Gujarat is a state that is on the Western coast of India. It is said that this state draws its name from the term – Gujarat ,a sub tribe of Huns, who ruled that area between the 8th and 9th century.
It got its present status in 1960 after when the erstwhile Bombay state was divided into Maharashra and Gujarat on the basis of the language.
The Gir National forest that houses the Asiatic lion,Nal Sarovar Bird’s sanctuary that attracts many species of birds from all over are present in this state.Due to very limited rainfall, this region has a very small forest area.
In this state we have the majority as Hindu and the minority being the Muslims. The Jains are also present here and so are the Parsis who fled to this place from Persia / Iran a long,long time ago.
Let us see some interesting facts about this state…
Gujarat was supposed to have been the central place in the Indus valley civilisation.The history of this state dates back to 5000 BC!
Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi was born here.Some of the other famous people born here are Sardar Vallabai Patel, Vikram Sarabai,Jamshetji Tata, Dhirubai Ambani etc.
It is great to know that alcohol is banned in this state since 1960!
Now coming to the cuisine part…
This state has a predominant vegetarian cuisine despite having a large coastline. This is due to the influence of the traditional Hinduism and Jain Vegetarianism.
The dishes have their very own uniqueness.It is a blend of excellent flavors and textures.Some can be sweet ,spicy and salty at the same time!But there is a harmony among these tastes.
Gujarati cuisine is predominantly a vegetarian one.This cuisine is said to be influenced by the Jains and Buddhists and that may also be the reason for vegetarianism.
The eating habits and the method of food preparation can be classified into 4 broad types based on the region as –
- South Gujarat – The dishes from Surat are quite popular. Green chillies are used to flavor the food. There are no special or expensive ingredients in the dishes and the method of preparation is quite simple,yet the taste is truly exotic.
- North Gujarat – They use lesser amounts of oil and spices in their dishes. The elaborateness of their thali / platter is very well known.
- Kathiawad – Their cuisine is quite spicy as they use red Chile in their dishes. They also use more of peanuts and sesame seeds.
- Kutch.- This cuisine is said to be simplest of the four.
Breads like Roti , Chapathi , Puri, Parotta, Bahakri are some of the famous ones in the Gujarati Thali.
Rice varieties like plain steamed rice, kichidi, pulao are also seen in this cuisine.
Shaak or vegetable curries/gravies are predominant in this food culture. There are so many varieties to choose from.
A wide range of desserts are present to satisfy the sweet tooth, the most well known ones being the halwas, pedas, Basunthi, son papdi, Shakkarpara,Mohantal etc.
Homemade pickles,pappads and raitas too find a place in this cuisine.
A wedding / festival platter is very elaborate and I still recollect a dinner at a Gujarati festival that was served in silver plates and bowls.There were so many dishes that I lost track of the number of items served and the delicious goodies kept coming and I was not able to clear even half of what was served. I tasted all that was served but could not finish them off!
And if that was not enough, the platter that was served to us when we visited Ahmadabad last year for the Blogging Marathon#25th edition meet, is still fresh in my memory!