All posts tagged: gujarati

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Village-Style Gujarati Khichdi

Village-Style Gujarati Khichdi (Buttery Rice & Lentils)

The clattering of pots, pans and spoons in my kitchen is a sound that fills me with comfort and joy. It’s the first dish I crave after a long trip away and the hug in a bowl I need when autumn sets in. At the first whiff of mellow rice and lentils emanating from my cooker, there’s only one thing that matters; I’m home. I’m making Khichdi, Gujarati style, like how they eat it on the farm in my ancestral home of Porbandar. It’s served with Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney, a blow-your-socks-off garlic and chilli preserve, and a cold glass of Chaas (salted buttermilk with roasted cumin). This is the comfort food every Gujarati has precious memories of growing up. The porridge-like consistency of a ghee-beaten rice and lentil mishmash was usually the first solid food we ever ate as toothless babies and our fondness for it stayed with us right through to adulthood. It became a familiar and nostalgic comfort blanket for the belly. Loaded with hearty goodness and family tradition, Khichdi was and …

Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney (Garlic Chutney)

Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney (No-Cook Garlic Chutney)

Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney is the condiment to rule all condiments. It’s made with a tonne of crushed raw garlic, chilli, lemon, fresh coriander, salt and oil. That’s it. No cooking and no fancy spices. This is simple Kathiyawadi village fare from the heart of Gujarat. Kathiyawad is a peninsula off the western coast of India, in the region of Saurashtra and it’s where my family come from. Made up of several districts including Porbandar, Junagadh and Jamnagar, many people who live there have farming in their blood and an appetite for simply cooked but flavour-rich fare. Serve Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney as an accompaniment to any curry (aubergines work particularly well and are traditional fare), Indian breads like millet chapattis (Bajra na Rotla), wheat chapattis both thin and thick (Rotli and Bhakhri) and fenugreek chapattis (Thepla) are the ultimate pairing. It also livens up a bowl of warm, comforting lentil and rice stew (Khichdi). For a less traditional but equally delicious use for Gujarati Lasan ni Chutney, stir it into warm vegetables, pasta sauces, …

Vegan Khandvi (Indian Chickpea Pasta Rolls)

Vegan Khandvi (Indian Chickpea Pasta Rolls)

Hot, sour, sweet and salty; These are the characteristics of the Gujarati dishes I grew up eating. From spongy Khaman Dhokla, to Sev Tameta nu Shaak, chickpea flour plays an integral role in the make up of regional Gujarati food. It’s used for batters and bhajiya (across India), as the basis for Pudla (chickpea flour pancakes) and as a thickener for soups like the yoghurt-based favourite, Kadhi. One thing all of these dishes have in common is that each one is famous for being hot, sour, sweet and salty. Another savoury Gujarati snack that’s known for having these explosive and delicious flavours is Khandvi. It’s a village-style rolled pasta made with chickpea flour and yoghurt (in this case, soy yoghurt) which is always served with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and chillies crackled in hot oil. The sound and smell of the smoking oil hitting the smooth surface of the pasta rolls gives me all the feels. The texture is soft, silky and it melts in your mouth, unlike the wheat pasta we’re …

Gujarati Rotli

Homemade Chapattis – Gujarati Rotli

The smell that floods a home when the first chapatti goes on the cast-iron hotplate surrounds me with comfort and joy I cannot even explain. It’s my most favourite smell in the whole world because it represents my childhood, my family and every moment (both happy and sad) in our home.Gujarati chapattis (rotli) are the glue that sticks everything Indian families eat together… or should I say the bread the scoops up all of our daals and curries. They’re an everyday staple and without them, a weeknight meal would be incomplete. I’ve known men who won’t touch their dinner unless there are hot, freshly-made rotlis on the table. Softer and smaller than your average Punjabi or Pakistani Roti (the kind you’d get in most restaurants), these Gujarati Rotli have oil in the dough and are cooked on a super-hot cast-iron tawa/lodhi, leaving them delicious and toasty. I don’t cook them on an open flame because they’re so soft, they’d just break. They still puff up like hot air balloons as they cook on the lodhi. They …

Aloo Stuffed Thepla

The love child of Gujarati Thepla and Aloo Paratha. If you’re looking for a flatbread with big, bold flavours, you’ve come to the right place. The traditional Thepla of my childhood are unstuffed and served spread with butter or ghee. Paired with Sukha Bateta nu Shaak (dry potato and cashew curry), it’s family comfort food at its best. My memories of eating Thepla made by the expert hands of my mum are ones I still treasure today. They would be smoking hot off the tawa, rolled up like a cigar and dripping with golden butter – and first thing in the morning too. Thepla are the ultimate breakfast bread and waking up to the smell of them toasting on a hot pan outweigh the feeling of hitting snooze on Sunday morning. Trust me. Packed with the smoky, slightly-bitter caramel notes of fresh fenugreek leaves, these turmeric-hued discs of fluffy bread are one of the most iconic recipes of Gujarat. Traditional Thepla are as I said, eaten with potato curry, masala chai, pickles and chutneys. Here, …

Hot Saffron and Lemon Seeroh Pistachio Ice Cream

Hot Saffron and Lemon Seeroh with Pistachio Ice Cream

Seeroh is one of those desserts that brings out the greedy little kid in me. Sweet semolina tossed with spices and so buttery it melts as soon as it hits your tongue. Flippin’ gorgeous. And before you ask, it’s nothing like ‘school dinner’ semolina. Not even close. Years ago we’d make special trips to the mandir (temple) during Navratri and Diwali to pray for the year ahead, see family and have an amazing, spiritual evening. Of course, I was there for all of these reasons, plus for the reason that there would be prashad – sweets like Seeroh offered to the gods that evening. After putting my hands together in prayer, I’d open them up and wait patiently for my Seeroh. I believe glace cherries have three purposes in life; to garnish cocktails, top cherry bakewells and stud this delicious addictive treat. If you really don’t like them, replace with candied lemon or orange pieces. They’ll add an incredible texture to contrast the soft texture of this dessert. I love experimenting with different flavour combinations …

Burnt Aubergine and Spinach Curry 4

Melt-in-the-Mouth Burnt Aubergine and Spinach Curry

I live and breathe Gujarati food. Simple vegetarian dishes we’d eat every night when I was young are what have inspired my love of cooking today. Oroh was one of those dishes mum would cook as a midweek dinner after our evening swim at our local leisure centre. Oroh is simply a name for smoky aubergine cooked with garlic, onions, tomatoes and chillies. If you’re a fan of North Indian food, you’ll probably know it as Baingan Bharta – the Punjabi version. Oroh is the Gujarati name for it and here’s how we cook it at home. It’s really easy to be afraid of overdoing it with this dish. You might think it’s mad to add as much garlic as my recipe calls for but please do stick with it. The burnt aubergine needs flavours that can stand up to it so that the result is smoky, spicy, punchy and tangy. I learnt to cook this when I was 12 years old and it blew my mind. I thought it was insane to cook aubergines on …

Peanut Masala Stuffed Aubergines

Baby Aubergines Stuffed with Peanut Masala

Stuffing baby vegetables with spicy, nutty masala can be a beautiful thing. It’s nothing new, Gujaratis have been popping a tray of them onto their dinner party tables for years. Stuffed vegetables are, and always have been the ultimate show-off dish – the more extensive the variety of veggies you manage to wangle into the dish, the more fabulous you are. I remember when I was little it was just aubergines, potatoes and onions in our family kitchen. As I grew, we became more and more adventurous with what we put in; it all began with bananas (my granddad used to add these back in Mombasa), then we added peas to the sauce, stuffed baby courgettes, okra, paneer (you didn’t really think I’d miss that one out did you?) and no matter what it was, it still tasted amazing. Go ahead, be fabulous and experiment with your stuffed veggie curry. Today I’m downsizing. Not because I can’t be bothered, but because I know these fresh baby aubergines I got from the market (no lie, I …

Potato and Cashew Nut Curry (Sukha Bateta Nu Shaak)

Let me introduce you to the first part of one of the most amazing brunches known to man (and woman) – Potato and Cashew Nut Curry with Little Deep Fried Breads, also known as Sukha Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori. My heart just did a little somersault. My fondest memories of eating this dish lie with the time I lived with my parents. Waking up on sleepy Sunday mornings (or to be more accurate, Sunday midday in my case) to the smell of aromatic curry leaves, fresh ginger and freshly fried spicy dough permeated my nostrils, coaxing me out of bed and into the kitchen to witness exactly what everyone needs to experience at least once in life – Bateta Nu Shaak and Masala Poori for brunch. The whole shebang was like a starved bear waking up from hibernation to the smell of honey-drenched baklava. Well, something like that anyway. This dry curry epitomises Gujarati cooking with its fluffy potatoes, crunchy cashews and light spicing, complimented by a squeeze of zingy lemon juice. Garnish …

Gujarati Mung Bhaat- Mung Bean and Rice Soup

Join me in a moment of nostalgia with my recipe for a classic Gujarati Mung Bean Soup. This is nothing like my playful recipe for Spinach and Mung Bean Soup – it’s an untweaked and deliciously traditional soup loved by the Gujarati peoples. Can you believe I didn’t stray from the recipe?   Did you know? Many Indians consider the mung bean to bring luck and so it is used in rituals and offered to the Gods along with grains of raw rice. Like most Gujarati recipes, every family has its own secret version of this mung bean soup, with probably the only similarity across all variations being that it’s always, always served with rice. The rice is boiled separately from the mung bean soup and usually mixed in just before serving. Check out my tips on how to cook perfect basmati rice. I topped mine with sweet, golden onions and fresh coriander. You can also stir in a spoonful of creamy natural yogurt for a mild tang. If you’re feeling lazy and are craving …

Summer Berry Shrikhand

I’m a massive clinger. Ever since the summer sun disappeared behind these pesky autumnal clouds, I’ve been doing everything in my power to cling on to the warm days which were so quickly snatched away from me. Sniff. Due to my recent bitterness towards not receiving delicious freebies on my doorstep like a certain Mr. P, I enquired about sampling some Greek yogurt from Total. Fage Total are specialists in yogurt making and their product range includes choices for all kinds of yogurt lovers. Their full fat Greek yogurt is exactly the thing I need for making Shrikhand. They even have 0% fat and 2% fat Greek yogurts which are perfect for cooking. Bring. Them. On. I’ve been rambling on about Shrikhand for absolutely ages, teasing you with recipes like Eggless Saffron and Lemon Shrikhand Cheesecake and Shrikhand Spice Lamingtons. Evil, no? In all seriousness, I’ve actually been meaning to do this for a long time and thanks to Total, I finally had the motivation to get it done. I chose to combine my sweetened, spiced …

Gujarati Potatoes and Spring Onions Sautéed in Chickpea Flour

      Fresh flavoured, dry curries are done so well by Gujaratis. It’s all about taking simple ingredients and packing in as much flavour as possible. From thalis (3 course meal plates), to dhokras (steamed savoury cakes) and mistan (Indian sweets), the simplicity and variety of Gujarati cuisine is a huge attraction for vegetarians. Around three-quarters of the population of Gujarat are vegetarian for an assortment of reasons. Among religious, economical and health reasons, many Gujarati’s believe that the abundance of nuts, beans and leafy greens available in their region neutralises the need to eat meat. Having said this, Gujarati food is simple, family cooking which can coax the most radical meat-eaters into enjoying a vegetarian meal. This dish is just one of those typical Gujarati specialities which can be adapted according to what produce is in season and available at the time. Chickpea flour curries are great with okra, fresh fenugreek leaves and even whole chilli peppers! That is if you’re feeling brave enough. Why not check out my recipe for Turnip and …