Imagine if 40% of people in the UK were vegetarian.

From a population of 66 million, that would mean 26.4 million of us would have opted for a meat-free diet.

This may seem fanciful, but it is already being predicted that vegetarians and vegans look set to make up a quarter of the British population by 2025 – that’s less than five years away!

If you look at vegetarianism alone, it’s believed that 10% of the adult population in the UK already follow a vegetarian diet, so based on these figures, it’s not as far fetched as it seems.

And you only have to look at the numbers of vegetarian options now on the shelves of the major UK supermarket shelves to realise this is no longer just a fad and that people are choosing to be vegetarian not as part of an awareness month, but for good.

But there’s one country in the world where vegetarianism is, and always has been, popular and in that country, 40% of the population is already estimated to eat a meat-free diet.

And when the population of said country is 1.3 billion, well you do the maths!

We are, of course, talking about India.

No cuisine is so closely associated with vegetarianism as Indian. From amazing vegetables and comforting dahls, to fresh paneer cheese and fragrant dishes like Bombay potatoes, the choice is truly mind-boggling.

What’s the reason for this? Well, there are lots.

One is the abundance of vegetables on the Indian sub-continent. It’s such a densely populated country, so it makes sense to use every bit of valuable land to grow food crops, rather than use it as pasture.

Religion also plays a part. Hindus for example, revere the cow and therefore won’t eat beef, whilst Buddhists believe it is wrong to kill animals, ergo and also to eat them.

There’s also an argument that the poverty which affects many parts of Indian means people often can’t afford to buy meat, so they become vegetarians as a result.

But the main reason, in Chef Chris’s view anyway, is that Indian food is healthy, delicious, easy, and flavourful. The vast array of spices grown and used in India make turning even the simplest of vegetables into an explosion of the taste buds, and that, whether you eat meat or not, is what it’s all about at the end of the day!

Paneer kathi rolls

Homemade roti’s:

  • 190g wholemeal flour
  • 190g plain flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4tbsp ghee or melted butter (Plus extra for cooking)
  • 350g warm water

Put a flat cast iron pan on a high heat. In a kitchen mixer with dough hook attached add all ingredients and mix till you have a nice pliable dough. Allow to rest for half an hour before separating into 60g balls. Roll out into disks on a floured surface trying to get them as thin as possible. Brush with ghee and cook each side till they start to puff up with a charred surface. When cooked cover with a kitchen T-towel to keep warm and soft.

Paneer fill:

  • 250g diced paneer
  • 100g sliced red onion
  • 110g spinach leave
  • 125g diced red pepper
  • 125g diced green pepper
  • 25g minced ginger
  • 40g Minced garlic
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 30g rapeseed oil
  • 90g yoghurt

In a pan heat up your oil then add the peppers and onions and fry till golden and soft. In a bowl mix your spices with your yoghurt, garlic and ginger then add them to onion mix fry for another five minutes, follow that with spinach and paneer and cook for a further five minutes until hot and the spinach has wilted.  

Green chutney:

  • ½ a green chilli (more if you like it hotter)
  • 70g fresh coriander
  • 25g fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 12g minced garlic
  • 1 tsp roast cumin seeds
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 7.5 salt
  • 6g sugar
  • 30g olive oil

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till just mixed. Decant into a bowl. To finish, grab your warm roti and spread the green chutney liberally all over your roti, then take your warm Paneer fill and place a large spoonful into the middle wrap the edges round and enjoy as a quick snack or part of a bigger meal. 

About Chris Brown
Sous Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.