When you travel, it feels as if there are two worlds: your home and the rest of the world. When you step into a restaurant, this feeling is echoed, and it changes based on which restaurant you are in. Right around the corner from home, a restaurant may feel like you are in Thailand eating pad Thai, in America enjoying a cheese burger or in France eating snails. In other cases, you may be half way around the globe in a spot full of Aussies that makes you feel like you are back home. Hi, my name is Betina, and I love eating out and travelling. This blog looks at everything related to those concepts. It talks about the sense of home and away in restaurants. Whether you are a diner or a restaurateur, I hope you enjoy the diverse posts I include in this blog.
The western Indian state of Gujarat has a distinctive cuisine that mostly consists of vegetarian dishes. Meals often contain both sweet and sour foods, and pickled vegetables and flatbreads, such as chapattis, are popular accompaniments. Buttermilk is used liberally to add richness to traditional dishes, and popular spices include fenugreek, asafoetida and turmeric. Tamarind is a common ingredient in Gujarati curries and has a sour taste profile. Desserts and sweets rely heavily on dairy products, such as yogurt, curds and condensed milk.
Meals are often served in the style of a thali, which simply means several small dishes are served on a platter. The platter will include sweet, salty, astringent, sour, bitter and spicy dishes for you to combine as you please, so thalis are never dull. Popular thali dishes include dal, chutneys, creamy curries, roti and kadhi, which is a pakora dish served with a sour gravy made with chickpea flour and cultured yogurt.
Here are three traditional Gujarati dishes to look out for next time you visit an Indian restaurant:
Bardoli Ki Khichdi
Bardoli ki Khichdi is made with fragrant rice, sautéed potatoes, mango and peas. The dish is both spicy and sweet and is made in a single pot, so all the flavours of the main ingredients and accompanying spices, such as cumin, ginger, green chillies and mustard seeds, combine to create a hearty dish that's served with fresh coriander and pickles.
Dal dhokli is a curry that consists of spicy dumplings made with wholemeal flour and a sauce with a tuvar dal base, which is made with split pigeon peas. After cooking the tuvar dal, peanuts, garlic, chilli powder and kokum, which is a regional fruit similar to mangosteen, are added to the curry. The dumplings, which are seasoned with asafoetida and red chillies, are cooked in the curry and have a gelatinous texture. This dish is often served with rice or salad, but can be eaten on its own if you want a lighter meal.
Basundi is a rich dessert that's commonly served in households and at weddings. It's made with sweetened condensed milk that's flavoured with saffron, nutmeg and cardamom. This thick, creamy dish is served cold and garnished with chopped pistachios and almonds. Basundi can be served on its own or with poori, which is a flatbread that's deep-fried until it puffs up and becomes crispy.
These dishes are just a few examples of what Gujarati cuisine has to offer. Next time you visit an Indian restaurant, ask your server what Gujarati dishes they have on their menu, and have fun exploring the diverse flavours from this region.Share