When I set up this blog, many of my friends were very enthusiastic about the cooking, food and recipes section. In particular, many were very excited about having access to the many South Asian recipes I aimed to share. While at university, I use to do a lot of cooking and many of my dishes were Gujarati and fusion foods from South Asian and East Africa which always went down well with my colleagues and friends.
As a British child of Ugandan and Kenyan immigrants, both with Indian Gujarati ancestry and upbringing, the concept of ‘fusion food’ was not an unheard of at meal preparation. Over years, the union of the invaluable culinary skills have became a cherished inheritance of the merging of South Asian settlers in the East African regions on the continent. This naturally occuring alliance is proof of food as well as food culture being permeable, evolving with the ability to move with us across the world.
Indian and Gujarati food mainly comes from India where a majority of people are strict vegetarians, often omitting the use of onions and garlic primarily due to the heavy influence of Hinduism and its teachings. There are some distinct differences in food habits and methods of food preparation throughout the Western Indian region of Gujarat too, owing primarily to the climactic and cultural variations. Ingredients like yogurt, buttermilk, coconut, groundnut, sesame seeds, lime juice, fresh herbs and jaggery are commonplace in Gujarati food preparation. Furthermore, the spice level and flavour of Gujarati foods is regional as well as to the taste preferences of individual family’s.
Gujarati food is a highly distinctive type of Indian cuisine which is very often served along with basmati rice and a range of wheat breads, such as Chapati, Naan, Thepla, and Poori. Most people love Gujarati delicacies like crisp spicy fried savoury cuisines and sweets made of milks and purified butter, also known as ghee. The popular Gujarati plate or ‘thali’ as it is known is served in homes, in restaurants, at marriages and many other events and festivals and comprises of savouries, sweets, rice, dals, wheat breads, sweet and sour chutneys and pickles. This balance is very much due to the blending of the sweet and the salty which clearly distinguishes Gujarati food from other Indian varieties. Gujarati food typically consists of rice or chapatis, pulses, vegetables, salads, papad (poppadums) and yogurt. It is very often nutritious and balanced.
Many of the recipes I will share with you can be adapted to suit different tastes and I aim to incorporate flavours from major regions of Gujarat ranging from sweet, salty and spicy. In my family, our food is traditionally mildly spiced and does not include onion although in some dishes we do incorporate garlic, however, overtime I have adapted some of the dishes to include both to give it an authentic flavour.
If any of you have any questions about Gujarati food or even the EAst African cooking or cooking in general then please do contact me through the comments below.