All Indians share a special bond with the food from their home state. So, a Gujarati bhai or ben is going to miss this sweet, savoury and spicy food when they are away from home, whether they are away for 2 days on a trip to Abu or for several years minting money in the USA. No place can come up with the aroma of the cutting chai or the fluffy dhoklas as Gujarat does. That is why probably, there are so many Gujarati Samaj around the world, catering to those cravings. With its varied food across different regions, if we try to list all the foods that a Gujju would miss, we would end up with an entire book, so here are some of the foods that all Gujaratis crave for when they are away from aapnu Gujarat.
Khamandhoklas, white dhoklas, sandwich dhoklas, adaddhokla, you name it, Gujarat has all of them. Home madedhoklas with chai is a yummy breakfast combination that a Gujju craves and no amount of burgers can compare to this pair. Piquant and soft, dhoklas, with all the different types of chutneys are a dream come true for the foodie who wants a healthy yet delicious snack.
The yellow roll of deliciousness, khandvi, is the perfect mixture of all flavors. Also known as patavdi at places, this dish is absolute perfection but is also complex to prepare. Ask any Gujarati about the food they miss the most, and khandvi will have a sure shot appearance on the list. The dish enhanced by the crunchy coconut garnishing is a delight to the taste buds of every person.
3. Fafda Jalebi
All special occasions begin with a hearty breakfast of fafda jalebi in a Gujarati household. Freshly brought in from the farsan shop, this combination fills up the entire house with its tempting aroma. This is a breakfast staple that is associated with happy memories. This dish is a craving that makes a person want to leave everything and just return home. Crunchy & savoury fafda, sweet jalebis, and spicy chillies are a definite way to begin a perfect morning. Top that up with the accompanying sambhar, a salad dish made from raw papayas or carrots, it is the definition of the perfect breakfast for any Gujarati all over the world.
4. Cutting Chai
Chai might not be of Gujarati origin, but you won’t find any place which is as obsessed with chai as Gujarat is. The obsession is such, that there is a monument called “Kitli Circle” in Ahmedabad, commemorating the kettle that is used to make chai, and a radio show named “KitliKulture”.Cutting chai of the streets has been there for every Gujju through all highs and lows. And the obsession with tea is definitely justified once you have the tea at the very stall where M F Hussain had his cutting chai, the Lucky Stall.
What is the most amazing snack one can have with cutting chai? It has to be theplas! The paratha like snack is a favorite with mothers to take along on trips and picnics for a quick bite. And those are the wonderful memories that are brought up every time and that makes one miss the theplas more and more when away from home. The best thing about theplas is that they are amazing with everything be it curd, pickles, chai or even cheese.
Makarsakranti, the most exciting festival of Gujarat is incomplete without undhiyu. The vegetables and spices come together to create zesty flavors. Undhiyuis the classic Gujarati vegetable dish with a range of tastes that stirs up the cravings of home whenever it is 14th January and all that is needed with the kites is the food that makes it all the more special.
Rotlo, the bajra bread of the simple people, has a special place in every Gujarati’s heart. Loaded with ghee & eaten with jaggery, udad dal, and garlic chutney, it makes a hearty meal. Odo, a brinjal vegetable dish, is often eaten with rotlo. Pair it up with khichdi, and that makes an incomparable dinner.
8. Gujarati Kadhi
Gujarati kadhi is just the right amount of sweet, sour and spicy. The mouthwatering concoction is a favourite amongst all for lunch. A thickened version is also provided as a dip for fafdas and dhoklas in some regions. A satisfying dish with rice, this is something that every Gujarati craves while away from home.
The best description for handvo is that it is a spicy cake with veggies, which is a perfect snack to munch on with various chutneys anytime. This healthy and exquisite nutriment is simple to prepare. It requires very less preparation time once the batter and veggies are set. Nowadays, with mixes available easily, this is a craving one can satisfy, but the taste of the original dish is what we keep reminiscing of on our taste buds.
For a Surti, this flavorful dish is what they miss the most. It is made from dhokla and topped up with pomegranate, sev (garnishing made from gram flour), coriander, and garlic-chilli paste. The sweet and tangy zing is what makes this taste, one that cannot be forgotten.
Every mouthful of this snack is a trip back to childhood. It is a simple rice flour dish combined with flavours of cumin and garlic paste, which can be even made in a microwave if you live in a hostel. Though we cannot replicate the same taste as the original with the microwave version, it can, however, help in satisfying the pangs of Gujarati food for some time.
This is one recipe that gives two equally delicious versions – steamed and tadka (flambe᷃). Made from besan and patra leaves, this delightful meal works well for all times. Eating it with chutneys is an experience that cannot be erased and makes one wish to go back to those times. This is a craving that is intense for all Gujaratis.
Just like patras, this is another dish that also has 2 versions, steamed and tadka (flambe᷃). The steamed version tastes heavenly with just a little bit of oil as well. It is a very healthy dish which is made from the vegetable that we usually detest, lauki, yet it tastes simply amazing.
14. Lilva Kachori
An eclectic take on the classic kachori, lilvakachori is made from crushed pigeon peas. The piquancy of the dish is what makes this variety of the kachori stand out and etches into the memory of all Gujaratis, making them miss this zesty delicacy acutely.
This wonderful snack from the Kutch region is a riot of flavors. The fusion of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors makes every bite relishing. Served with imli(tamarind) chutney, this snack calls out to all the Gujaratis away, to just pack their bags and come back home.
All the cold winter evenings are made exponentially better by just one bite of this sweet. A sweet with just the right amount of sugar and spice, this defines all things that are nice. Whenever it is cold and dreary, this sweet is what a Gujarati craves for the most.
Godpapdi, a sweet made from jaggery, is the best source of energy for the days when one is feeling all tired and dull. These small rectangle pieces of sweet are not just sweets, but small pieces of love from mothers and grandmothers. A single bite into the sweet is like tasting joy. And those feelings make the craving for this even acuter.
Some people say that Gujarati food is so sweet that they can make even bitter things like methi (fenugreek) taste sugary. Well, methinagota are not sweet, but they do make methi into delicious balls of savory snacks, perfect for a rainy evening with some cutting chai. Any rainy day is bound to make a Gujarati nostalgic about the methinagota.
19. Keri No Ras
All the Gujarati households have a perfect solution to the beat the scorching heats of summer- drink lots and lots of keri no ras or aamras. Mangoes are such an essential part of this state’s dishes that the aamras is just the tip of the iceberg. Mangoes are consumed in all its glorious forms, pickles, shakes, shrikhands, yogurts,etc. So a summer that doesn’t feature keri no ras, is no less than torture for a Gujarati.
A meal is complete only with a tall, cool and refreshing glass of chhachh for a Gujarati, especially for those belonging to the Kathiawad area. Chhachh with all its wonderful health benefits balances all the meals perfectly. So when they don’t get chhachh, it becomes the most craved item for a Gujarati.