The Gujarati Pantry

Here are six widely used Gujarati ingredients called for in our recipes; they can be found at most South Asian supermarkets.

By Todd Coleman

Published on November 12, 2009

1. Toor dal, also called tuvar dal, are hulled and split yellow pigeon peas, legumes that resemble split yellow peas (which make a good substitute). They are used in everything from legume stews (also called dals) to crisp snacks.

2. Tamarind concentrate, usually stocked next to pickles and chutneys, is the extracted pulp of the tamarind fruit. Many cooks prefer to make fresh extract from the pods, but we like the convenience of the jarred version; it has a clean tartness that works perfectly in a great number of Gujarati dishes.

3.Asafetida is the dried resin or sap of the ferula, a variety of fennel. Sold either as a pressed block or, more commonly, as a powder in the spice section, it has a pleasing, sulfurous aroma and lends an onion-like taste to countless curries and dals.

4. Black mustard seeds have a pleasantly bitter quality without the pungency of their yellow cousins; they appear in virtually every savory Gujarati dish.

5. Dried turmeric is used to add color and a musky taste to all sorts of Gujarati stir-fries, dals, and curries; it's typically sold in small plastic bags or glass bottles.

6. Indian chickpea flour, sometimes labeled besan or gram flour, is made from the small dried Indian chickpea known as chana dal and is the base for dozens of delicious Gujarati snacks.

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