Gujarat is one of the vibrant states of India and gujarati food is unique! Here street food is dominantly popular and mostly vegetarian. I am fond of Gujarati food because I visit Gujarat frequently, at least twice or thrice a year! I love to go out in the evening, because afternoons are extremely hot, to eat pani-poori roadside! Well, I am talking about snacks not the thali (full meal) here.
Gujaratis are fond of spicy ans sweet, crispy and deep fried snacks called farsan. Since most of the Gujaratis are traditional Hindus and Jains there is a lot of opportunities for visitors to taste mostly vegetarian and some fasting food too near the temples. Whichever the region in Gujarat one will observe the extensive use of besan (chickpea powder) in this unique cuisine.
|Fafda papdi etc ...|
Gujarat is synonymous with Khaman dhokla. Spongy, bright colored khaman is healthy and very filling. There are variations like safed (white) dhokla and daal (lentil) dhokla, when served with red chilly chutney they taste amazingly delicious! Daal dhokla is always available in festival gatherings and trade fairs.
Daal vada, methi vada, methi poori and sabudana vada are available near temples as fasting food, prepared without the use of onion and garlic. Very distinct chat items are available on roadside. Pani-poori is most sought item everywhere. The pani, made of mint, rock salt and some spices is good for stomach and the especially the black salt is believed to reduce bloating of body in extreme summer heat.
|Papdi nu lot, dal dhokla and chhas|
The Raj Kachori available in the Nyaya-mandir market of Vadodara is lip-smacking, though have to stand in the pushing crowd. The hard poori-shell is completely filled with mixture of churmur, chopped onion, tomato, coriander leaves, masala, sweet, sour and spicy chutneys and then topped with lots of sev. Deep fried farsan is prepared fresh everyday and is very photogenic. Most popular are chivda, papdi, fafda which have variations depending on spice used.
People eat a lot of tomato-cucumber salad with lemon to prevent dehydration and cool off the spicy food consumed. Jalebi, doodh pedha, kulfi are some Rajasthani influences. I love the brown pedha from Dhuliram Pendhawala in Vadodara. Also the white Rajkot milk pedha here is divine! Buy these from reputed sweet stalls for perfect taste.
|Methi vada and Kulfi|
Another unique snack I have tasted in Gujarat is Papdi nu lot. It means papad dough. Yes, the dough prepared to make rice papad is mixed with acharwali chutney and plenty of oil. I love it! But, then I suffer whole night because of acidity :( Papdi nu lot is great to have for dinner and then a stick of kulfi to finish :)
In Gujarat, visiting religious places also means tasting variety of food. Once I had been to Jhand Hanuman, a shrine in deep forest. Only food available is makai-ki-roti and papdi nu sabji. A perfect and simple example of Khatewadi cuisine. A couple cooks in the open on a rustic stove. The thick roti with spicy subji, after the hectic ride and a short hike into the forest, tastes wonderful. At Ambaji, after the climb, darshan in the line, and the hike back down the hill- the chaas (buttermilk) was god-sent. Fresh and frothy buttermilk with little salt added tastes very good. It was made of buffalo-milk and hence was very white.
Well, very modern and continental food is available everywhere! The pizza corners are around, grilled sandwitches are available in fancy restaurants, Rajasthani kulfi is sold by weight, Desi Chinese, Mumbai pav bhaji and vada-pav, south Indian outlets are also seen. While I was smacking my lips eating chat, methi vada, undhiyu and khaman, Gujaratis were standing in line for Masala Dosa in an century old Udupi restaurant. How wonderful!
There is much more. Rest in the next post some time later ... Interesting huh?
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The magnificent Sun Temple at Modhera
Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati
Ajwa-Nimeta, A Fountain Garden near Vadodara
If you want pictures please ask me :)
Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.