I had always disliked cooking, but it turned into a hobby after I became vegan! I was intrigued upon finding how using plant-based ingredients many popular dishes can easily be veganized! It may take a bit of learning, as we have been conditioned for years to cook with dairy, meat, eggs, and honey, but once armed with some simple tricks, preparing vegan versions of most common dishes becomes amazingly easy, often easier than making them in a conventional way with animal products. Cakes, cookies, tea/coffee, curd, butter-milk, sweets, creamy north-indian curries such as malai kofta, many delicious beverages, and ice creams – almost anything you imagine – can easily be made the vegan way.
Among all the vegan desserts, I find ice creams the easiest! Most of my recipes are raw, sugar-free and only need about 15 minutes of preparation time (excluding freezing time). By virtue of being vegan, they are not just cruelty-free, but also cholesterol free and devoid of all the hormones, antibiotics, and other toxins that animal foods contain.
Before I get to the actual recipes, let me first start with basics of making ice creams at home. It’s possible to make soft and creamy ice creams with no ice crystals at home, without an ice cream maker! Here are the steps for the same:
• Pour the ice cream mixture in a container and keep it open (without any lid) in the deep-freezer.
• Take it out and whip in the mixer every 2-3 hours and freeze again. If it’s hard, then let it melt a little before blending.
• If keeping overnight, then put the lid on. Blend it in a mixer 2 hours before you want to eat it.
• It is also good to thaw the ice cream in refrigerator compartment half an hour before eating.
Vegan ice cream recipes
Basic coconut-vanilla ice cream
This is a very basic recipe that can be modified into different flavours to make a variety of ice- creams. Although there are plenty of plant based milks one can use, I prefer coconut milk. One can always opt for soy milk or coconut milk that’s readily available in the market. Cream made by blending tender-coconut pulp is another option for the ice cream base. Here’s one of the easiest way to make coconut milk.
• Break the coconut and cut it into small pieces. Coconut comes out easily from the shell if it is refrigerated overnight before getting broken.
• Crush the coconut pieces in the mixer (I prefer using the chutney jar). Scrap the sides and crush again if needed, until the pulp sticks together.
• Now dip this coconut pulp into hot water. Take 1 cup water for 1 cup coconut pulp.
• Let it cool down to lukewarm and then strain the milk using a thin cloth.
• Repeat the process with half the quantity of water to get the second extract.
I also make my ice creams sugar free by simply substituting sugar with home-made date paste. It adds a wonderful flavour, as well as good texture, to the ice cream. To make this, soak some pitted dates overnight in warm-water. Make paste in the morning. It stays well in refrigerator for a week.
Procedure to prepare ice-cream
• Soak 1/3 cup cashews in water for 1-3 hours (the longer the better!). Drain water.
• Blend cashews and vanilla extract by adding little bit of coconut mylk until it becomes smooth and creamy.
• Add date paste or raw sugar and blend again.
• Freeze! (Follow the steps that I listed above to have soft and creamy texture.)
You can use this basic recipe to experiment with many different flavours.
Chocolate ice cream
This is my favourite. Just drop vanilla extract and add cocoa powder and more date paste (or raw sugar) – all according to your taste – in the recipe above and you get delicious chocolate ice-cream!
Raw vegan sugar-free kulfi
Yup! You can have vegan kulfi too! Here is a basic recipe. You can even add different flavours (such as kesar) to it!
Coconut-fig ice cream
Just dip cut figs into coconut mylk for 3 hours and blend! It’s that simple! Here are detailed instructions.
Apricot ice cream
I never imagined ice-cream with apricot flavour, but it tastes awesome! Find the recipe here.
Banana peanut-butter chocolate ice cream
Cut a ripe banana (one with many black dots) into medium sized pieces and freeze overnight in a container. In the morning, let it thaw a little. Add peanut butter and cocoa powder. Add date paste or raw sugar according to taste. Blend everything until creamy and freeze!
Mango ice cream
Cut 2 mangoes into small pieces. Drop a handful of cashews and date paste or raw sugar. All goes in the blender and run it until it turns into a fluffy smooth paste. Freeze! [Recipe credit – Monika from Mumbai]
The same procedure can also be applied to many fruits like strawberry or chickoo.
Ice creams by Veganosaurus
Veganosaurus has got some very interesting vegan ice cream recipes on her blog. I am listing some them here. A few of these use non-dairy whipped cream, which is available in the market easily. If not, it can simply be replaced by the coconut milk + cashews mix that I have detailed in the first recipe.
Buy vegan ice creams in these cities
There are many enthusiastic and passionate vegans who have taken steps towards making vegan ice creams available readymade:
– Whitecub in Delhi is India’s first dairy-free ice cream parlour, and they even have some sugar free options.
– Berrys (soy based ice cream brand) in Hyderabad.
– BackToBasics in Pune makes vegan ice creams available on order.
– If you happen to visit Goa, don’t miss mouth-watering ice creams at BeanMeUp – a vegan restaurant!
– Bellaria, a unique ice-cream joint in Chennai makes vegan ice creams, in front of you in just 5 minutes, all with fresh ingredients.
So don’t let cholesterol and fat laden unhealthy ice creams abuse your bodies! Instead, make a healthy, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free choice to beat the heat in this summer!