Food is an integral part of any travellers experience of India, and with such a variety of tastes and cuisines throughout the states your tastebuds are in for a carnival of flavour no matter where you are, but it is the cuisine of the northern state of Gujurat that is perhaps the most underrated, and most surprising. Check out this list of top Gujurati dishes that will blow your mind and turn your idea of Indian food on its head.
This is a paid article written in partnership with Gujurat Tourism with products or services supplied by them. Full editorial integrity is maintained at all times. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
It may surprise people to know that the term ‘Indian food’ is a bit of a misnomer, there is technically no such thing as each state in India has its own unique and distinct cuisine based on its own individual history and culture, and Gujurat is no exception.
Gujurat is a state in Western India and its cuisine has a number of unique factors influenced by its culture and history. Gujurati cuisine is unique in its mixture of sweet and sour flavours and is predominantly vegetarian, influenced by its Jain culture. Meat is available, primarily in the form of chicken, fish and mutton, but is not the norm and is referred to as ‘non veg’, indicating the dominance of the vegetarian options.
My recent visit to the state allowed me to explore some of these distinctive dishes with the luxury of not knowing what most of them even were when I first arrived, and here are some of my favourite.
A Thali literally translates into a full plate meal, a wholesome meal on a platter that is surrounded by a lot of different bowls and side dishes. A Thali is almost exclusively Gujurati but does appear in other states too, the difference is that a Gujurati Thali is predominantly vegetarian and consists of various dishes such as eggplant with fenugreek leaves, mixed vegetables, potato and vegetable curries and various chutneys, along with various roti or bread options.
Undhiyu is an iconic Gujurati winter food, especially during festivals. The sour, spicy dish is made from a mixture of brinjals, banana, yams, green beans, peas and potatoes and is slow cooked in an inverted clay pot, then served with rice or chappati.
Dhokla is made from fermented rice and chickpeas, flavoured with dashes of cumin or coconut dependent on taste and is steamed to produce a fluffy square snack that can be dipped in a chutney.
Kachori is a fried snack filled with various fillings. In Gujurat, Lilva Kachori is filled with toovar and green beans and is served with a variety of chutney.
Muthia is a famous Gujurati snack that can be eaten at any meal and is made from chickpea flour, gourd, methi or spinach and various spices, making it great for celiacs or those with gluten intolerances too.
Khadi is technically a side dish that is made from gram flour and buttermilk or yoghurt, and is prevalent in most Gujurati meals. It has a sweet, cool, tangy flavour but sometimes can be spiced up with chillies or ginger, and is perfect in a Thali or on its own alongside some rice, chappatis or naans.
Doodhpak is a Gujurati specialty desert, mainly but not exclusively made during Diwali and is similar in many ways to a sweet rice pudding. It is made from milk, sugar, saffron and almonds and is the perfect desert to a spicy or savoury meal.
Dal Dhokli can also be found in Rajasthan so isn’t strictly just Gujurati, but this comfort food is generally associated with Gujurat and is a thick pea stew with wheat flour noodles, often served with a roti.
Fafda is a crunchy snack, kind of like crisps (or chips for our American friends), made from besan or gram flour, making it another ideal gluten free snack. The dough is mixed with carom seeds and black pepper and then deep fried. I could eat these all day.
Panki Chatney is a typical Gujurati breakfast dish, a savoury pancake made from rice mixed with green peppers and steamed in a green banana leaf. It is usually served with chillie, peppers or a spicy chutney.
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