Monday, February 11, 2008

RCI - Gujarati Food

Many years ago, we decided to go on a ten-day tour of Gujarat, since my sister had an interview at IIM A and my dad's organisation had several regional offices that he needed to visit. Those were the old days, before budget airlines, so we all travelled by train, an overnight journey to Ahmedabad. Of course, the trip started on a funny note as, after yelling at all of us to make sure we had packed everything we needed, Mom forgot her entire suitcase at home, As soon as we landed in Ahmedabad, we had to call on a friendly colleague of dad's who hauled us off to a narby market and Mom bought several sarees, plus petticoats, and even found a tailor who delivered several well-stitched blouses overnight.

Our only worry before going was the food. Not the vegetarian aspect of it, since we are all veg, but the fact that rumour had it all Gujarati food was sweet tasting. We had had a few Gujju snacks - dhokla which we all loved, Shrikhand which was a summer staple at our place, muthias, theplas and khakras - but having every meal with a selection of sweetish dishes seemed like too much of a good thing. We needn't have worried. The kind lady who helped mom shop also took us to a restaurant for breakfast. One warm helping of Phaaphdas with chutney and we were hooked. We had an amazing journey through Gujarat - Ahmedabad, Lothal, Gandhinagar, Junagadh, Somnath, Dwarka, Baroda etc, and we felt like mini-kings or at least like Raj relics as, since Dad was an extremely high-ranking central government officer, at each station the guard used to come up to him and ask if it was okay for the train to start. Cool, eh?

Many years later, I bought a copy of Tarla Dalal's Gujarati cookbook and gujju dishes like this have been pretty much part of the Sunday repertoire whenever I get cooking. For RCI - Gujarat, I wanted to make some new stuff, though. I had planned on an entire meal including dessert but we ran short of time after grocery shopping so dessert was the yummy Basundi - a thickened milk dessert flavoured with saffron - packaged by Amul which I bought on my last visit to Ahmedabad.

The meal I served, though no match for Pakwan, was:
Trevtia dal and
Gajar-shimla-mirch sambhaar with
Methi Theplas

Simple, flavourful and delicious and, best of all, light!

Trevtia Dal
1/2 cup green split moong dal
1/2 cup arhar dal
1/2 cup chana dal
1 tomato, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 dried red chillies
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp asafoetida
3-4 cloves
Red chilli powder
2 green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
salt to taste
Pressure cook the three dals together for 3 whistles. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok. add the cumin seeds. When they darken, add the red chillies, asafoetida and turmeric. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the tomato and cook until soft. Add the green chillies, red chilli powder, cloves and the cooked dals. add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the lime juice and salt and simmer for 10 minutes. I garnished with fresh coriander leaves which always add a refreshing fragrance to any savoury dish.
Gajar-Shimla Mirch Sambhaar
Sambhaar is a gujarati masala mix and not the south Indian dish one serves with dosa, I found out.
It is made by mixing 1 cup yellow mustard seeds, 1/4 th cup fenugreek seeds, 1.25 cups red chilli powder, 2 cups salt, 2 tbsp asafoetida and 1 cup oil. You just heat the oil, let it cool and throw over the mixture of the rest of the ingredients. It tastes best a few days after it is made.
For the Gajar Shimla mirch sabzi, you just cube two carrots and green capsicums, saute them in a mustard-seeds tempering with a pinch of asafoetida until cooked but crunchy and pour 3 tbsps of the sambhaar masala over it. It tastes better if left for about an hour to take in the flavour of the masala.
Theplas (for 12-14)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup curd/ yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste
Mix into a soft, pliable dough, using water only if required. Add sauteed methi leaves if you like ( we love them) while mixing the dough. Roll them out to 5" diameter rounds and cook on a hot tava until both sides have brown spots, using a few drops of oil along the way. Serve hot.


Asha said...

YUM! Love the Thepla. I made Rotlos for RCI, great thali!:))

bird's eye view said...

Thanks Asha. I must say, your platter sounded great - meant to leave a comment but was in a tearing hurry. I don't know how you churn out such plentiful feasts day after day - with me it's only weekend love!

Pelicano said...

I chuckled out loud when I read about your mom's little mishap; I bet none of you let her forget it! lol
Interesting spicing (and dhal mix as well)for the Trevtia dhal- totally making me curious to try it...the theplas are intriguing as well- have never tried them (or heard of them!) but with dahi as the moisture, they must be soft and yummy like Punju naan and baturas. Nice post of dishes I've never before encountered.

bird's eye view said...

Pelicano - we still rag mom about it saying it was her way of making dad cough up for some new sarees :)
Theplas are incredibly flavourful, soft little rotis which stay moist for quite a few days and are ideal for travel. I quite enjoyed trying out new Gujju recipes for this one...Thanks for your comment on the post.

Pelicano said...

Ah! But I have one more: I prepared the Trevtia dhal, and I must say it is delicious! I'll be making it again...however I still felt a Gujju-need to add a pinch of gur [ducks] but I tried really hard not to! :-D Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

bird's eye view said...

Pelicano - I totally sympathise with your need to add gur to the dal - I almost did it myself but stopped only because it wasn't in the recipe. My Mysore genes always have me adding a dash of gur to my sambar and rasam though! I'm glad you liked the Trevtia daal - all thanks to Tarla aunty!

gujarat vichar manch said...

Dear Sir,
Corruption and mismanagement of our public money, land, property and systems, services is common problem faced by every Indian. We all are trying to establish effective transparent system. We all are wishing for ultimate universal balance growth.
It is possible, we all positive intellectuals join with common mission of restructuring our public administrative system and fight corruption.
We Indian, at Surat,Gujarat formed Gujarat vichar manch, we train citizens, we help them to utilize RTI, we help to make PIL, and we are fighting for every individual's problem sincerely.
Gujarat vichar manch is a unique platform to meet, think and act intellectually. For common mission of ultimate universal balanced growth. Email us to Register complain of every Gujarat and central government, cooperative society, trusts,boards and any corruption and corrupted officer and public servant
Write article to us-
On how to fight corruption
Suggest us –
Restructuring of effective system
Donate us –
To grow and help us to fight corruption without corruption
Spare and invest your time-
To serve nation as volunteers in your area,
Regular Meeting of Gujarat vichar manch held every Sunday at 4 pm at- goverdhan wadi, opp pratik arcade, bhagatalav, nanavat. Surat, Gujarat, India.395008.
President-,Shri pradip bhai deputy,M-9327002514.
Vice president-,Shri vithalbhai Patel,M-09825378177
For getting RTI-help & to disclose corruption cases
inform us on09228484459.Lagerhonatubhai

Dear Indians,

Dear sathiyo, jindabad

We all are serving mother land by unique way. We constantly think for social injustice, livelihood, and nation.
We love your team, we love motherland, and we love anti sez fight.
We are committed to ultimate universal balance growth.
in Gujarat, on political group of intellectuals formed in name of Gujarat vichar march in Pune western consultation on sez we have decided to fight against SEZ.and associate with all activist, institutes fighting against SEZ.and with other NGO from Gujarat for fighting SEZ, Gujarat sez virodhi manch established.

What happened in Gujarat?

In Gujarat following LA done and violated many provisions of LA and other acts.
1. SEZ related,
2. Gujarat industrial development corporation (GIDC) had acquired fertile land since more then 20 years but not utilized till date and selling to corporate,
3. project under name of vibrant Gujarat

We think for Gujarat

Gujarat is leader in everything in INDIA. We all have to rethink our industrialization policy keeping in mind following points.
1. Mahatma Gandhi, sardar Patel national leaders had outlined growth, must be balancing and self sustained.urbanisation is increasing. Villages and agriculture with our culture on fear to loss of existence. Fearing to survival. Gujarat must be on her foot stand without any reliance on other. Means no grains, foods to be imported. It must be produced sufficient for Gujarat for minimum stock 5 years. We have sufficient fertile land and now Narmada yojana has helped us to provide water to agriculture. We have good farming records too. We are best farmers too. AMUL dairy is good example of our animal husbandry and dairy technology.urbanisation increasing at the fastest more then 50 % land covered under urbanisation.industrialisation is too fast. world is facing problem of food security, example of Kazakhstan country exported maximum grains to other nation ,stopped to export only because of not having produce but policy are changing. We can not stay on food waiting other country gives us grains and our mother sister prepare food for us. world war or disaster or any political act make us all without grains means,food.nothing will happen even we all have lots of monies in our and Swiss bank accounts. We and our kids need only grains. We maximum Gujarati are vegetarian. We can't eat fish or meat. We opt to be self reliant for grains. And determined to never relay on other for grains imports. We can import everything but food is prime to us and our next generations.
2. To be self reliant for food we must have stress on agriculture. We must turn to save agriculture in Gujarat. We must stop usage of fertile land in industrialisation, sez or other white elephant type project even for resident too. We can stay in high rise built on barren land but agricultural land must be saved any way. Gujarat industrial development corporation made much fertile land acquisition since 20 years average but not utilize for industrialization and not given back to farmers to make farming. Now GIDC selling to industries to develop sez at throw away prices.crores of rupees loss happen to Gujarat by such acquisition and further allotment to sez and other industries. We must stop such decisions. Congress or BJp or other political party never can see real need. They are making monies by associating with capitalist and others on sake of Gujarat's fertile land. We have invested lots of rupees to develop Narmada dam to water agriculture and human, animals, not for industries. One side we will complete canals network but no land will remain to farming because of urbanisation, industrialisation. We must think for next coming generations, we are in wrong direction, stop and think once as mahatma Gandhi directed us.
3. Our industrialization made maximum employment, but not to Gujarati.employment benefits goes in higher position to keralite and other English medium states people. Lower level employment benefits goes to oriss, up, Bihar, maharastra and other states workers. migrant people are increasing with reference to population of Gujarati.This industrialisation,pollution,loss of fertile land & water and other natural resource harmed us all Gujarati.we have to think for employment of Gujarati not for other state people. We have lost many sisters character only because of in balancing male female ration in balanced due to migration of only males to Gujarat. Think nothing to be loss more, we can stop outsider by laws, by protest, by stopping urbanisation, stopping industrialization, by cancellation of every coming up SEZ, GIDC estates etc.we must have to do by priority, other wise our kids will not regret us.
4. We must focus on agriculture, self reliant on every thing. no import, no export we need for only statically satisfaction of index of growth. We need real growth, peace, healthy Gujarat, educated Gujarat, self reliant Gujarat. Spread this message to every one by emails, or other make changes in policies. Protest and associate with us in movement "Gujarat bachao andolan".
5. We need to stop pollution, traffic jam, migration, industrialization, urbanisation.can you help me in this mission?
In Gujarat, what we are facing.
In Gujarat we are facing different type of difficulty. to fight against Narendra modi government we are not getting immediate documents, after applying RTI one written answer they issue at last day, that these files are at other head office, and further transfer of application, appeal and second appeal comes on board after six month. We become late by minimum 8 month to get some important papers.
Second- people are not supporting by physically, all are distressed by government. To motivate them all in one direction for one motive looks difficult. Some are saying it's a problem of few.
third- monetary we have to fight against beaurocrates,autocrates,capitalist,politician etc, we have to fight strategically, we cant take help of opposition party, or other source which may blackmail or emotional controling.we have to first establish proper organisation,join real leaders ,motivate them, and persistently follow.
Fourth- no people are ready to die; no one is hand to mouth in Gujarat. They are not struggling to survive. If land saved as agricultural then it seems good to all but no one spare time to movement.
We need reference material, ideas and direction how to fight, how to motivate. Here we are facing challenge

We need following help
List of sez virodhi
• organization all over India with their member list, web, email, mobile, ph, fax and special details of their fight and success.
•,slogans,posters,tips,suggessio ns,analysis,reports,news,motivational experience, any reference material, articles, judgments etc. material which can be helpful in fight against sez
•,videos,news,views,opinion,reports etc on sez
Coming up events, program, of ncas and associated sez
• virodhi associations.
courier or email us scan images-
• literature,handbill,poster,ppt presentations,songs,video,audio and slogans developed for sez fight motivation in different language.
Keep us
• informed every actions and progress, problems, analysis, stastics etc. convey our email and mobile no to all.
address for courier- shri pradipbhai
• deputy,chairmen,gujarat vichar manch c/o-computershop,dr mansukhlal tower,opp-dhiraj sons,athwagate,surat 395001
Write- post box no-512,
akrd, surat-395008, Gujarat, India.

We are in process to collect all record by RTI, meet the affected people and list out cases for further action plan, as it is very important work we have to carry keeping in mind loksabha elections on way.

We are new association, we have to collect many papers, proof against Gujarat government, and we need your help and direction.

We hope your visit in Gujarat will motivate in this sez virodhi movement.
Please make us inform which dates of june or July can be allotted to Gujarat sez virodhi movement.

We are with you, we hope every success, we pray
Jay hind

Natubhai Patel (lageraho Natubhai),
Gujarat sez virodhi manch - convener
Gujarat vichar manch-secretary
Email- ,

Dear friend,
We at India, in Gujarat formed non political intellectual group named - GUJARAT VICHAR MANCH,
We want to join more and more non political intellectual join hand, discuss and help different citizen as joint efforts.
We are forming different committee of expertise for consultation on different specialized matter like
1. Right to information group-helps people to write application to present in appeal
2. PIL group-on public interest issue present public interest litigation on behalf of citizen of India in concern high courts as well as in supreme courts.
3. R and D group-which research different data, truth, scope, interpretation of law, need of changes in laws as well as in public administrative system in every specific department with different activity.
4. Networked group-which associates different persons, professionals, ngo and institutions and make solid core group which makes real impact
5. Administrative group-which helps in real administration on actual expense taking base for local administrations, regular meeting, arranging workshop, etc physically.
We need your help. We can save nation from corruption, mismanagement of public money, public land and public infrastructure and resources.
We can be watch dog for effectiveness in public administration as well as can be catalyst change agent for effective universal balance growth every creature needs.
Hope, Ur suggestion will help us, direction will guide us, and Ur joining with us will motivate our group.
Jay hind
N.M.Patel (lagerahonatubhai)
Mob-India, Gujarat, surat-09228484459

smith said...

Sometimes I try Simple Thepla and I really enjoy it. Here I have see some new recipe and its amazing. I can't wait it because My mouth is still watering.
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