Cuisines of Western India And Their Unique Flavors

A Flavorsome Journey Across Western India

Cuisines of Western India or Paschim Bharat is worth exploring! It is a region full of variety – in culture, lifestyle, cuisine and language. Maharashtra offers a plethora of mildly to very spicy dishes and Gujarat has a rich collection of vegetarian fare, even though it has an extensive coastline that offers sea food. Rajasthani food is known for its use of hot spices, pickels and chutneys. Goa, on the other hand, makes generous use of coconut, local spices and sea food in its cuisine. Malvani dishes are a heady mix of Maharashtrian and Goan tastes.

Over the years, these regions have exchanged flavors and evolved in their recipes and yet they remain so distinctively unique. From aromatically spiced dishes to over-dose of sugary sweets – Pashchim Bharat Food Fest is bound to make you drool!

Here are some unique facts about each of these cuisines; it will add to your Paschim Bharat food experience at Holachef.

  1. Rajasthani Food

The most significant part of this cuisine is the use of food items that can last for days. Basically, being a desert state, the people in this region did not have access to many fresh vegetables, fruits, etc. In fact, scarcity of water also influenced the eating habits; such as using milk and milk products more. It is because of this reason that you will see many Rajasthani dishes making use of cereals, dried lentils, beans from desert plants, etc. Besan, or gram flour, is used to make popular dishes such as ‘gattekisabzi’, and ‘mangodikisabzi’ is made of Yellow Gram or ‘moong dal’, etc. The most popular Rajasthani dish, Daalbaati, is made of only a mixture of flours and 5-lentil daal.

Daal Baati

Rajasthani food is full of chutneys and you will see a variety of those made of coriander, tomatoes, turmeric, garlic and mint. Various regions of Rajasthan boast of a different sweet dish as their speciality. For example, Milk Cake of Alwar, MawaKachori of Jodhpur, Rasogullas of Bikaner, Ghevar of Jaipur, Malpuas of Pushkar, the list goes on!

Largely, this state in North – Western India is vegetarian. However, a discussion on Rajasthani cuisine is incomplete without the mention of Laal Maas. It is mutton curry made with hot red chilies, garlic, etc. It is enjoyed best with chapatis or bajreki roti.

Jeemba padharosa!

(The phrase literally means inviting someone over for a meal with respect)

  1. Maharashtrian Food

Vada –Pav, Missal – Pav, Amti –Puran Poli, Kande Pohe, Zunka Bhakri – there’s just an endless list of delectable combos in Maharashtra. This with an array of koshambeers (salads) and lonache (pickles) make the cuisine irresistible. Have you ever tasted any of the meat rassas? Ah – those are worth their while. Maharashtra has a good sea-food scene as well with bombil fry, ambat tikhat surmai, rawa fry and other preparations of pomfret, lobster, prawns, crab, etc.

Vada Pav

Wherever you are in the Western India state of Maharashtra, you will always find a food stall near you – serving the most delicious sabudanawadas, vadapav, kandepohe, sabudana khichdi, et al. Having a hot vadapav with fried green chili and hot cutting chai is something that Maharashtrians absolutely love and it’s totally understandable why!

Jevan tayyar aahe!

(The phrase literally means the food is ready as a way of inviting someone over for a meal)

  1. Gujarati Food

Dhokla, Handva, Thepla, Fafda, Patra, Undhiyu, SevTameta nu Shaak, Sev Usal, Khandvi, Khakhra, Khamman, Papdi no Lot, Dhabeli, Muthiya – these are many just some of the many delicious recipes from he Western India state of Gujarat that you must have tried or at least heard of! Gujrati cuisine is divided into four regional cuisines: North Gujrat, Kathiawad, Kutch and Surti Gujrat. The dishes are simultaneously sweet and spicy.  One can notice a marked difference in the Gujrati food as the season changes.

Gujrati Thali

A major attraction within the Gujarati fare is the thali which, in spite of being sweeter than other regional cuisines, has a healthy spread including buttermilk. Not to forget, Gujaratis love their snacks especially farsans which are also served as a side dish in meals and at times offered to guests along with sweets.

Jamvaa aavjo!

(The phrase literally means inviting someone over for a meal with love)

  1. Goan Food

Chicken Xacuti, Pork Vindaloo, Sorpotel, Bebinca, Dodol – Goan food is every foodie’s delight, especially for those who love exploring non vegetarian cuisine.  Influenced partly by its erstwhile Portuguese rulers the cuisine offers a distinct variety with generous use of coconut.  Sea food is an inevitable part of a Goan’s diet and from dried fish to fresh ones, fried and in curries, the recipes are endless. Goans love to preserve their masalas and marinades for all the non vegetarian delicacies; keeping their freshness intact!

Goan Pomfret Curry

The veg fare in this Western India state is equally sumptuous.  Goans largely incorporate the local green leafy vegetables in their diet, which are, at times even homegrown in their gardens.  Most of these are cooked with coconut and local spices.  Goans end their meal with – solkadhi, a cooling drink and a soul rejuvenating potion on a hot summer afternoon.  Made with kokum and coconut milk; it is also sometimes used as a curry and mixed with rice.

Jevan Tayyar Asaa!

(The phrase literally means courteously inviting someone over for a meal)

Try them all at Holachef at the Paschim Bharat Food Fest only on 25th September 2015. To see the menu, click here.

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