Renowned for its warmth and hospitality, the state of Gujarat also boasts a thriving street food culture. From crunchy patra to the flavourful khandvi, the street foods are Gujarat are beloved across India. Continue reading to discover the most iconic street foods of Gujarat.
Similar to Mumbai, Gujarat is blessed with a rich and varied street food scene. Hawkers and food stalls line the city streets of Gujarat with an array of unique and delicious street foods, including classics, such as dhokla and kachori, as well as regional specialties, such as handvo and sev usal. The lively aromas and vivid colours of these foods combine to not only paint a culinary spectacle but also enhance the overall street food experience for foodies everywhere.
What makes the street food of Gujarat so special? Like Gujarati cuisine in general, these street foods showcase the versatility of vegetarian ingredients, Gujarati food being predominantly vegetarian. They also display a range of cooking techniques; while some specialties like dhokla are steamed, treats like the evergreen fafda and jalebi are deep-fried. Similarly, another Gujarati street food, the handvo, is baked.
Let us take a stroll through the streets of Gujarat to explore some of the state’s most treasured street foods.
Fafda and Jalebi
Fafda is a crispy and deep-fried Gujarati snack that is prepared using gram flour, turmeric, and carom seeds. A popular breakfast item, the dish is typically served with a chutney to elevate its flavour. Most fafda joints are also known to sell the delectable and melt-in-your-mouth sweet dish, jalebi. Thus, fafda and jalebi go together, creating a lovely balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
Like fafda, kachori too, is a scrumptious deep-fried Gujarati delicacy. While different regions of the country have their own twist on this dish, the kachori of Gujarat is typically made of spiced lentils. Simple ingredients, such as flour, salt and oil are blended together to create a dough, which is then filled with spiced lentils and consumed after frying. Kachori is usually eaten with a sweet chutney; but it tastes perfectly good without any condiments as well.
Image Credits: By w:User:Pmahale - taken by w:User:Pmahale, Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons
The distinctive, yellow-hued khandvi is one of the most beloved street style snacks of Gujarat. Served in bite-sized pieces that are typically shaped like long rolls, khandvi tends to be a big hit with children and adults alike. The dish is created from a batter made of gram flour, yoghurt, and water. Like kachori, the khandvi can stand on its own; however, local joints serve the dish with a special tamarind and jaggery chutney.
Any list of Gujarati foods would be incomplete without the inclusion of the evergreen dhokla. Although there are various types of dhokla, including khaman dhokla, khatta dhokla, and sandwich dhokla, this dish is essentially a steamed specialty that is made with fermented batter. Ingredients, such as chickpea flour and rice flour can be used to make the batter. Regardless of the type of dhokla, it pairs well with spicy coriander chutney as well as tangy tamarind chutney.
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Popularly consumed as a breakfast item throughout Gujarat, handvo is a crispy delicacy that has a cake-like texture. The batter of handvo comprises several vegetables, including carrot, peas, and bottle gourd, making it a healthy as well as a tasty dish. The vegetables are blended with semolina, yoghurt, and water, and then baked till they assume a golden-brown colour. This dish is usually eaten with a spicy green chutney which is believed to enhance its flavour.
Sev usal is a spicy and tangy Gujarati street food specialty that is served in the form of a curry. The dish is prepared using a variety of diced vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and onions, which are subsequently cooked together in a flavour-packed tomato curry. Once cooked properly, the dish is garnished with generous helpings of flaky sev, and eaten with either rice or bread.
Image Credits: By Aparna Rao 72 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons
Dabeli, originating in the region of Kutch, can be considered Gujarat’s version of the legendary Maharashtrian vada pav. Served in a toasted bun, the dish is filled with a spicy mashed potato mixture that is blended with spices, including turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and fennel. This spicy potato blend is further seasoned with pomegranate seeds, peanuts, and sev, all of which lend it a crunchy element. The competing flavours of the diverse ingredients of the dabeli give it a truly explosive taste.
Image Credits: By Vivekpat30 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons
Characterised by its striking green colour and round, almost spherical shape, patra is a Gujarati street food that is made of colocasia leaves. The process of making this dish is quite complex; the leaves are rolled in a sweet and sour tamarind paste and steamed. They are then cut into their signature shape and fried with a bunch of spices, including cloves, fennel, and cinnamon.