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Cuisines

The major observation about food in Gujarat is that it is predominantly vegetarian. This is attributed to many facts like the dominance of Jain population in the state, the orthodox Hindus of the state and the fact that the state is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, who had vowed not to touch meat in his life. Like all other states, Gujarat too, is divided into areas which determine the cuisine of the state. The four main areas that contribute to Gujarati cuisine are North Gujarat, Kathiawad, Kachchh and Surti Gujarat. Most of the Gujarati dishes are a culmination of sweet, salty and hot tastes.

One of the main and simplest foods made in Gujarati households is the Khichdi, which is nothing but rice cooked mixed with boiled moong dhal. Pickles are the usual accompaniment for this dish. The main dish is usually steamed vegetables cooked with various dhals. Though it is uncommon elsewhere, in Gujarat, women usually add a little jaggery or sugar to these vegetables as they believe that the sweetness brings in an extra flavour to the vegetables. Chaas, commonly known as buttermilk is a drink that is consumed commonly all over the state along with the lunch or during dinner with thick wheat flour or bajra flour rotis. Sweets and desserts are an integral part of daily food for the Gujaratis. In earlier days, sweets from sugarcane, jaggery, pistachios, almonds and milk were made during weddings as these sweets were believed to provide instant energy to the guests during a wedding. However, in keeping with trends of the other states, today most of the Gujarati weddings witness sweets made of milk, milk products and dry fruits.

A main ingredient of the Gujarati cuisine is known as Farsan. These are nothing but snacks. Gujaratis are world famous for their lip-smacking snacks. The soft spongy Dhoklas (made from steamed rice flour, with a little bit of sweet taste), taste heavenly along with mint chutney. The chaat varieties of Gujarat are usually a mix of potatoes, powdered bread, masala powder, yoghurt, coriander and different types of chutneys. The Kachori (deep fried bowl like dish made from rice flour and stuffed with moong dhal, pepper and ginger) is yet another famous dish.

Of the rice varieties, Biranj is most popular. This has an exotic flavour as it is a dish that is made from rice cooked with saffron, sweet and dry fruits. The sour and sweet rice, referred to as the Khatta-Mithha Baat is another rice variety that is cooked with potatoes, spices and the skin of lemon. Pulao, in which rice is cooked with vegetables, is common all over the world. The Gujaratis are also famous for the huge varieties they have in cooking vegetables. Some vegetables are deep fried, whereas some are stuffed with spices; few other vegetables are delicious when cooked along with certain types of pulses and peas. The Khadi, in which vegetables are cooked in buttermilk, gram flour and garnished with coriander and ginger, is an excellent delicacy.

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