A mouthful experience



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January 8, 2016

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Pani puri, an all time favorite street food for people, is also widely popular in Ahmedabad

Pani puri, an all time favorite street food for people, is also widely popular in Ahmedabad

Apart from its rich culture, Ahmedabad, in the Indian State of Gujarat, also boasts of its cuisine. A day spent here reveals the love for food among people and how this has resulted into formations of interesting food pockets in the city.

One of the few things that both amazed and amused me during my two year stay in Ahmedabad was the food habits of the people. It often seemed that the city transformed itself in response to the dietary requirements and routines at different hours. Law Garden, a popular hub for shopping for girls during the day for instance, changes into a street food paradise with choices ranging from cuisines such as Gujarati, Maharashtrian and South Indian. People of Ahmedabad are known for their munching behaviours all through the day and, as if in answer to this, the city is filled with small shops and vendors that feed people at all hours. Dhokla, Khakra, thepla, vada pav, dabeli, sevpuri are a few preferred Gujarati-Maharashtrian snack items reflecting the clear influence of the neighbouring south-western state of Maharashtra on its cuisine. In addition, Amdavids have tried peculiar experiments with their food as well. Chocolate sandwich and pineapple sandwich are a few of them indicating a conversion of the western food to complement the sweetness of the Gujarati thali (meal) itself. Eating Gujarati thali, with sweet curries and vegetables, often appears like having dessert for meal. Nevertheless, it is one of the most favoured and loved meals of northern India. The city is among very few places that boast of vegetarian gastronomy and has enviable range of options that this section lacks in other cuisines. A day in Ahmedabad can be interesting for people with vegetarian taste buds.

The morning overdose

The mornings of Ahmedabad bring a wide range of options. From the traditional khaman, khandavi and dhokla to the roadside vendors selling poha (a flattened rice preparation). The layers and softness of khandvi, made out of gram floor and buttermilk, may seem simple to achieve while cooking but it requires optimum consistency, sophisticated technique and practice to reach the dignified enough level to be served. Its lightness and taste makes people eat abundantly without having an account of the amount of food that melts easily inside the mouth. The soft and spongy khaman and dhokla, made out of gram flour as well, have a similar story. This could be a probable reason why the breakfast is accompanied by multiple other savouries such as fafda and khakra.

Apart from the traditional home food that can also be relished at numerous sweet shops that dot the city, the roadside vendors and teashops with interesting options keep the locals attracted to them too. Morning muska-bun (bun-butter) with tea at a tea stall is something one must experience while in the city. The amount of butter put in the bread is a direct reminder of the presence of Amul, a well-known dairy cooperative of India, in the neighbouring city of Anand, located approximately 75 kilometres away from Ahmedabad. As a matter of fact, the city doesn’t let the information unknown to anyone. It has mastered in the art of experimentally adding cheese to almost everything and with some exceptions, such as poha (made out of flattened rice), it is surprising that only seldom do they go wrong. Not only the usage but amount can be overwhelming as well, adding on to the general notion of prosperous Gujarat.

Between breakfast and lunch, people have numerous options in the form of sevpuri, khakra and handvo that allow a continuous exercise of the muscles. Gujarat is famous for its thalis. The city is filled with good places that particularly are known for serving thali.

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India&You (Jan-feb 2015) PBD Special

India&You PBD Special

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