Beyond the standard Gujarati fare

jalebi-and-fafdaYou might remember the dialogue in 3 idiots where Kareena Kapoor Khan’s character tells Aamir Khan’s character that, “Tum Gujarati log kitne cute hote ho. Par tumhara khana itna khatarnak kyu hota hai…Aisa lagta hai jaise koi missiles hai” which gave people a glimpse into the variety of foods that the gujarati cuisine has to offer.

Gujaratis are known for their love for food. It is completely possible that you have a Gujju friend who cannot think beyond his love for food and has a equally food-lover family where the mother will send a big dabba full of food everyday for her darling son or daughter. One food item that is synonymous with Gujjus is Fafda or Gathiya and Jalebi, which everybody thinks is the standard Sunday breakfast, which is not the case. We love our Theplas and Dhoklas just as much. But it is just that Fafda-Jalebi that is the most popularised.

A few years back I had visited Kerala with my parents and had the most amazing time having idlis and dosas and medu vadas but by the end of the 10 days I was craving some comfort food that was familiar and not dosa. My dad has been visiting Kerala for years now and has discovered such pockets in the city that many citizens also wouldn’t know about. He got me garam and mind it garam fafda and jalebis which were freshly cooked. In Fort Kochi! Kerala! And that got me thinking why is it so easy to find gujju food everywhere and most of the times it is not bad. It is almost similar to what you get in Gujarat unlike Punjabi or South indian which is not the same everywhere.

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Then I realized that it might be because the gujjus do not like interference with their food. I am not kidding. You might see a Gujju being cool about you pulling his leg all the time but mess with his food and you might end up with a black eye. But seriously no one likes to eat food that is not authentic. I have never been to America, but I imagine that the food there would taste just like here.

Having lived in Mumbai and Gujarat, I have normally been exposed to amazing food from both the places. Mumbai has an amazing range of food to offer right from street food like dhoklas to high end foods like sago preparations in restaurants like Swati snacks and Soam. I have never been to Swati snacks, perhaps the most popular Gujarati food outlet in Mumbai, and found a place to sit right away. But the food is worth the wait. The panki (a dish made with rice flour and cooked in colocasia leaves) is just mouth watering and the khichdi is scrumptious. I don’t know how they can make something like a Khichdi so yummy. I will suggest everyone that they should try the gujju fare once in their lifetime even though the food might sound scary and funny and also abnormal, the taste might leave you surprised at the least!

hitesha

The author, Hitesha Thakkar is a journalist and a food enthusiast. 

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