Gujarant is a vibrant land of fun and a wonderful embodier of the zest of life’s musings at that. All along its prominent presence runs an emotion a bit too rooted in the Indianess it encompasses. As the land of the legends, Gujarat has more than a handful of legacies to take pride in. One such utterly delightful panoply of amazement from this state in western India is its diversive array of decadent foods. No one dish of Gujarat is not famous- such is the iconic appeal of its every element. Here’s outlining the most famous dishes you need to try out in this part of the country to partake of the authentic Gujju experience-
There perhaps is no dish that makes Gujarat as famous as what the dhokla does for its region of origin. An immensely popular snack across India, dhokla might be only one amongst an array of Gujarati delicacies. But in popular gastronomic parlance, it is a dish revered like no other. Versatile in being a breakfast, snack, side dish and even a complete meal by itself, this healthy treat is almost ubiquitous to Gujarati cuisine. One of the many fermented foods of India made of rice and chickpeas, this yellow colored steamed dish marks prominently the culinary identity of Gujarat and gets as famous as it possibly can.
Gujarat abounds in a number of snacks, yellow hued snacks to be precise, and khandvi is one such reiteration. Made by cooking a batter of gram flour and buttermilk, this is also a healthy breakfast option from Gujarat. In their bite sized pieces served as rolls, khandvis also present as quite a gracious treat for the eyes.
A cake with a difference, handvo is yet another vegetarian snack within the ambit of Gujarati cuisine. In being a savoury preparation from rice, lentils and veggies, this is one wholesome dish quite unique in its approach. A fermented preparation that you can cook as a pancake or bake as a cake, this traditional dish of Gujarat is also one of its most famous and among the firm favorites.
An extremely famous dish of Gujarat, Undhiyu is mostly a winter preparation with an assortment of veggies in its fold. Needless to say, it’s a healthy preparation that will sure offset your winter blues. You can make undhiyu to incorporate a variety of seasonal veggies but the basic requirement is fenugreek of which dumplings are made and a curry is prepared out of it. Traditionally cooked upside down underground in earthen pots fired from above, this almost dry preparation is best savoured as an accompaniment with poori.
A wide variety of Gujarati foods are also specialties in regions across the country. One such exotic dish that Gujarat shares with the culinary explorations of Maharashtra is the famous preparation patra or Patrode. A rather diversive vegetarian preparation based out of colocasia leaves, these are stuffed with rice flour and flavourings like jaggery, tamarind and spices. Crispy and tasty, even while being extremely healthy, these rolled in besan, steamed patrodes are fried further for a dish that is unique to the core and just as delicious.
A popular tea time snack in Gujarat is Ganthiya. These chickpea flour based munchies however tend to be somewhat softer and not crunch unlike others of their type. Deep fried and puffy,gathiyas can be savoury or sweet which explains why they are so much of favorites among all.
A mainstay of Gujarati cuisine and diverging considerably from the different types of chapati is a thepla. A multigrain flatbread, thepla involves a mix of different flours with usually fenugreek leaves a prime composition of the dough though there exist variants as well. An array of seasonings also find their way into a thepla, which you need to roll out and cook on a tawa, much like a chapati. Nutritious, wholesome and a delicacy in itself, thepla sure is one very famous dish of Gujarat.
Quite identical to dhoklas so much in being even popular as khaman dhokla but somewhat different is this yet another Gujarati snack, among the many diversive types of its farsan. Made from besan, this also yellow colored famous dish of Gujarat is a fluffier variant of the dhokla and is a food widely relished throughout the country.
Perhaps the most famous Gujarati sweet is the very traditional decadence of the good ol’ mohanthaal. Enriched with the rich flavour of milk and melt-in-the-mouth texture of ghee-roasted besan, this traditional mithai is rendered more appealing with the addition of dry fruits. There’s nothing more sinful than digging into this exotic fudge like sweet especially during celebrations like Krishna Janmashtami.
Khichu is perhaps one of the most unique foods you will ever encounter. This extremely famous food dish of Gujarat is in fact the dough from which papad is sought to be made. But in its really amazing taste and almost porridge like essence, it finds eaters in its raw form as well! A rice flour dough cooked in water with cumin seeds and an alkaline salt, khichu is supposed to be the basis of the Khichdiya papad. Served with oil and chilli powder as a snack or side dish, this humble but really offbeat dish is another of the gems of Gujarati cuisine.
While much about food in Gujarat is its famous snacks and loved sweets, exquisite main dishes are not a rarity. Even in vegetarian preparations ruling the roost, there is this really exciting chicken preparation murghanu shaak. A unique blend of flavours is this authentic chicken dish that is sweet, sour and tangy all in one. In its mind boggling medley of the chicken and the veggies and the spices, this might be one rare non veg delight from Gujarat but is definitely worth every bit as the exception.
What vada pav is to Maharashtra, dabeli is to Gujarat. The most famous street food from Gujarat that has found nationwide acceptance in its chatpata essence, dabeli is unlike the other snacks that stem from the state and characterise its essence. Boiled potatoes are mixed with a special dabeli masala and placed in between a ladi pav. The serving is done with a generous spread of chutneys topped and garnished with pomegranate seeds and roasted peanuts. The resultant medley of flavours is one that is sheer euphoria to the taste buds!
Khakhra might be more popular as a snack in the ambit of Gujarati cuisine in its crackerish identity. But in essence it still can qualify as a chapati as well. A seasoned wheat flour dough is rolled out as thin as possible,before it is cooked really well over slow heat. Crispy due to the thin essence and the well cooked intricacy, khakhras make for healthy, addictive snacks in their host of encompassing varieties.
Yet another yellow food that characterise the snack palate of Gujarat is the very famous dish fafda. Made also of besan but this time deep fried instead of being steamed or baked, fafdas with jalebis make for a combo almost legendary like the bundiya- bhujiya reminiscence of Durga Puja. The spicy crunch of fafdas perfectly complements the juicy sweetness of jalebis, making for a gastronomic match made in heaven!
Much like fafda- jalebi, doodhpak- puri is also a classic food combination from Gujarat. In also its essence of pairing the sweet with the somewhat savoury, this is an iconic food combo in itself. A traditional rice pudding recipe that stems also from the Parsis, this is a sweet concoction of milk and rice with sugar. An enriched variant of rice kheer, Doodhpak combines the creaminess of reduced milk with the richness of dry fruits to deliver a taste that is truly royal and luxurious, much like its look and aroma. Cooked to slurpicious thickness, this is a decadent dessert native to the western Indian state.
Another winter delight from Gujarat is a dish addictively famous. Lilva kachori is a type of kachori that is exclusive to the western state and is a traditional snack. With a filling made from fresh tuvar beans or lilva and green peas, this is a kachori like no other. In its flaky crust and somewhat sweet, tangy and spicy stuffing, the lilva kachori shapes as a delectable delight. An ideal tea time accompaniment and a snack guaranteed to make you fall in love with winters and Gujarat!
Surti Sev Khamani
A classic way of using up too much khamans that you might have made once in a while is the recipe for surti sev khamani. Another of the famous snack dish of Gujarat, sev khamani is made by crumbling khamans and tempering them. Into the mix are introduced an assortment of chaat elements- pomegranate seeds, coconut, coriander and sev. Either as light evening refreshments or as a perkup accompaniment to addas,this is one Gujarati dish totally worth the effort.
Bardoli Ki Khichdi
Hailing from the region of Bardoli in Gujarat is a namesake interpretation of our national dish, khichdi. Retaining its essence of being a comfort food, wholesome, nutritious and indulgent, this variant of the khichdi brings together a multitude of ingredients to serve a dish that is a meal in itself. Perhaps what makes this khichdi quite famous in being a distinctive dish of Gujarat is the inclusion of raw mangoes. In its peculiar but palatable taste lend by the kaccha kairis, the Bardoli ki Khichdi steams as quite a gastronomic delight. With also an array of dals, rice and vegetables in fold, Bardoli ki Khichdi should lure you no ends with its pleasurable aroma.
While samosa is a pan Indian and even overseas favorite, the Gujarati samosa is a special breed of its kind. Like its range of other dishes, even samosas of the state are essentially infused with some sugar sweetness and tangy zest to bring up a taste tingling to the buds. This spicy, tangy snack also is diversive in that unlike regular samosas, the aloo- peas filling is not boiled but rather cooked like any other sabji. They tend also to be somewhat healthy as the samosa patti is made of wheat flour dough and not of refined flour. With such interesting blend of taste and health,how can these patti samosas not be the absolute famous dish of Gujarat?
Kansar might sound exotic and within the Gujarati cultural realm it definitely is. In essence however, kansar is a sweet daliya pudding that is commonly popular all over as lapsi. Sticky, sweet and sinful, kansar carries the inherent goodness of daliya and the warmth of jaggery and is the perfect way to indulge without having to worry about upsetting your body. A celebratory dish in Gujarat and one of its most famous sweet indulgences, kansar is an absolute must in weddings as well.
Among the many sweets that Gujarat takes pride in is the ghari or surati ghari. A famoush sweet dish of Gujarat, this however is one very distinctive sweetmeat. Native to Surat from which it derives its name, surati ghari is made out of a puri dough stuffed with a mixture of mawa and pistachio, elaichi or kesar. A rich celebratory sweet that is most common during the Chand Padwa festivities, this decadent dessert comes loaded also with ghee and sure makes for an indulgent bite of sweetness.
Sukhdi (Gur papdi or Gor Papdi)
Another authentic sweet that counts among the popular offerings of Gujarat is the gur papdi. Essentially a jaggery sweet, as the name suggests, gur or gor papdi is the classic atte ki barfi sans the sugar. Again a celebratory sweet most commonly made during festivals and other such auspicious occasions, this is also quite simplistic a delight. But the flavors and richness of the surti is exquisite enough to make this among the state’s most loved indulgences. In fact, in being almost a staple in Gujarati households, sukhdi holds its significance intact!