Spice Up Your Life: Richa Hingle Talks Indian Vegan Cooking

If you love spices and bold flavors as much as I do, you have to try Richa Hingle's recipes! A cookbook author and popular blogger, Richa has been sharing delicious vegan Indian food recipes for years. I talked with Richa about her social media techniques (she has over 320,000 followers!), her cooking, and who she would most like to share a vegan dinner with!

Allison Rivers Samson: You’ve talked about your love for fostering rescue dogs and how that led you to living vegan. Could you say more about that connection?

Richa Hingle: We adopted our dog from a rescue. Once he settled in, we decided to foster dogs from a rescue that transported death row dogs from California to Washington where they stay in foster homes till adoption. One of our fosters was a rescue from a puppy mill. He was very skinny and scared. It took him 3 weeks to just start to warm up to us and respond by tail wags. Fostering him helped us make the connection of how dreadful factory farming must be for the animals, and we couldn’t be selective with our compassion. We transitioned to a vegan diet over the next few months and the journey has been ongoing to extend it into a lifestyle.

ARS: I love this quote of yours, “…any food choice, is not about giving up something, it is about finding something better.” How do you encourage people to do that?

RH: I have recipes on the blog that are by default vegan, and some are vegan versions of non-vegan favorites, and some creative ways to use veggies and beans. I try to keep the recipes easy, approachable, and flavorful, so everyone can try them, like them, and use them more than the non-vegan options. For example, my Rainbow Chard and Peas in White Sauce and Palak Tofu are super easy recipes that come together really quickly without compromising on the complex flavor profile people expect of Indian food.

ARS: That’s one of my favorite aspects of Indian cuisine—such complex, layered flavors! What types of recipes and cooking do you most enjoy sharing with others?

RH: I personally enjoy Indian and similar cuisines that are full of flavor, spices, herbs. Indian food is rich in vegetables, beans, lentils, greens, and very plant-focused with loads of pleasing flavor, which made it easier for us to transition to balanced vegan meals. Many times I use techniques from Indian cooking in non-Indian recipes to introduce the readers to it. Some of the techniques and spices can be intimidating, so I try to simplify as much as possible. I love it when the readers try those recipes.

ARS: How did you grow your social media following and get so many people interested in your gorgeous cookbook, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, and food blog?

RH: I did not plan any of it. I have been blogging for a while with ups and downs in terms of posts on the blog. Once I started getting readers interested in certain recipes and feedback when they cooked some, I got more confident in my own abilities and started diligently working on the recipes, the blog, and social media. It was a slow organic growth. The blog got to the publishers' radar, and since I love Indian food, a book was decided on. I wanted Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen to be like the blog: approachable and showcasing the variety of Indian cuisine which is so diverse and inherently vegan-friendly with many options suitable for different dietary preferences.

Author-IMG_8883ARS: If you could share a vegan dinner with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?

RH: That is a difficult one. I would want to share a big vegan spread with my entire family. My family (brothers, sisters) and my husband’s family (his brothers, sisters, everyone). I haven’t met many of them in more than a decade because of my own health issues, so having everyone would accomplish two things: meeting them and celebrating while eating amazing vegan food together.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Richa!

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