An Insight into Kathiawadi Food
It's been a really long time since I blogged.There wasn't any exciting enough to write about.One day,Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal told me about her Taste and Talk series and I jumped at the idea! Today was the first event on Kathiawadi cuisine at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in the city....Soam,which is at Babulnath.I have spent a few years of my early childhood in Gujarat and while I can speak Gujarati, my only food memory is that of Chicken Jalfrezi at a small joint,the taste of which I haven't been able to find anywhere else.My mother tells me of my fondness for Chinese food,even way back then.I suppose there weren't many Gujarati restaurants at that time as everyone ate at home.Blogger Vegetarian Bhukkad (Sucheta) who has Kathiawadi roots,explained that they now eat traditional food only once a week.With the times,habits have changed and eating out now includes food that was once had only at home.
The owner Pinky Chandan Dixit pointed out that at Soam, you will see three generations of a family,happily eating together.Pinky did her hotel management from Sophia and is a Cordon Bleu chef.Her brother and she started the restaurant 12 years ago and they serve traditional Gujarati cuisine.In Shravan,they have a special "fasting menu".They have drinks like coconut water,jaljeera,lemon basil punch,guava panha which will steer you clear of aerated beverages.Incidentally they also have Golas,which Rushina makes a point to have on every visit.I am pretty impressed at their low cal section that includes Nachni Dosa,Vitamin Bhel,Moong Dal Chilla and Low cal Undhiyo
Pinky has travelled all over Gujarat and told us about the Umbhariyo stalls that come up on the highway in winter.This is a dish made of winter vegetables cut all in equal proportions (so they call cook at one time) and cooked in hay,without using oil.A stick of field beans (Lilva) in the cover is used to judge if the dish is cooked through and through.This is then served in newspapers
Kathiawar is located in the South of Gujarat and the cuisine is spicier than that in the rest of Gujarat.Being a dry area,there is not much of vegetables available most of the year except for a month and a half in winter,when one sees green vegetables.There is dairy and chick pea (besan) a plenty all year so these are the main ingredients of Kathiawadi fare.Onion,garlic,chillies and potatoes are common.
The beverages on the Kathiawadi menu were Kutchi Beer (no alcohol,sorry to disappoint you,just buttermilk with jeeralu and coriander)
The Badam Sherbet was light and frothy
The Panchmel Dhokla was made with five lentils and was steamed to perfection and had a smattering of spices
The Dakor Gota is a snack available in the temple town of Dakor in Gujarat and is made of lentils and served with yoghurt.It is available in three levels of spice as Sucheta (Vegetarian Bhukkad) told me.
The Kanda Gathia nu Shaak or Green Onion vegetables was a surprise.Owing to a lack of vegetables,farsan is used as a main ingredient.The sweet flavor of the green onion was outstanding,making it one of the most popular dishes of the day
Then there was a curry made with winter vegetables Purple Yam and Vaal (bitter beans) which was another wonderfully flavored dish
The Undhiyo was the dish of the day,oh so delicious and not reeking of oil as is seen in some places
The Lasaniya Ringna Batata was made of garlic flavored brinjals and potatoes and served with Chopdas or whole wheat parathas
Kathiawadi food does not have sugar or jaggery in it.That is served separately.We ended with a frozen dessert made of almond milk and dark chocolate,vegan and low sugar.No,it wasn't Kathiawadi but it was satisfying
Enjoyed the afternoon chatting and learning......hope to cover the whole country,bit by bit with Taste and Talk.....
If you drop in at Soam,look out for its heart and soul,Mr Cushrow Randeria,a fine gentleman who will ensure you feel at home.It's not for nothing,they say "Soam is Home" :)))