Gujarat India: Alive With Diversity In Both Meals & Culture

July 4, 2013
Written by Rita Cook in
The Welcoming Table
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Undhiyu 1
Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable casserole that includes regional ingredients that change depending on where visit in the state of Gujarat. Photo Credit:

The country of India is alive with diversity in not only its culture but also the possibilities to feed ones palette. Each state within the country offers a smorgasbord of delights, and in the state of Gujarat, where Gandhi is from, the cuisine is primarily vegetarian sometimes with a bit of seafood influence since the state has a strong coastline. Even so, with the main religions in the country of both Jainism and Hinduism, a vegetarian diet always stands out. 

A common meal in Gujarat might include Rotli, Dal, Kadhi, and rice, a dish made from vegetables and spices, and served either sweet or spicy. Also, depending on which of the four main areas in the state of Gujarat you visit, each offers a different influence in the style of flavors you eat, including not only spicy or sweet, but also salty.

Rice and lentil are always a staple food in the Gujarati home, as well as what they call chaas or buttermilk along with pickles as a side dish. Main courses with the vegetarian twist include salt, sugar, lemon, lime, tomato, and often sugar.

The menu in Gujarat also changes depending on the season. For example, in the summer, fruits such as mangos are more available, and the spices change with the seasons as well and compliment the dishes served. In the winter, you might eat a thick Roti made from wheat flour with lots of garlic, onion, and chutney.

Dessert is also a popular favorite among the Gujarati people who use ingredients that vary from sugarcane, to milk, and almonds.

A standout dish called Undhiyu is a mixed vegetable casserole, normally cooked upside down in underground earthen pots and fired from above. The ingredients most commonly include regional vegetables such as green beans, unripe banana, muthia, and purple yam. You cook the vegetables in a spicy curry with coconut.

Recipe for Undhiyu.

Ingredients needed:

8 green leaf garlics

4 baby Brinjal

50 grams fresh Tuver dana

50 grams fresh lilva dana

7  small potatoes

100 grams sweet potatoes

100 grams yam

25 broad beans

2 raw bananas

30 grams sugar

10 grams tamarind

5 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons of coconut scrapes

4 green chilies

a pinch of asafoetida

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 cup coriander leaves

2 inch ginger

1 teaspoon mustard

1 teaspoon whole Jeera

1 teaspoon Jawain Salt by taste


Wash, peel, and dice the potatoes, yam, sweet potatoes, and raw bananas; wash the brinjal and cut into four pieces without cutting the stem. Make a paste of garlic, green chilies, ginger, and mix with the cut coriander. Stuff the potatoes and brinjal into the mixture along with the string beans cut into one-inch strips.

Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan, mix the asafoetida and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, mix in the ground Masala and broad beans, and place the remaining vegetables in layers one on top of the other. Sprinkle in the salt and turmeric powder, and stir-fry for five minutes on a high flame. Pour out one cup of water, cover and simmer at a slow boil for 15 minutes. Mix in the fried muthiyia and simmer for 15 minutes. Shake the vegetables, but do not use a spoon to stir; serve hot with scraped coconut coriander leaves and chutney.

The Welcoming Table