by Bini Ludlow
Dal is a staple ingredient in India, used as a source of protein. In the Gujarat region of India we have a very large population of vegans and vegetarians.
Gujarati cuisine is about combining flavours, textures and creating a balanced meal using spices cleverly. Nothing should be overpowering.
As a child my first memory of eating dal was cooking and eating moong dal. We also ate val ni dal, toor ni dal, kichdee and ondhwa. Most non-vegetarian Gujarati families, after a weekend of feasting would calm the stomach by eating mag (mung bean curry), khadi (hot yoghurt sauce tempered with spices), bhat (perfect basmati rice), rotlee (freshly cooked chapattis), served with a crispy popadom and spiced lime pickle. This is a vegetarian’s dream. It’s tasty, hearty and great for the digestion!
We also enjoyed my mum’s vegetable cake, called ondhwa. It was a perfect way to eat plenty of vegetables.
As a young cook, my mum would teach me how to wash and prepare this delicious cake. There are lots of ingredients, but don’t be put off as it’s worth the effort. Honestly.