India On A Platter: The Best And Most Popular Dishes From West India
Readers, food experts, historians and chefs curate and select the best dishes from the western regions of India
Goan Fish Curry:
Because of Goa’s popularity, Goan fish curry is firmly planted on the food map, with everyone from Rick Stein to Jamie Oliver interpreting it! But the original version—a rich, coconut curry, redolent with the fragrance of spices and fresh, ocean fish—eaten by hand with a mound of aromatic steamed rice, is bound to send you into a susegad stupor! Its authentic flavour comes from dried teppal (triphal) and the deep red colour from Byadgi chillies from neighbouring Karnataka. You’ll taste the sweetness of coconut and sautéed onions, the smoky-sourness of Malabar tamarind and the zing of chillies—all in one mouthful.
Popular Choice: Goan Fish Curry
Undhiyu: Come winter and every Gujarati household has pots simmering with this glistening green delicacy. Vegetables such as eggplant, green beans, pigeon peas, potato, green banana, yam and sweet potato are combined with fried muthia (made of gram flour and chopped fenugreek), ghee, green garlic and other spices. There are minor variations from region to region, but in the original process, the ingredients are placed in an earthen pot called a matlu, buried upside down underground and fired from above to slow cook the contents to perfection over several hours. When the undhu (the upside-down pot) is retrieved and opened, the aroma is unbelievable and the explosion of taste and texture is unmatched.
Popular Choice: Khaman Dhokla
Puran Poli: It hardly seems possible that humble ingredients such as gram flour, wheat and jaggery or sugar can produce something so sublime! But they do, especially when you add a dash of powdered cardamom and nutmeg to the mix. This delicate wholewheat pancake is filled with puran (stuffing) before being roasted on a griddle. Hot ghee slathered over it gives it the knockout punch, be they hardy farmers or city sophisticates! What’s amazing is that a written recipe for puran poli appeared as far back as the 14th century in the Telugu encyclopedia called Manu Charitra!
Popular Choice: Vada Pav