Food Stories/ Food Traditions

Protein Providers – The Legumes of Gujarati Cuisine

The predominantly vegetarian cuisine of Gujarat depends greatly on a large variety of legumes and dairy for its daily protein. Legumes are crops that are grown for their seeds, pulses and lentils. The famed Gujarati Thali is incomplete without a serving of Dal/lentil  and Kathol/pulses while the primary cooking fats of Gujarat are sesame oil  and groundnut oil.  The lips making variety of Gujarati Farsans like dhokla, handvo, khandvi, fafda, gathiya, bhajiya hero besan or the chickpea flour and combination of  grains and legumes. Even our paper thin  Khakhra are made using some of these pulses.   Tuvar dal/split region peas, Moong/moong beans, Chana/desi garbanzo beans, Chora/black eyed peas, Val/field beans, Muth/moth beans are the legumes we use in everyday cooking. In traditional Gujarati households there are days reserved for Kathols like Wednesday has to have moong beans on the menu while Thursdays it is chana-dal… Some legumes like kidney beans, Kabuli chana, masoor dal have never been part of our traditional cuisine and were seldom made before. A brief list of how the pulses make way into our diet will help you understand the cuisine better..

Kichri – made in combination of small grained rice and tuvar dal or moong dal or chalk wali moong dal.

Kadhi +Bhaat +Dry Moong Dal

Moong and Moth are usually sprouted together for Wednesdays.

Fridays might feature desi chana on the menu.

Handva flour has rice+tuvar dal +urad dal and some might go on to add some amount of other dals.

A feast of Ladoo and Puri  always has Val.

Tuvar na thotha or whole dried tuvar beans are usually made during winters. Tuver as pulses is a staple with many tribal communities.

Vadi, the dried lentil dumplings are made using Chora ni dal/split black eyed peas.

The Gujarati Dapka/ pakora Kadhi usually has pakora made of Chora ni dal or moong ni dal. The dapka are never fried in oil but are cooked in the boiling hot kadhi itself.

Peanuts are our favorite item to snack. Raw peanuts are added to Dal, Handvo, Dhokla etc.

There are hundreds of ways our wise ancestors have designed to include pulses and lentils in every meal. Pulses are low cost way of including proteins in diet, they are rich in fiber, iron, low in cholesterol, low fat, earth friendly food products.

How do you love to enjoy your legumes??

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