A decade before, I had been to a Gujarati restaurant with my two brothers. We ordered the unlimited Thali meals. The pleasant waiter started fine, bringing all the delicacies with enthusiasm. But towards the end, he totally ignored our table.
Can’t blame him, because that’s how much my brothers ate! After all the restaurants too are there to make a profit. With a few patrons like my brothers, they can kiss good bye to their profit.
Anyway, it was all long time back. My brothers are grown up now (old old old!) and their food intake is normal now. But I can never forget those growing up years and our appetite at that time.
So even though my brothers were not received kindly at Gujarati restaurants, this food has held a fascination for me. I love the light phulkas they serve for the thalis. Super soft and fluffy.
I have tried recreating a mini thali here, and it indeed proves how much old I have become, I just had to look at the spread to feel full!
Some of the dishes are from Nita Mehta’s book Taste of Gujarat. Others are from the internet, so I have no idea how authentic they are. So please bear with me in case I have gotten them wrong.
- Vegetable dishes and Curries
- Sev Tameta Nu Shaak : Tomatoes cooked with spices and served with farsaan sev
- Tindora Nu Shaak : Ivy gourd cooked with simple spices
- Batata Nu Shaak : Simple Potatoes subzi
- Khatti Mitti Dal : Sweet, sour and spicy lentil preparation
- Gujarati Kadhi : Yogurt and besan based preparation
- Plain rice
- Bakri : A thick flat bread, made with whole wheat
- Mint Coriander Chutney : same as in Punjabi Thali
- Khaman Dhokla: A healthy snack made with besan. Microwave version
- Panha : A drink made with cooked raw mango that is pureed with cardamom powder and sugar
- Jalebi : A fried sweet, dipped in sugar syrup. Store bought!
Ingredients for Panha:
- Raw mango : 1, peeled and chopped
- Sugar : 1/4 cup
- Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
- Cook the raw mango with half cup of water. I did this in the Microwave.
- Once its cooked and has cooled down, puree it in the mixer with sugar. Strain.
- Add cardamom powder and mix. When ready to serve, in a glass tumbler, take about 2-3 tbsp of this concentrate.
- Add cool water and bring it to the brim. Serve chilled.
The jalebi and the sev used for tomato curry is store bought. Everything else was made at home.
I have made kadhi multiple times, but other than that I am cooking most of them for the first time. Surprisingly, I found that the dishes weren’t all that different from our typical South Indian cooking. There was no coconut used, but the side dishes were cooked with chili powder and coriander powder. Not too much of masalas or unheard of exotic spices!