Gujarati Cuisine is primarily a vegetarian’s gourmet and has the influences from the Jains & Buddhist. Most of the Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty and spicy at the same time. The Gujarati Maharaj (cook) is legendary for his subtle use of spices and retains the flavour and texture of vegetables and is served with hot pickles and chutneys.
For a standard everyday fare, Gujaratis often have Daal-Bhaat (rice and Dal) and Rotli-Shaak (roti and vegetables) as their standard menu at home. A typical Gujarati Thali (plate) offers an endless spread of Rotli (wheat bread ), Daal (pulses), Bhaat (rice) and Shaak (a dish made of different combinations of vegetables & spices which is either stir fried, spicy or sweet). It is common to add a little sugar or jaggery to some of the sabzi/shaak and daal. The sweet flavour of these dishes is believed to neutralize the slightly salty taste of the water.
Gujarat is has four major regions which includes, North Gujarat, Kathiawas, Kutch and South Gujarat. All these regions bring in their own style to Gujarati food due to their climatic conditions. The people of Khathiawad love Dhebras (prepared with wheat flour, yoghurt, spinach, green chillies, sugar and salt) served with Chhunda (sweet and sour mango pickle). Sweets made of peanuts and sesame seeds called the Chikki are the favourite sweet dish.
Kutch cuisine is a very simple meal prepared by rice and pulses. The main dish is the Khichdi and kadhi or Bajra no rotlo, guvarnu shaak. Doodhpak and Shrikhand are few mouth watering sweets in the Kutch region. Undhiyu and Paunkh are few popular vegetarian dishes of the South Gujarat mainly comprising of the people of Surat. They mostly add green chillies to add flavor and life to the food. Nankhatais and Gharis are the popular sweets of the Southern Gujarat.
Traditional Gujarati Thali food is very popular over North Gujarat and has now become part of Gujarati’s food culture. Most Gujarati thalis are incomplete without farsan which includes some of the most mouth-melting snacks like khaman, khandvi, kachori, mini-samosa, dhokla, dahi vada etc. They also include a variety of Dal (lentils) or Kadhi, Hot Rotli or Puris, Shaak, Raita, Doodhpak (sweetened milk with saffron and nuts), papads, chutney and pickles. Generally sweets vary from jalebi, shrikhand, doodhpak, gulab jamun, malpuas etc. Gujarati’s are also known for their craze for aam ras which is often served during summer season.
Gujarati food is highly distinctive and the harmony of blending the sweet and salty dishes is what demarcates Gujarati food from other Indian varieties. A typical Gujju food consists of rice or chapatti, pulses, vegetables, kachumbar (mixed vegetable salad), papad & curd. This is a complete wholesome nutritious and balanced meal that one can easily relish and enjoy eating.
To name the top 10 Gujarati dishes in India would actually be quite difficult but few dishes have their special place are mostly liked and asked for or regularly eaten or prepared during most special occasions. They include:
Snacks like – Khatta Dhokla, Lilva Kachori, Papdi Chaat
Dhokla is a very popular Gujarati vegetarian food dish made with a fermented batter from rice and split chickpeas. This is often eaten for breakfast, as main course, side dish or as snack. They are a wide range of variations in making of Dhokla.
Lilva Kachoris are stuffed with baked mixture of pigeon peas (lilva bean) or urad dal (crushed and washed horsebeans), besan (gram flour), black pepper, red chilli Pd, salt and other spices and deep fried until done.
Papdi Chaat, Paapri Chaat or Papri Chaat is a Pakistani and north Indian fast food. Chaat, an Indo-Aryan word which literally means lick, is used to describe a range of snacks and fast food dishes; papri refers to crisp fried dough wafers made from refined white flour and oil. In Papri Chaat, the papris are served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilis, yogurt and tamarind chutney and topped with chaat masala and ‘sev’.
Kakhra farsan is a very thin crispy roti or chapatti that is simple and easy to prepare. It is made with whole wheat flour adding other ingredients and spices to make it delicious to eat. It looks similar to as papad.
Pad wali roti, popular Gujarati rotli made with wheat flour and is a perfect dish that can be carried while travelling as the ghee inside the roti keeps it soft and preserves for longer time.
Mix Vegetable Khichdi
Khichadi is a very popular dish in eastern, northern and western states of India. The dish is commonly called as Khichhuri in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bengal as is widely prepared in many houses. Khichadi can be either prepared plain with just rice and lentils or else is cooked by adding all variety of vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, beans and green peas to make it more nutritious and healthy. Khichadi is also the first solid that babies are introduced to. Rice and lentils are simmered till mushy, seasoned with turmeric and salt and fed to infants to introduce them to “adult” food. It is also a favorite campfire food owing to the convenience of being able to cook Khichadi in a single simmering pot.
Lauki katti dal is a very simple lentil preparation slightly tangy; bottle gourd cooked with mash lentil mixture.
Thepla are popular breakfast food in Gujarat. Generally most household in Gujarat start their day with hot theplas accompanied with jalebi and fafda. There are various varieties of theplas and they are healthy and fresh to eat. They also taste good accompanied with fresh yogurt and fried chillies and a papaya sambharo or green chutney.
Sev Tamatu nu Shaak
Sev Tamato nu Shaak is a popular Gujarati recipe prepared with green tomatoes cooked in yummy and tangy gravy; served drizzled with some crispy sev.
Parval nu Shaak is a typical Gujarati spicy side dish made in Gujarat that is accompanied with roti, chapati etc.
Undhiyun is an delicious and appetizing vegetables and beans stew that is generally made during the winter harvest in Gujarat. It a combination of vegetables and spices mixed together making a delicious dish.
Gujaratis relish snacks known as farsan in several ways. Gujarati food, mainly vegetarian is popular all over the country and the food can vary widely in flavour and heat depending on the taste that suits the family as well as the region. To try them, you can also get hold of your delectable and favorite recipes at: www.vahrehvah.com .
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