A FORMER gastro pub chef is revolutionising Punjabi cuisine as part of a booming vegan business he started during lockdown.

Food entrepreneur Bal Gill had to think outside the box to come up with an alternative when his freelance work was hampered by Covid-19 restrictions in September.

Instead, the 42-year-old, who lives just outside of Bicester, cooked up a fresh new idea and began preparing vegan Punjabi food based off of old family recipes passed down through generations.

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Mr Gill, who started his own plant-based journey only a year before, had to make just a few small tweaks to the traditional dishes like substituting ghee with vegan butter and meat with soy-based protein before he launched the menu for his Oxfordshire-wide delivery service V-Giyan.

The entrepreneur's family have been based in rural Oxfordshire for the past 17 years but their origins run back to Punjab in North India.

The dishes are based off of old family recipes passed down through generations

The dishes are based off of old family recipes passed down through generations

He gained his experience in kitchens across the county, including the Abingdon Arms in Beckley.

Speaking about the success of V-Giyan, Mr Gill said: "We have been receiving really great feedback from people – many see vegan Punjabi food as a new concept.

"There is not anything like that in the market at the moment.

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"People sometimes think of Indian food as greasy and unhealthy – like junk food – but our meals are not that.

"I am so happy because a lot of people who we serve on regular basis are meat eaters but they come to us because they want to try something new and different.

"Often, people have had Indian food, so they are confident they will like it, but they have not had any Punjabi, so I feel like I am doing something good for our culture."

Booming delivery business V-Giyan that sells vegan Punjabi food

Booming delivery business V-Giyan that sells vegan Punjabi food

V-Giyan has become a family business and Mr Gill is getting much-needed help from his brother and sister, and his mother, who taught him all the recipes.

Now, nearly a year and a half after the chef converted to a plant-based lifestyle, his entire family have also followed suit.

He also revealed that the business is 'going great' and enjoys a regular clientele, who have been vegan for years, but also meat eaters.

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He added: "When I become vegan, I found that a lot of the food on offer was processed, rather than natural.

"Traditionally, Punjabi food uses big quantities of butter, ghee and dairy, so I began experimenting and changing the recipes.

"I was putting these meals together and testing them on people, and that is how the business was born."

Mr Gill also wanted to make his business more eco-friendly, so instead of in plastic containers and bags, the dishes are prepped and dispatched in recyclable boxes, which are chilled, and in compostable containers inside.

To find out more about V-Giyan and order a box visit www.veganpunjabi.delivery