Back in the school days, ones friend’s Tiffin was almost always more interesting than their own and as a brought up in Ghatkopar (Read ‘Mini-Gujarat) chap; handua, undhiya, Adadiya Pak were on the menu often. Come college the tiffins disappeared and so did the items, only then that I realized that those dishes were not commonplace. Gujarathi cuisine may not be a rarity but certain classic dishes due to whatever reasons are restricted to Gujarathi and Kutchi households. You could imagine my excitement when I was apprised of the ‘Padharo Gujarat’ food promotion at Sofitel Mumbai, couldn’t refuse the invitation!
Maharaj Janakidas Vaishnav , a Rajasthani food specialist and the keeper of Tuskers kitchen roped in two homemakers from Surat, Ms Urmila Gohil and Ms Neha Varma to bring in the flavours of the Surti households. Puppet shows, and some live traditional music was packed along to enhance the experience. I began with an Aam Panna (Tuskers Style), it will surely give you company till the end of the meal.
The litmus test of the food was the Handua (handvo), a savory cake made of mixed lentils and it passed with flying colours. The Methi Dhokla, kachori, Bajra vadas and the Paneer Samosa had perfect textures and taste. One more item that got added to my repertoire of regional dishes was the Bhagosa, a gram flour prep which is steamed and then fried, on similar lines of the Maharashtrian Kothimbir wadi. For the mains was a mélange of seasonal vegetables, the Undhiyo, the vadi (lentil dumplings) nu shaak and phulkas. It ended with a quintessential masala khichdi and Surti Kadhi. To end my meal was the rich Aadiya pak, a winter time dessert made with urad dal flour and ghee and enriched with spices, saffron and dried fruits. It surely brought back even sweeter memories!
The ‘Padharo Gujarat’ promotion is on till the 28th February and is meant for all who want to eat more than just Khandvi, Fafda and Dhokla from Gujarat!! Lastly they do set menus starting at Rs 1700++ per person.