The food of Gujarat primarily comprises of vegetarian fare. The state of Gujarat has an extensive coastline but seafood is not commonly eaten due to the influence of traditional Hinduism and Jain vegetarianism. The people from Gujarat eat an elaborate meal for lunch and dinner. A typical lunch or dinner thali (plate) consists of dal, kadhi, roti, rice and vegetables. Along with these, there are chutneys, pickles and sweets.
A typical thali from Gujarat presents a good combination of sweet and spicy food. Gujarati cuisine varies from region to region in flavor and heat quotient. Communities from North Gujarat, Kutch, Kathiawad and Surat have their distinctive cooking patterns. Restaurants in the state serve authentic food. Original Gujarati food can also be tasted in a typical Gujarati Matrimony function.
Apart from the Thali in Gujarat, the Khichdi and Chaas are famous in the state.
The Khichdi is rice and yellow lentil recipe cooked together. Chaas or buttermilk can be salty or sweet.
Sweets are part of the famous Gujarati cuisine. Gujaratis like to end their meals with desserts. The sweets of Gujarat are made of sugarcane jaggery, almonds, pistachios and milk. During the Gujarati matrimony functions, relatives and friends are served traditional sweets from the state. Dry sweets like Ghooghra and Magas are common in weddings.
Farsan is another common item included in a typical Gujarati thali. Farsan are side dishes, which complements the main dishes.
Farsan can also be called Gujarati snacks.
The seasonal changes also influence the food of Gujarat. During the mango season in summers, aam ras is a common Gujarati dish. Fresh mango pulp from ripe mangoes goes into making the aam ras.
In the cold winters, the houses in rural Gujarat serve a meal of Bhakri, which are thick flat breads made of wheat flour, onion, garlic and chaas. The addition of garlic in the winter months keeps the body warm. Addition of buttermilk to the bread dough makes it softer and tastier. The bhakri are a good source of energy and suits the pocket of low-income villagers.
With the changing times and merging of different cultures saw influence in the Gujarati food as well. The restaurants are coming up with fusion food. The food presented is a fusion of traditionally Gujarati food and western way of cooking. The distinctive fusion food is commonly served in the high profile Gujarati Matrimony functions.
The variety of vegetarian food offered by the state of Gujarat makes even the top chefs wonder about the long list of vegetarian fare. Though Gujaratis are spread in many states of India, the variety of Gujarati food is restricted to the state. Outside the state, only a few items have got popularity. Snacks like Dhokla and Khandvi and desserts like Shikhand have gained popularity.
A typical Gujarati Thali includes the following:
Roti –flat breads
Rice- steamed or with vegetables
Vegetables-common vegetables include Batata Sukhi Bhaji, Bhinda nu Shaak, Dudhi Bataka nu Shaak, Kobi Batata nu Shaak and Parwal Bateta nu Shaak
Daal- Moong Daal, Meethi (Sweet) Kadhi, Tuer daal
Farsan or side dishes – Bhajiya, Dahi Vada, Dhokla
Mithai (Sweets)- Jadariyu, Adadiya, Malpua, Mohanthal and Barfi
Condiments – Pickles and chutneys