To say that Theplas are a favourite snack in Gujarati homes would be an understatement they are a staple. They are so easy to carry along and such favourites that Gujaratis might probably forget their medication at home but not theplas. I probably don’t need to describe them in detail, but for those who are unacquainted with Indian cuisine, Theplas are flatbreads made from a dough consisting of finely chopped or shredded vegetables ( mostly greens like fenugreek or spinach ), whole wheat flour and spices.
I am pretty sure Dhoklas need no introduction. There are numerous versions of Dhoklas. Khatta Dhokla ( made of rice and Urad Daal ) is easily distinguishable from the Khaman because of the colour and composition. While the Instant Nylon Khaman ( made with Besan/Chickpea flour and eno/cooking soda ) is immensely popular among folks, popular even among folks even outside Gujarat, we South Gujaratis ( especially folks from in and around Surat ), favour the overnight fermented version much more over the instant ones. Vaati Daal Na Khaman is distinct from the Nylon Khaman in the sense that they are made of Chana Daal, that has been soaked, ground and fermented overnight and does not have any soda or citric acid in the batter, at least my version doesn’t. It is dense and crumbly at the same time unlike the soda-induced sponginess of Nylon Khaman. The ground batter is then spiced with ginger chilli paste, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt. Instant / Nylon Khaman has a slight aftertaste of cooking/baking soda which puts me off personally.
Shrikhand is a dessert made from strained curd/yoghurt which is sweetened with powdered sugar, some cardamom and saffron along with other flavourings of choice. It is a pretty easy dessert to make, and the only tough part is to strain the curd removing all the whey to get thick, almost solid hung curd which is called Chakka. I usually set full cream milk to make curd at home, but if not you can use store bought thick curd to make the same.
Mangoes and summers go pretty much hand in hand, right? Summers mean vacations, trips to grandparents’, pickles, aamras and pretty much everything that makes one happy. And that has to include food to make it complete. We all know from the bottom of our hearts that our moms and grandmoms create magic in their kitchens, but I am equally amazed at the sheer variety of curries and condiments they serve on a platter. I believe that while curries and mains make up a meal, the condiments, pickles and the sides make it satisfying. They also make meal times exciting, I have always had a particular pickle/preserve/chutney that I would look forward to on my plate depending on the season. Now, that we have started to chat about condiments and summer, mangoes cannot be far away.
I am sure there must be a variant of the quintessential mango chutney in every state with a tweak of an ingredient here and there. We Gujaratis make it because consuming it protects one against the harsh warm winds that are common in the sweltering heat of a Gujarati summer. Or so my Baa ( my paternal grandma) says. She makes it every couple of days, more like, as soon as the previous batch is consumed, and take my word for it, it’s not more than a couple of days. I also like this version for its simplicity. A couple of commonplace ingredients and no cooking involved. My mom makes it with the first Totapuri mangoes of the season, which are vibrant parrot green in colour ( I think, the mix of tartness and sweetness of this variety of mangoes suits this chutney the most, but feel free to use any variety you might find locally ). Mangoes, onions and a few day-to-day ingredients, a little bit of grating, sprinkling and mixing, and viola! The chutney is here.
One of the Gujarati summer staples – Keri Kanda ni Chutney ( Raw Mango and Onion Chutney or Relish or Salsa whatever ) ! Now, since summers and mangoes have a close association, I am sure there must be a variant of this condiment in every state with a tweak of an ingredient here and there. We Gujaratis make it because consuming it protects one against the harsh warm winds that are common in the sweltering heat of a Gujarati summer. Or so my Baa ( my paternal grandma) says. She makes it every couple of days, more like, as soon as the previous batch is consumed, and take my word for it, it's not more than a couple of days. I haven't got my bearings back, I have a mountain of laundry to do, and I am still a zombie but I had to make this amazing yet easy peasy chutney this morning, because the visit home and a taste of the harsh summer made me crave this chutney so so much! 😍 I also like this for it's simplicity. A couple of common place ingredients and no cooking involved. My mom makes it with the first Totapuri mangoes of the season, which are vibrant parrot green in colour ( I think, the mix of tartness and sweetness of this variety of mangoes suits this chutney the most ), and peels and grates them. For one Totapuri Mango, she grates a large onion, and mixed them. Then, in goes jaggery ( sugar doesn't bring the same flavour but will work okay if you are in a hurry ), 1/2 tsp of black salt aka સંચળ in Gujarati, 1/2 tsp of cumin powder and 1/2 tsp chilli powder ( I prefer Kashmiri, because I look for colour and not the heat ). Add enough jaggery to balance the tartness of mangoes. Mix well and let it stand for a few minutes allowing the juices to secrete and the flavours to combine. Use as desired. But I would highly recommend not making it in big batches ( I stick to 1 Mango + 1 onion quantity) because one it has a short shelf life and two, if it gets too runny sitting for a long time, it doesn't taste the same. #kerikandanichutney #rawmangochutney #indianchutneys #indiansummer #picklenation #rawmango
Okay, not that I am trying to reinforce any clichés or stereotypes here ( blame Bollywood, I am how do you have the heart to call Dhokla, Fafda, Havdvo, Thepla as missiles??? ) No, we do not eat Theplas everyday. No, we do not break into Garbas at the drop of the hat ( well, anytime IS Garba Time, but we don’t do it that way! ) Anyway, like a true blue Gujarati ( Gujjus is cute, but ain’t as sweet as Gujarati 😀 ), I love all my dhoklas and khaman. There are so many variants, that I assure you that you will never be bored. And so, I was amazed at why it took me so long to make this instant version using semolina. It is so easy to put together with some very basic pantry staples. It can be easily put together for breakfast, or when they are surprise guests or when you are planning an elaborate thali and are looking for something savory, yet not too heavy, on the platter (we Gujaratis call the savory snack as the part of the thali as Farsaan). Also, if you have exceeded your quota of pakoras and bhajiyas for the week, this is also the perfect rainy day snack to accompany your chai! 🙂
Instant Rava Dhoklas with Cutting Chai for breakfast – Breakfast 79 of #100happybreakfasts ! With 30 mins of resting time is the only prep you need, Rava Dhoklas definitely make it to the list of quick breakfasts. The batter consists of semolina mixed with curd and flavoured with salt, ginger-green chilli paste and pinch of fruit salt/Eno (optional). The tempering is mustard seeds and sesame seeds with a pinch of asafoetida crackled in oil with some curry leaves. Now off to polishing them off… Brb! Recipe: Take 1/2 a cup of Semolina (Rava/Sooji) in a bowl. Add 1 tsp of ginger-green chilli paste, salt to taste, some chopped coriander, 1 tsp oil and 1/4th cup of curd. Mix well. Add some lukewarm water gradually, between 1/4 th to 1/2 a cup, and mix well into a smooth, lump free batter. Let it rest, covered, for about 30 minutes. When are ready to steam, bring the water to a boil in your steamer/any vessel you want to use for steaming. Now add 1/2 tsp of Eno (fruit salt) and gently stir it. Don't stir vigorously or else the froth will be lost, just mix all the Eno with the batter. Immediately, pour in a thali/plate and steam for 12-15 mins. Don't lose anytime after you add Eno, or else the Dhokla might turn hard. Once the dhokla is done, you can insert a toothpick or a knife and if it comes clean, it's done, remove the thali and let it cook down for 5 minutes. Make a tempering of 1 tbsp of oil, 1/4 th tsp each of mustard seeds and sesame seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and a few curry leaves and pour it over the dhokla. Remove using a flat spatula and serve! 😊 #ravadhokla #whatsforbreakfast #meatlessmondays #breakfasttime #gujaraticuisine #dhokla #healthybreakfastclub #srujans100happybreakfasts #cuttingchai #desibreakfast #indianbreakfast
Have your ever wished that you had a magical spice mix which could make even not so favorite vegetables into some serious, mouth watering stuff? I always have. And that is perhaps the only reason, I have loved brinjals even a kid. This sambhariya spice mix is a combination of ground peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds and some amazingly fragarant spices that can be stuffed in a variety of vegetables for an awesome curry to accompany piping hit fulkas. I have tried quite some combinations so far.
The below picture has small brinjals and potatoes stuffed with the sambhariya masala. I think every brinjal hater needs to try these before they make up their mind about the brinjals.
OK, so I could go into a rant about how Gujarati stereotypes in Bollywood are not portraying us Gujaratis incorrectly. Well but, if I really am a true Gujarati, I am probably going to just sip some Gujju Beer aka some chilled buttermilk, munch on some khakhras (not theplas, see there goes crashing one of the stereotypes) and move on. Keep Calm and Move On. (No, its not, Keep Calm and do Garba) . Anyway, peep into a Gujarati household on a Sunday afternoon and there is a high chance that you could smell a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing, wafting and fluttering around a cloud of that fragrance of Daal Dhokli. Daal Dhokli for the uninitiated consists of the trademark mildly sweet, sour, salty and spicy (and not just sweet ) Gujarati daal in which strips of dough are simmered until cooked. Served with rice, it is the perfect antidote to all the stress you have experienced during the week and your passport to a wonderful nap later in the afternoon.
I have this unspoken “no-bowls, no-spoons” rule – Daal Dhokli and Rice with homemade Ghee is one of those meals where we, N and I, have slipped into a subconscious rule to use fingers to gulp it all… Close your eyes, cross your heart and tell me honestly, does the hot ghee on steaming rice feel as silky with spoons as it does with fingers? For me, its just not the same! 😍