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Sweet and spicy Gujju fare


GO GUJARATI this Diwali. All sweet and gooey, here's Chef V Sabu to give a helping hand. Right now, he is thrilled with the one-month training that he underwent in Gujarat, courtesy the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat, to make authentic Gujarati fare. He is all ready to entertain guests at Sarovaram, the vegetarian hotel at Maradu, bang on the Bypass.

"Gujarati cuisine is very simple, really," Sabu explains. "It takes just half an hour to cook four curries. They use a lot of asafoetida and coriander leaves, but not much curry leaves, as we Keralites do."

There is a huge Gujarati population in Kerala but they have so merged with their Kerala neighbours that even their cooking has been heavily influenced by the local cuisine. "It is as an effort to bring in genuine Gujarati cooking here that Sabu went there," said Sarovaram marketing manager, Sunil Joy.


Spicy and sweet Gujarati dal is the most common recipe that you can identify with the State. Here's how you make it, as Sabu explains:

Gujurati Dal

Ingredients

Dal - 250 gms
Ginger, a small piece
One onion, 2 green chillies, Molasses: 100 gms.
A pinch of asafoetida, chilly powder and ghee to fry
Salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves


Method

Boil well the dal and keep aside.

Fry a tablespoon of ghee and put in the chopped ginger and chillies into a kadai. When brown, add the asafoetida and chilly powder. Mix with the dal, adding the molasses too. Eat it hot with chappathis.

The most famous of all Gujarati preparations is Kadhi. It's a curd-based dish. "You simply MUST eat it," advises Sabu.

Kadhi

Ingredients

2 glasses of buttermilk, not very sour.
2 tablespoon gram flour (besan), salt, 3-4 green chillies, one inch piece ginger, 2 cloves, cumin seeds, coriander leaves, jaggery, curry leaves.

Method

Mix gram flour to buttermilk and dissolve well, add chilli, ginger paste, salt and heat. Keep stirring and allow to simmer. Do not boil; lastly add jaggery.


Gujarati cooking, like girls, is all sugar and spice. And it's a gheeful experience too. But, says Sabu, all that fat perhaps gets neutralised through the pudhina chutney that Gujarati cuisine is famous for. Raw onion accompanies every meal, another healthy habit. Asafoetida in most dishes also counters much of the ill effects if any. Everything is eaten piping hot.

From November 4-8, you can enjoy these vegetarian Gujarati fare at Sarovaram.

PREMA MANMADHAN

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