Myriad Tastes

Twenty-three Gujarati fruits and vegetables.

By Vikram Doctor

Published on November 16, 2009

The Indian state of Gujarat is home to one of the world's most complex and nuanced vegetarian cuisines (see ** Flavor's Realm**). Some of the vegetables found in a typical market in Gujarat are familiar to Westerners; others are lesser known, even to cooks in other parts of India. Here is a glossary of popular Gujarati produce.

The fruity, tangy flavor of tomatoes embodies the sweet-sour quality cherished in Gujarati cooking.

Turmeric imparts a bright yellow color and a musky undertone to dishes such as the _ khandvi_.

Fulaver, or cauliflower, originally a British import, lends its brawny texture to dishes such as fulaver nu shaak, a Gujarati dry-cooked curry.

Ratalu, or purple yam, is beloved for its earthy flavor and striking hue; in Gujarat you'll often find it sliced and fried in peanut oil.

Tangy fenugreek leaves, called methi, are often added to breads.

Valor beans are similar to sugar snap peas.

Cluster beans, known as guvar, are often used in curries.

_**Parval **_ look like tiny, plump zucchini and taste delicious sauteed with curry leaves and garlic.

Some Gujarati dishes acquire a pleasing bitterness from bitter melon, locally known as karela.

Bottle gourd, or dudhi, has a subtle, squash-like flavor.

Small Indian onions, or kanda, are sweet enough to eat raw.

Okra is loved for its meaty texture and taste.

Kakadi is a South Asian variety of cucumber.

Small eggplants known as ringan are wonderful cooked whole in a sweet-spicy masala.

Mild-tasting, watery snake gourds are delicious cooked with cumin seeds and ginger.

The Indian chile known as machu provides a sharp heat.

Aromatic curry leaves, known in Gujarat as limdo, are used as an aromatic in legume and vegetable dishes.

Potatoes  are often steamed.

The small gourds called tindora are used in a number of dry-cooked curries.

Marcha chiles are about as hot as poblano chiles.

Elephant's foot yam, called suran, is often used to add heft to curries.

Tough-shelled moringa pods, also called drumsticks, are valued for their earthy-tasting pulp.

One of the most widely used aromatics in Gujarati cooking is adu, or ginger.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.