Onions and Garlic in Indian Food - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-11-2005, 07:59 PM
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Are Onions and Garlic common in "Indian Vegetarian Dishes" served in

restaurants ?



If Yes , Why ?

i assume Onions and Garlic are mainly western food ingredients
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#2 Old 09-11-2005, 08:04 PM
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yup they are... especially onions in something like onion bhaji (obviously), dal's and chana



i don't think garlic is western though, i'm pretty sure china had garlic (and i believe they are in the same family as onion), and i'm sure most of the indian food we eat in north america, etc. are northamerican-ized... like the "chinese" food we get
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#3 Old 09-11-2005, 08:22 PM
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I love how the cuisines of different cultures influence each other, and how ingredients are introduced to some areas that didn't have them before. It makes eating more interesting.



Tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes are native to the Americas but have been embraced by cuisines all over the world... you can hardly think of Italian food without tomatoes, for instance. I don't know how extensively these vegetables are used in India, but Indian food in the USA often uses tomato in the sauce, and potatoes of course in aloo dishes.



What is the reasoning for not using onion and garlic? Is this an Ayurvedic food restriction?
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#4 Old 09-11-2005, 08:28 PM
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onion and garlic are restricted in Indian religions, including Buddhism too



if Indian vegetarians are generally faith-based, then why onion and garlic are still commonly found in Indian vegetarian dishes ?
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#5 Old 09-11-2005, 08:28 PM
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Onions and garlic are very traditional ingredients in the vast majority of Indian cuisine. Certain groups and certain areas don't use them much, but they are by no means new or nontraditional.
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#6 Old 09-12-2005, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrindavan View Post

onion and garlic are restricted in Indian religions, including Buddhism too



if Indian vegetarians are generally faith-based, then why onion and garlic are still commonly found in Indian vegetarian dishes ?



That's true! I just moved to Taiwan recently, and I always have to go into a lengthy explanation of what I can eat at restaurants, bc they usually assume I'm Buddhist pure vegetarian, which I think can have dairy/eggs but no garlic...It gets quite confusing
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#7 Old 09-12-2005, 02:54 AM
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Onions and garlic can be a of traditional Indian cooking, as many Indians do eat them. Asafoetida is quite often used, as it is supposed to have a similar taste-effect, but personally I can't stand it. I'm not sure if it's so much a substitute for onion/garlic as onion/garlic is for it. It smells like cat-pee to me, though. I'd change a recipe that had asafoetida in it I'd swap it for garlic or onions, as I have no problem eating them.

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#8 Old 09-12-2005, 03:28 AM
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>>which I think can have dairy/eggs



AppleGirl

If you can read Chinese

http://forum.vegsochk.org/viewtopic.php?t=58



The taste/smell of onions and garlic is optional to me,

i prefer not having them
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#9 Old 09-12-2005, 09:09 AM
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Many of the Indian dishes are made from an onion 'slurry'. I love onions very much myself, one dish I get where I frequent is Paneer Bhuna which they prepare as cheese in an onion and tomato sauce with huge chunks of onion and green peppers.



As far as religions, I've heard they have many many many different religions there. The restaurant owners I know are all Sehk, and only one of them that works there are vegetarian. I talk with them often, so I'll ask them about what you've asked.



About the religions that are against garlic and onions, try using asefotida, also known as hing in Eastern Asia. Oh, Kiz beat me to it, hehe, but I do have to say, that the smell is 'unique' . It is also known as Devil's Dung! Well, I have used it and I must say the smell it has before cooking doesn't stay after you cook it. I am pro asefotida.

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#10 Old 09-14-2005, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrindavan View Post

onion and garlic are restricted in Indian religions, including Buddhism too



if Indian vegetarians are generally faith-based, then why onion and garlic are still commonly found in Indian vegetarian dishes ?



becasue they increase virility supposedly, is that the reason?



i worked with a guy who (i thought) said that was the reason, but he made it seem like that it only applied to the older folks, and that younger people ate it... maybe he was just saying that his (hindu) daughter wasn't as intense about the religion as he is or something... i dunno for sure
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#11 Old 09-14-2005, 07:44 PM
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>>increase virility supposedly, is that the reason?



there are more description of onion and garlic from religion sources



>>older folks, and that younger people



it is not old or young,

it is a strict or not strict issue.

Keeping a vegetarian diet is very hard for many people already,

thus it is natural for the majority who neglect the details



>> daughter wasn't as intense about the religion



agree





For the general people,

i have heard that Jains are more strict on food than Hindu
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#12 Old 09-14-2005, 08:40 PM
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neat, thanks!
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#13 Old 09-14-2005, 11:19 PM
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the reason in ayurveda that onions and garlic are to be avoided is because they can agitate or excite the body and make it difficult for meditation.



yet, they are not completely restricted because it is understood that garlic and onions have extreme health benefits. So, the restriction is actually quite simple. When one is going to partake in a time of meditation, they should forgo these foods before the meditation, and can consume them after the meditation. then, they can fast from these foods until the next meditation.



there are many others foods that fit into the same category as onions and garlic--chocolate being one of them, as are many grains, mushrooms and related, some nuts, meats, and so on.



jains tend to have the most strict diets, some of them being vegan. many are lacto-vegetarian, but more strict than hindus in their consumption (not consuming as much as one finds in the typical hindu diet). hindus may be lacto-vegetarian or consume fish (depending upon the region). Sikhs often consume various meats as well as dairy products and vegetables. Buddhists can run the gammut of diets.
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#14 Old 09-14-2005, 11:59 PM
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I talked with my friends at the restaurant about this tonight, and was told they have a tomato sauce that is prepared without onions, garlic, and ginger available for those who don't each them. They accomodate pretty much anyones requests and some vegetarian dishes are actually vegan to start with.



He said back in India, some common dishes for those that do not eat things grown in the ground are dal, sag or palak paneer, and mushroom dishes.

Single vegetarian for 19 years seeks tasty vegetables to devour. Reply only if interested in being consumed whole.
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#15 Old 09-15-2005, 12:13 AM
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>>do not eat things grown in the ground



why?

because they do not want to kill the plants ?

the root.
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#16 Old 09-15-2005, 09:09 AM
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I believe the belief is that they anything that grows under the ground is dirty (spiritually and physically?), but I'm sure someone can clarifly it better than that, maybe AppleGirl.

Single vegetarian for 19 years seeks tasty vegetables to devour. Reply only if interested in being consumed whole.
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#17 Old 09-15-2005, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrindavan View Post

>>which I think can have dairy/eggs



AppleGirl

If you can read Chinese

ht*p://forum.vegsochk.org/viewtopic.php?t=58



The taste/smell of onions and garlic is optional to me,

i prefer not having them



thanks! I can read bits and pieces, but I can also get my mom to help me read it
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#18 Old 09-15-2005, 12:06 PM
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I believe the belief is that they anything that grows under the ground is dirty (spiritually and physically?), but I'm sure someone can clarifly it better than that, maybe AppleGirl.



hmm...that's interesting. I'll look into this, since I'm going to be here for a while. But wouldn't carrots and other roots that we eat (taro, turnips, etc) all be off limits then?



someone mentioned that garlic is spicy, and they avoid spicy foods bc it makes them impure (thoughts/body-wise?)
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#19 Old 09-15-2005, 12:08 PM
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it's because eating the root kills the whole plant.
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#20 Old 09-15-2005, 06:24 PM
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i think Onions and Garlic are classified as

"mode of passion" food in Yoga diet/ Ayurvedic
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#21 Old 09-16-2005, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleGirl View Post

hmm...that's interesting. I'll look into this, since I'm going to be here for a while. But wouldn't carrots and other roots that we eat (taro, turnips, etc) all be off limits then?



someone mentioned that garlic is spicy, and they avoid spicy foods bc it makes them impure (thoughts/body-wise?)



According to my friend, yeah, anything that grows underground is off limits. I COULD NOT live without potatoes!!! I'm not sure which belief he's describing, India has some many religions there.



Hmm, this talk of Indian food makes me hungry, I think I'll get my leftover Paneer Bhuna from last night. It's full of large slices of onions, mmmm.

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#22 Old 09-18-2005, 09:26 AM
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The Indian restaurants first established in America were of the Mogul cuisine - meat based, and spiced with onion and garlic. Most Indians are Hindu, and do not eat this way.



Onions and garlic are considered "tamasic" in Ayurveda - in the mode of Tamas, which is ignorance and darkness. This is particularly true of Vaishnava Hindus, who revere the avatars of Vishnu, Rama and Krishna. This is alot of people! Myself included. Tamasic foods are bad for yoga and meditation.



Hing (asfoetida) works very well as a substitute for garlic, provided it is sauteed first - it is not so good raw. Using other good spices and vegetables, I find that I really do not miss the onions and garlic. I recommend "Lord Krishna's Cuisine" by Yamuna Devi, as a really good vegetarian cookbook, with no garlic or onions.
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#23 Old 09-18-2005, 10:12 AM
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>>The Indian restaurants first established in America were of the Mogul cuisine - meat based, and spiced with onion and garlic.



i wonder why Indian vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong also include onion and garlic then ?



i believe the health benefit for onion and garlic is best for meat eaters.

Vegetarians do not need onion and garlic at all



>>Hing (asfoetida) works very well



Can someone please remind me the five plants food that buddhists will choose to avoid ? The names ?
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#24 Old 09-18-2005, 06:42 PM
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Garlic has great health properties for vegetarians as well. I'm currently doing a Buddhist vegetarian cooking course and we were discussing the health properties of garlic. In the course all the dishes we prepare will be devoid of garlic & onion, as the monks at the temple do not eat them. The monks avoid these food, but while most of the lay population who attend the temple are vegetarian, they also eat eggs, garlic, and onions on occasion, and do not eschew them, as the monks do.

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#25 Old 09-18-2005, 06:50 PM
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Oh... the five foods. Garlic, Onions, Chives, Leeks and the scallions, green onions, spring onions, shallots (same things, lots of names).

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#26 Old 09-18-2005, 09:39 PM
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Garlic and onions are REALLY important (especially now in our toxic environment) for your liver detoxification processes. People who don't eat them are at a real disadvantage as far as liver health (and thus, overall health) is concerned.
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#27 Old 09-18-2005, 10:57 PM
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If it weren't for onions and garlic in Indian food, I doubt I would love it as much as I do. My moderation of Indian food is more wallet-based than spirituality-based.

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#28 Old 09-19-2005, 07:16 AM
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>> liver detox?



i doubt no other plants, fruits or herbs serve the same function



>> If it weren't for onions and garlic in Indian food, I doubt I would love it as much as I do.



then you will love non-Indian food too as long as onion and garlic were added
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#29 Old 09-19-2005, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
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>> liver detox?



i doubt no other plants, fruits or herbs serve the same function

Nope. Only foods in the allium family serve that function. There are other herbs you can take to help, but none as potently or efficiently.



Quote:
>> If it weren't for onions and garlic in Indian food, I doubt I would love it as much as I do.



then you will love non-Indian food too as long as onion and garlic were added



Um, "I love any food with onions and garlic" does not follow from "onions and garlic are one thing I love about Indian food."
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