Memos from Asia

Top 5 Gujarati Dishes that are Finger-Licking Good, Gujarat, India

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Group of Gujarati snacks like jalebi-fafda, thepla, khaman dhokla, aloo bhujiya, khandvi,khakra, dahi vada, gathiya with hot tea

Gujarat is a state in the west of India known for its unique culture. Food is an important part of any culture, and Gujaratis are no different when it comes to loving their food.

Here’s a list of top 5 Gujarati dishes curated by a local Gujarati foodie, who just can’t get enough of these delicacies.

The Gujarati Thali

To be clear, this isn’t just one dish. Thali literally means plate in Gujarati, and Gujarati Thali is a platter full of flavors.

Served dishes vary from restaurant to restaurant. Some even rotate them daily to offer patrons something new every day.

Rotli (Indian bread), a spicy Potato curry, another flavorful curry with mixed vegetables, Basundi or Shrikhand for sweet, Bhajiya, Khaman, Rice and Dal (a stew or soup of split lentils/pulses) are part of mostly all Gujarati Thalis.

Apart from the main dishes, there’s a lot that is served to add taste and flavors to the meal. You always have Chhash (spiced buttermilk), Papad, Pickles, and Salads accompanying the platter.

Some Gujarati restaurants even have an unlimited (get-served-till-you’re-full) Gujarati Thali as their primary offering. A great one for all the foodies who can’t be satisfied with just one serving.

Undhiyu

Undhiyu, the dish of winter, has to be on any list of top Gujarati dishes. This state-wide favorite is known for the unique method of cooking and layered tastes.

Undhiyu gets its name from the Gujarati word Undhu which means upside-down. The reason it’s called so is because of the classic method of cooking the fresh winter vegetables in an earthen pot placed upside-down by heating it from above.

Undhiyu is prepared by cooking vegetables that are easily available during winters like potatoes, eggplant, Surti Papadi, flat green beans, pigeon peas, carrot, purple yam, and others. The vegetables are filled with a hot paste made of green chilies, garlic, and coriander leaves.

Undhiyu also has small dumplings called Muthiya which are made of flour and Fenugreek leaves.

Undhiyu tastes great with Rotli or Puri.

Khaman, Dhokla, Idla, and more

Many Indians think these are the same but they are not! Why are they together here then? Well, they do have some similarities, and it’s a good way to avoid choosing the best from these trademark Gujarati dishes.

Gujarati Khaman Dhokla made using Chana Dal, served with Green chutney, selective focus

Khaman is a savory snack from south Gujarat. It is by steaming gram flour batter containing crushed green chilies and ginger. It is a spongy steamed caked with a spicy flavor. It is then given a special vaghaar (tempered) with whole spices and sugar water which gives Khaman its unique savory, spicy, and a little sweet flavor.

Dhokla look very similar to Khaman, as you can see here, so one can’t really blame people for thinking they’re the same.

The difference is that Dhokla are made from a fermented batter of rice and split chickpeas. Dhokla are less spongy and have a pale yellow color. They go well with a spicy paste of green chilies and garlic or just curd.

Idla are white dhokla or rice dhokla for many but both have different ingredients. Idla are made with a nonfermented batter of rice and black split lentils. It has the savory spicy flavor like the previous two and is served with chutney.

Fafda-Jalebi

Faafda-Jalebi is a staple Gujarati breakfast that has become attached to Gujaratis through Indian television shows and movies.

India sweets and savoury – Jalebi and Fafda on white plain background. Popular vegetarian festive snacks with Indian Gujarathi community. Both these food articles always go together.

Fafdas are deep-fried dough made of gram flour mixed with turmeric powder and carom seeds. Jalebis are also made by deep-frying a fermented batter in oil and then keeping them in sugar syrup to make them sweet.

The sweet jalebis and a little spicy fafdas are the morning street food combo you can find anywhere in Gujarat. Add Khaman to the two, and you have the best breakfast trio ever.

Sev-Tomato curry

This spicy curry with a tang of tomatoes is the goto dish at Gujarati homes in the Saurashtra region.

It’s easy to prepare and can be found at dhabas and hotels along the highways. While not limited to Gujarat, the Gujarati version has a unique authentic taste.

Sev-Tomato curry can be enjoyed with Rotlis, Parothas or Theplas.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Which Gujarati dish would you like to taste first from this list? Let us know in the comments below

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