1. KATHIAWADI THALI
The first day in Gujarat as we sat at a restaurant in Ahmedabad and asked what is special in Gujarati thali, the waiter quickly said we have only Kathiawadi thali. Kathiawad is a section of Gujarat and mostly across Gujarat it is the Kathiawadi thali that you get as meals. The thali has unlimited roti being served along with kichdi and tradtional side dishes. Some of them,
Bajra rotla – Bajra roti, super thick and one roti was more than enough to fill you up. Comes laden with ghee
Kichdi – Gujarati kichdi came in different versions across Gujarat. It is the best bet to have for the traveler’s tummy. Lite and fluffy, loaded with ghee, comes with moong dal and green gram dal flavors. I would usually retire my night with a plate of kichdi
Tomator Sev – Side dish to the roti and as the name translates, it is a tomato based gravy with sev bhujia added to it. Tastes yumm! And is the most common side dish that by end of trip you might want to run from it.
Kadhi – accompanied with everything. Sometimes tangy sometimes bland. Even with snacks they serve kadhi
Gol & ghee – missing in the picture but bajra roti with gur (jaggery) and ghee is the tastiest, simple and complete meal. Some restaurants serve it as separate dish while some are generous to keep it on your table.
Bharela Ringan – Stuffed brinjal. While I though bharela is karela (bitter gourd) it turned out to be brinjal.
Chaas – A big glass of butter milk always accompanies a plate of meals. Even otherwise after the roaming through the dry lands of Gujarat a cup of butter milk is the most soothing for your soul. One guy was generous to leave a jug of chaas on our table 🙂
Kathiawadi thalis do not have white rice and dal.
One cannot miss Thepla in Gujarat. It is lite and had with pickle, curd and fried chillies. On our long journeys we always had theplas packed as it does not really require any side dish and comes for a long time without getting spoiled.
3. KHAMAN DHOKLA, PATRA / PATRODE, HANDVO & KHANDVI
Khaman Dhokla, am sure everyone is aware of dhokla. It is the variants in which dhokla is served which kept me amused. One gave with just hot and sour chutney. One added bhel, onion, tomato with sauce. One mashed a whole potato along with it and gave a plate ful of dhokla. Tastes best when it is from a road side shop.
Patra / Patrode – It is a leaf that is wound together with jaggery, gram flour, spices and fried together.
Handvo – It is like dhokla deep fried. I was not a fan of it.
Khandvi – steamed rolled gram flour served with chutney.
My vote is for dhokla any time! It was the best of all of them
4. GUJARATI KHAVA
Evenings are generally cold in Gujarat. And walking on the beach with super cold breeze brushing against your face makes you tuck with layers and sip a hot cup of khava. Khava is tea along with some herbs brewing in a brass vessel. In a cup he adds ginger juice, lemon juice, pepper and adds the brewing drink to it. It’s a spicy drink. I was with sore throat and this was such an awesome discovery! Couple of cups of hot khava and my cold disappeared.
Who thought Poha will come with a twist! But Gujarat surprised me with Poha! On an early morning walk down the street wondering if any hotel will provide breakfast, a road side vendor had poha topped with pomegranate seeds which was not the only surprised. When ordered, he scooped a plateful of poha topped with onion, tomato, sev, freshly squeezed lemon and freshly grated beet root. It is the best poha I have ever come across and obviously ordered one more plate.
6. SHINGODA / SINGHARA
No idea if I should classify it as fruit or vegetable. For this is like some kind of snack that every one buys like peanuts. She said you can steam it and eat or just like that eat. Peel the skin and pop into your mouth, it is more like a juicy potato! Found through out Gujarat, try for the fun of it.
7. KUTCHI DABELI
Dabeli was a surprise find! It’s bun and between the bun there is potato filling, sev, onion, pomegranate, hot and sour chutney, sweet chutney and yum it is! of course it goes over a hot tava which has dollops of butter added to coat the already tasty bun. Easily two to three dabelis went in!
Farsan in general means starters or snacks as starters. A plateful of assorted bhajjis come to you. Be it restaurant or street vendors, they usually serve farsan with khadi!
9. KHARI BISCUIT / PUFF BISCUIT
Khari biscuits are so common in Gujarat that every bakery sells them. It is basically puff with no filling. Lite, fluffy puff pastry that is a popular tea time snack. Pack some and munch on during long bus travels.
Chaa! Oh my Godd the ultimate cup of tea to be found in every street of Gujarat. I was surprised to see that even the street vendors had Amul Taaza thick milk and were making tea out of it. Just tea automatically implies ginger tea and sometimes gets masala also added. Ask for tea and saucer comes along be it a cup or glass tumbler so that you can pour the tea in the saucer and slurrpp it 🙂 Amidst your walks in the streets, refresh yourself with kaddak chaa..
One more missing from the list is Chikki! Assortment of chikkis available there and that to stacked up like buildings by street vendors. It is not just peanut chikki but crushed version of it, dry fruits, til and so many varieties. So pack some chikkis for home when you bid adieu to Gujarat 🙂
Did you notice that I have not mentioned anything that is remotely close to non vegetarian; yup, forgot about it in Gujarat..
Happy Eating 🙂