A number of my long-time meat eating friends have told me about the lack of vegetables in the traditional Indian vegetarian diet. Back then I wasn’t so sure, as we used to get plenty of vegetables at home, and use them in every meal. However, lunch yesterday suggested that there might be some truth to this statement.
We had lunch at Nandhini, part of a chain of Andhra-style restaurants in Bangalore. The wife had “meals” while I had a biryani. Apart from this we ordered a chicken starter. What struck me as we ate was that neither of us was eating any vegetables.
The biryani, since it contained meat, didn’t have any vegetables, save the odd onion. The raita accompnaying it had onion and cucumber. The “meals” consisted of rice, dal, chutneys, gunpowder, rasam, curd and a sweet (none of which have vegetables – notice). Then there was sambar (whcih had the odd vegetable piece floating about) and a dry curry with an over-boiled vegetable. Hardly enough vegetable for a meal!
Considering that what we had yesterday is representative of the typical Andhra meal, there is perhaps some truth to the statement that Indian vegetarian food doesn’t have much vegetable.