Gujarati food is considered to be very oily while truth is just opposite. Gujarat has perhaps the biggest kitty of steamed, baked and boiled food.
And most of these snacks are complete food by themselves. Not only are they made with lots of fresh vegetables but they have a perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates.
Let us start with Handwo, it is rice and lentil scone type dish with lots of fresh vegetables and spices. This baked Gujarati dish is very tasty and is a complete meal by itself. Good thing about Handwo is that you can use a large number of fresh vegetables in different combination. Final taste will always be different depending upon the vegetables and spices you use. Not only this, you can store Handwo for up to a week in refrigerator. And if you want to experiment, you can even change the proportions and combination of cereals and pulses to alter it to your taste and diet type.
Patra is a very tasty steamed dish made with either gram flour or rice and pulse mix. Batter is applied to fresh colocasia (Arvi in Hindi) leaves and then steamed for few minutes and a tasty snack is ready just like that. You can temper it with as much oil as your diet permits.
Muthiya makes for not only a great anytime snack but it is also a very healthy food, made of high fiber cereal, pulses and fresh vegetables. Muthiya is basically a dumpling of broken wheat, mixed with pulses of your choice and fresh greens of the season. You can eat Muthiya with or without tempering, infact many prefer eating Muthiya with raw oil. Traditionally, sesame seeds and nuts are also added to the Muthiya, that further enhance the nutritional value of the dish.
Rab or Chas-kanaki is another soup like dish which has different names in different areas of Gujarat where barley, sorghum or other coarse grains are broken and then cooked with buttermilk. Salt and freshly ground cumin seeds are added to this thick soup and that makes it great comfort food which is healthy to the core.
The famous Dal-Dhokli is also a really comforting food and is very healthy too. Whole wheat dumplings are cooked in pulse of choice and then tempered with fresh herbs and spices. Wheat dumplings give you enough space to play with vegetables, alternately just a salad as accompaniment also works well.
Khamani is a dish made by Dhokla crumble. And it is one of the tastiest snacks and still so simple and easy to make. Mix fresh ginger, garlic and green-chili paste with lime juice and sugar. Now add Dhokla crumble to it, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds, nuts, small pieces of cucumber and thin sev. It is Gujarat’s answer to chats of north India.
On dessert side you have Lapsi, which is broken wheat cooked with ghee, jaggery and dry fruits.
Then there is Sukhdi, where whole wheat flour is sautéed in ghee, then dry fruits and jaggery are added and this mixture is set in a plate. Then you can cut pieces and store it in jar. This lasts for few weeks and if you mix in healthy seeds and nuts, it becomes a good substitute for breakfast bars/nutrition bars. Quantity of ghee can be adjusted as per personal choice and part jaggery can be substituted with honey.
In next issue we shall discuss the healthy dishes from Rajasthan. Till then enjoy food wisely and nicely.
Author – Sapna Surana