You Asked For It is a recurring feature on Holy Cow! where I reply to a handful of questions in my mailbox. I choose the questions on the basis of how useful I think the replies will be to all or most of my readers. If you have a question, just shoot me a line using the contact form. And if you think you have something to add to my answers, feel free.
How do you go vegan when the rest of your family doesn’t want to? I really want to, but it just seems it would be harder if you are surrounded by people who do eat milk and eggs and honey and all that stuff.
Going vegan in a household where you do not make the primary decisions on cooking and shopping can be challenging, but an increasing number of teens are now going vegan, often with the blessings of their families. The reason why many parents are reluctant to support children who want to go vegan is because they worry that he/she might not get the necessary nutrition from plant-based foods. But research shows the many benefits of a plant-based diet over one that includes animal products, and there are many great resources available today that any parent can educate themselves on the benefits of a plant-based diet, including sites like www.pcrm.org and www.healthyschoollunches.org. Also, a growing number of well-known faces and names have boosted the credibility of plant-based diets in recent years, including Bill Clinton who says he saw an improvement in his heart health after beginning a mostly vegan diet.
Learning to cook yourself, if it’s feasible, can help. A couple of healthy, delicious vegan meals for your family could just do the trick in convincing them that a vegan diet can work for you. For inspiration, there are also some great vegan cooking sites run by teens, including the Joy of Vegan Eating, which I recently came across.
Is mango pulp the same as mango puree.
I use the terms “mango pulp” and “mango puree” interchangeably in my recipes. If you do not have access to fresh mangoes, which most of us don’t, use the canned pulp or puree you can buy at any Indian grocery store. It’s what I use.
I cannot get whole wheat pastry flour where I live. I have experimented with using whole wheat flour , a mix of whole and maida, just maida, but all turn out heavy/ lumpy. I am not sure what consistency the mixture should be. I have read about not mixing too much as well so gluten does not develop – how much is too much?
The closest substitute I’ve found to whole-wheat pastry flour is whole-wheat durum flour– the flour used to make chapatis. It’s definitely not the same, but durum flour tends to be lighter than regular whole-wheat flour. For best results, use half durum flour and half all-purpose flour in my recipes that call for whole-wheat pastry flour.
Cake batter for different kinds of cakes can have different consistencies, but typically they are about as thick as a pancake batter (not a dosa batter, which is runnier).
And you’re right that you should never, ever, overmix a cake batter made with all-purpose flour because you can develop the gluten and turn it tough. If you need to beat air into the cake, the time to do it is when you are creaming together the vegan butter and sugar and other liquids. Once the flour goes in, mix or fold very quickly and minimally until you get a smooth, even batter. Cake flour is more forgiving because it has less gluten.
I love my pressure cooker and use it all the time to cook beans. Can you offer a suggestion for how to prepare whole masoor in the pressure cooker?
Cooking lentils in a pressure cooker can be a challenge and often not advisable because they sometimes tend to clog the pressure valve. Many pressure cooker brands here in the United States warn against cooking lentils in pressure cookers.
When I cook lentils in the pressure cooker, I build the pressure over medium-low heat and reduce the heat further until the lentils are cooked and the pressure releases– it works for me but, again, it might not for you. Although pressure cookers are much safer now than they ever were before, always heed your manufacturer’s directions when cooking in one.
Try cooking lentils, including whole masoor, in the microwave which is far less dangerous and works like a charm. Cover the lentils with about an inch of water and zap in instalments of 10 minutes at a time until you get the desired tenderness. The cooking time will differ for different lentils. Pink lentils, for instance, cook very fast while mung lentils would take more time and patience. Soaking the lentils for a few hours, if you have the time, can reduce cooking time.
Is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?
Yes, just click the orange button under the page title that says “Subscribe now for free recipe updates in your mailbox or reader.” On the following page, under “Subscribe Now,” scroll down to the little blue envelope icon that says “Get Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes delivered by email.” Enter your email, and you’re all set.
Where do you get green / dried fava beans in Mumbai or anywhere else in India?
I don’t really know the answer to this but was hoping anyone living in India who reads this might be able to help? Deepak would definitely appreciate it.