The cuisine of Gujarat is, in many ways, unique from other culinary traditions to be found in India. In keeping with the Indian trend, however, most people of Gujarat are vegetarian, and so are the most popular Gujarati delicacies. This large-scale vegetarianism originally sprung from the religious ideologies and beliefs of the region. Some commonly found ingredients in Gujarati food are Ghee (purified buttermilk), sugar, coriander, gram flour, rotis made of bajra, maize, methi, and chat masala, etc., are common ingredients of the cuisine of Gujarat.
Staples of Gujarati cuisine include salad, homemade pickles, Khichdi (rice and lentil or rice and mung daal cooked together), and chhaas (buttermilk). Main Gujarati dishes are based on steamed vegetables, and dals are added to a vaghaar, a mixture of spices sautéed in hot oil that is added to enhance the digestive qualities and taste of the main ingredient.
Sweets and chaats are other important features of a proper full-course Gujarati meal. Gajar ka halwa, besan halwa, sweet stuffed ghari-puri, malpua, and laddoos, among the sweet dishes, and papdi chaat, kachori chaat, samosa chaat, raj kachori chaat, dhokla, are some of the most popular of Gujarati snacks that have now become quite a rage especially, among youngsters all over the country.
A wide range of foods are cooked in Gujarati households, and the body of gastronomical delights that we identify as Gujarati cuisine is an assortment of different recipes originating in different parts of Gujarat.
The cuisine of Gujarat in India is a blend of exquisite flavors and textures traditionally served on a silver platter. Gujarati Thali is the best to try as it comprises -
- one or two steamed/fried snacks called farsans
- a green veggie
- a gourd shaak (main courses with veggies and spices mixed into a curry or a spice dry fish). Kathol (braises pulses like beans or chickpeas)
- Yogurt dish like Dahi
- Raita or sweet shrikhand
- rice /khichdi
- Sweet dishes like basundi or halwa
Along with the main courses, some side dishes include sweet, sour, or spicy chutneys, pickle, ghee, and a salad. Gujarati Thali has a balance of flavors and textures. The breads are served with this platter, which includes a thick bajra, rotla, thin wheat chapatis, thick whole wheat chapatis called Bakhris, parathas, thepla (savory bread), and deep-fried puris.
How Climate Affects Gujarati Food?
The climate and vegetation of a place largely influence the cuisine of all cultures. The dry, hot climate of Gujarat has considerable influence on the cuisine of Gujarat as well. Salt, sugar, lemon, lime, and tomato are used frequently to prevent dehydration in areas where temperatures shoot up to 50°C under the shade. It is common to add a little sugar or jaggery to some of the sabzi/shaak and daal, which is believed to neutralize the slightly salty taste of the water.
Moreover, the dry Gujarati climate does not sustain the cultivation of rice. So rice is less important a part of Gujarati than it is in Bengal or Orissa. Chapatis made of wheat flour, gram flour, bajra, and maize are made at home.
Here is a list of Gujarati Food items
Farsan refers to salty snacks made in Gujarat. They are the most popular Gujarati dishes prepared with a balance of textures and colors.
Here are different types of Farsans found in Gujarat -
- Khandvi - These are soft yellow rolls prepared from gram flour and coconut, curry leaves, and mustard seeds. As you eat these bite-sized snacks, they will melt in your mouth. Khandvi is also made in Maharashtra.
- Handavo - This savory cake is created with vegetables, lentils, rice, carrots, and fenugreek leaves. It is topped with fresh ginger and green chilies and tempered with sesame seeds, mustard seeds, and dried red chilies. Lastly, it is baked and served with a spicy pickle or green chutney.
- Khaman - It resembles dhokla but is not the same. Khama is prepared with gram flour with more baking soda in the batter to make it fluffier and spongier.
- Khichu - Easy to make Farsan, Khuchu is a thick porridge-like mix made from rice flour. It is seasoned with cumin seeds and green chilies and then served with a splash of groundnut oil and cayenne pepper.
- Dabeli - It is the cousin of Mumbai’s famous vada pav. Dabeli is prepared with mashed boiled potatoes with masala and covered in a Ladi Pav. Kutch Dabeli is garnished with pomegranate pearls and roasted peanuts and served with different chutneys.
- Fafda - Fafda is a crispy, yellow snack for occasions like Dussehra. It is made of gram flour, oil, and carom seeds and rolled into cylindrical shapes. They are deep-fried and then served with besan chutney.
- Khakra - A thin, paper-like snack, Khakra is a famous Gujarati dishes name. It is made of mat bean, wheat flour, and oil. It comes in various flavors of pudina, jeera, methi, and ajwain, and new ones like chaat and dosa.
- Gathiya - It is an extremely famous deep-fried Farsan in Gujarat and other parts of North India. Gathiya is prepared from chickpea flour. It is crunchy and soft at the same time, perfect to eat with tea.
All these names mean pulses. And they are among the famous cuisines of Gujarat. They are made as dals and delicious vegetables and are mainly served at lunchtime. In addition, they are also used to make pulao.
Here are the types of Dals found in Gujarat -
- Gujarati Dal - A famous dish, Gujarati Dal is spicy, sweet, and sour. The consistency of this dal is thin, and it has no ginger or garlic flavors. Jaggery, kokum, and green chili are used for flavors. It is served with a dollop of ghee and steamed rice or hot chapatis.
- Undhiyu - Made in a clay pot, Undhiyu is a vegetable dish, including green beans, plantains, purple yam, and muthia. It is layered in an earthen pot with carom seeds, green garlic, and grated coconut. Then, the pot is hung upside down and fired. The slow cooking gives Undhiyu a smoky flavor.
In Gujarat, you will mainly find Thepla, Rotlo, Jowar Rotla, and Nagli Rotla. They are a staple, which is easy to make and versatile.
Here are the types of breads found in Gujarat -
- Thepla - It is a famous bread that Gurajatis love to have any time of the day with tea, pickle, or raita. It is a flatbread prepared with wheat flour, gram flour, fenugreek leaves, and some spices. Lately, it is garnished with sesame seeds.
- Rotlo - This is a gluten-free flatbread, perfect for the diet-conscious. It is made from bajra, which is a Kathiawadi legacy. Rotlo is traditionally rolled and cooked over a cow-dung fire, giving it a smoky flavor.
- Jowar Rotla - This bread is made with jowar or sorghum flour. It is served with Gujarati curries and pickles. They are not easy to make, but the result is worth it.
- Nagli Rotla - Nagli means ragi or finger millet. The tribals of Gujarat love this type of bread. Nagli Rotla is a rich source of nutrients and can be served with regular meals or as a snack with butter and jaggery.
Misthaan or Sweet Dish
The last course is dessert, and Gujarat has some of the most popular ones. Misthaan is an essential part of Gujarati thali.
Here are types of Gujarati sweet dishes -
- Basundi - Milk is boiled on low heat until it is half the original quantity, and sugar is added to sweeten it. Along with sugar, cardamom and saffron are added to enhance the flavor and garnished with nuts.
- Shrikhand - One of the lightest sweet dishes you will ever eat, Shrikhand is a light and airy curd-based dessert. Among the oldest desserts in India, Shrikhand is also mentioned in the food historian KT Achaya’s book The Historical Dictionary of Indian Food.
Plan a Gujarat tour and gorge on the authentic and traditional cuisine of Gujarat. Indian Holiday offers customizable packages in which you can opt for a food tour of Gujarat for a memorable gastronomical experience.