Gujarat: Cuisine and Culture in the Jewel of the West
Gujarat is a state in the west of India.
It is often referred to as the 'Jewel of the West',
and it is home to over 60 million people. It has a
long coastline stretching nearly 1,000 miles, and it is
one of the most beautiful and interesting regions of
India. It is famous for its cuisine as well as its cultural
attractions and events, and here is a guide to what you
can expect when you visit.
The Unique Cuisine of Gujarat
Gujarati food is mainly vegetarian. However, seafood is popular along the coast,
with fish, crabs, prawns, squid and lobster all common. The cuisine is not only one
of the oldest culinary traditions in the country but it is also one of the most popular.
The dishes are varied and flavoursome, consisting of spices, rice, curry, roti and lots
of vegetables. There are also many sweet dishes. These days, you may find fusions
of Gujarati and western food, with fried spicy food becoming more popular.
Gujarati cuisine uses many ingredients to create its unique flavour. Chaas (buttermilk), pickles, chutneys, dal, sesame seeds, lentils and yogurt are very common. Many dishes also incorporate lemon, tomato and lime, which help to avoid dehydration during the hot summer months. Many meals also have a sweet element with sugar playing an important role.
Lots of vegetables are used in most meals, and the types of vegetables vary by season. Steamed vegetables feature strongly in the main dishes, and they are combined with spices to create delicious flavours.
There are countless dishes that you can try during your time in Gujarat. Some
of the most popular include the following:
a vegetable curry comprising potatoes, bananas and other vegetables, and usually
served in pots.
one of the most famous dishes in the region, comprising a yoghurt-based sauce with
a sweet flavour that is often served with rice.
a popular pancake-like stack made from flour and flavoured with sesame and
mustard seeds, coconut and curry leaves.
a blend of spices that is poured over dal to give it a delicious flavour.
another popular snack, containing peas, sugar and lime juice.
a simple but delicious dessert made from strained yogurt.
a soft and spongelike snack made from gram flour, yoghurt and semolina, and
flavoured with curry leaves, mustard seeds, green chillies, coriander and more.
Methi na Thepla,
a delicious flatbread snack made using gram flour, yoghurt, chillies and herbs.
the name for various side dishes that are served alongside the main meal, and
which can also be served as snacks on their own.
Things to See and Do
The cuisine is not the only attraction of Gujarat, and there are many interesting things to see and do in the region. There are many events celebrated throughout the year, including the International Kite Festival in January, known as the Festival of Uttarayan. During the day everyone flies kites from their rooftops and streets, and at night illuminated kites fill the sky.
Other festivals include Rann Utsav, which is held in December in the Kutch
district, and the Chitra-Vichitra Fair, which is the largest tribal fair in the region.
As for interesting sights, there are many attractions, including:
Gir National Park, where visitors can see the Asiatic lion on a safari.
Palitana, an important pilgrim site where you will find hundreds of temples.
The Rann of Kutch, a vast salt desert where you can go on a camel safari.
The Sun Temple in Modhera, an 11th century temple dedicated to Surya.
Discover this Fascinating Region of India
Gujarat is a fascinating place to visit, not just for its cuisine but for its culture and attractions. You can sample Gujarati cuisine outside of India, but for the best experience head here to enjoy the authentic tastes of Gujarat and discover all that the region has to offer.