbling.
- Continue for another four minutes until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Add 1½ cups of the shredded coconut and cardamom. Mix in the coconut flour then gradually add some of the remaining shredded coconut until the mixture becomes firm but is still moist.
- Allow the mixture to cool then shape into small balls.
- Roll each ball in the remaining coconut then serve.
This recipe was inspired by Vegan Richa.
Bebinca is a pudding with a cake-like appearance and it is especially enjoyed in Goa where it originated.
It is made of plain flour, coconut milk, sugar, ghee and egg yolk. What makes this dessert so unique is its layered arrangement.
Usually, it has seven layers but it can have up to 16 layers in total and it is soft and sweet.
To make it vegan-friendly, substitute egg yolk for chickpea flour and use vegan ghee instead.
- 250g plain flour
- 700ml coconut milk
- 72 tbsp chickpea flour + 72 tbsp water (mixed together to form a paste)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ cups vegan ghee
- Almond slivers (to garnish)
- In a bowl, mix the coconut milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.
- In another bowl, add the chickpea paste and coconut milk. Mix well.
- Gradually add the flour to the mixture to ensure that there are no lumps.
- Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium.
- Put a tablespoon of vegan ghee in a baking pan that is at least six inches deep. Place under the grill until the ghee melts.
- Once the ghee has melted, remove from the grill and pour some of the batter to form a quarter-inch thick layer.
- Place into the grill and cook until the top is golden.
- Once done, remove from the grill and add another tablespoon of ghee onto the layer.
- Pour another layer of batter of the same thickness as the previous one. Grill until golden.
- Repeat the process until all the batter has been used up.
- When you reach the last layer, spoon the final tablespoon of ghee and grill.
- When done, remove from the grill and flip the bebinca onto a flat dish and garnish with almond slivers.
- Cut into equal slices and serve warm or cool with a scoop of vegan ice cream.
This recipe was adapted from The Spruce Eats.
Making these Indian desserts will give you the delightful experience of making them for you and your friends and family to enjoy, all while being vegan-friendly.
Indian dessert lovers will certainly savour the chance of trying as many of these as possible!