Gujarati Thali & Methi Na Gota
THEME: #264 TIME FOR THALI
RECIPE: GUJARATI THALI & METHI NA GOTA
What is a Thali?
Thali in Hindi means plate. It is a round platter on which food is served, commonly in the South Asian and South East Asian Countries. In India thali refers to a variety of food served on one big platter. Usually, thali is served for lunch or dinner. These days with brunch becoming a fad breakfast thalis too are served in many restaurants or eateries.
Types of Thali:
As a matter of fact there is a huge variety of Thalis available in India. Go to any part of India, any state, any region and you will not miss a thali. A typical thali will contain a flatbread, rice, lentil curry, vegetable curry or stir fry. Some add a salad, pickle, a drink and papad or fryum (far far).
Some Thali meals you may be interested in:
- A typical Mini Rajasthani Thali is the basic Dal Baati Churma, like the way Renu makes.
- Check out Poonam’s elaborate Maharashtrian Thali
- Priya VJ’s South Indian Lunch Thali
- Poonam’s North Indian Thali
- Preethi’s Family Thali – where she has included her family’s favorite thali dishes
- Priya’s Gujarati Thali
Are you wondering why I’m writing about Thali? Well, the 264th theme is all about Thali, that is why. When two weeks ago Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook had suggested Thali theme as an option, half the group jumped at the idea. That’s when we decided that we would like to prepare a Thali as our theme. The thali can be an elaborate one or a Mini Thali.
Obviously, my contribution for the Thali theme is a Gujarati Thali. Incidentally, a long overdue post and finally one thali is on my blog! On several occasions I’ve prepared different Gujarati Thalis but have not had the opportunity to take photos as I get busy with the preparation and guests. Clearly, a full thali only gets prepared in my home when there are guests or for festivals like Diwali.
GUJARATI THALI AT A RESTAURANT
When one goes to a typical Gujarati restaurant for a thali, you’ll be bombarded with a huge variety of food. Hundreds of shaak or vegetable curries, dals and kadhi, khichdi and plain rice, bhakri, rotli, thepla and puri, a few farsans and a couple of sweet dishes.
GUJARATI THALI AT HOME
However, Gujarati Thali at home is a totally different scene. Definitely no, we really don’t eat all that in one go! So, today I will explain to you the combinations that we Patels generally use for our thalis. These elaborate preparations are usually made when we invite guests over. It is given that a full Gujarati will include a sweet dish, a snack item, one green vegetable, another vegetable with sauce or dry, dal or kadhi, rice and any flatbread. My typical daily thali includes a shaak, dal, chaas and either rice or rotli.
Some Gujarati words explained:
Before I explain the most popular combinations for a Gujarati Thali, here are some Gujarati words that you come across.
- Shaak – refers to any vegetable or bean preparation either dry or with a sauce which is generally enjoyed with rotli, bhakri or puri.
- Rotli – is roti or phulka
- Puri – A puffed up fried flatbread mostly made with wheat flour.
- Dar or kadhi – what is known in Hindi as dal.. we generally make dar using split pigeon pea, moong, moong dal. Kadhi is a yogurt based curry.
- Bhaat – that is rice. It can be plain or with vegetables.
- Farsan – farsan is a snack item that is also served in a thali like dhokra, paan na bhajia, kachori, bateta vada, samosa, methi na gota, Dakor na Gota, khandvi, etc
- Mishtaan – is a sweet dish which is served with the food and not after the meal.
Two Main Types of Gujarati Thali:
Because of a wide variety of different Gujarati dishes how does one know what to serve with what? While the combinations will vary from community to community, here I will be writing about the combination that my mum and my Mother in Law have taught me.That’s the general rule the Patel Community follows. So whenever, we need to plan a full Gujarati Thali or Meal we first have to decide the mishtaan or the sweet dish. That then determines the shaak, dal or kadhi, rotli or puri. Rule of the thumb is that any milk based sweet or mishtaan is usually served with kadhi. Other sweet dishes like lapsi, sev, ladoo, mothanthal, etc are served with dar.
For easier planning I’ll try and categorize what you serve with what. However, that does not mean only these two types of thalis exist in the Gujarati Cuisine. You can have a khichdi thali, a Kathiwadi Thali, a brunch thali, etc.
Kadhi – Kadhi is a yogurt and chickpea flour based curry.
With Kadhi you must have a dry lentil or bean preparation or kathor as we call it. It can be dry whole moong, dry moong dal, dry whole pigeon beans, cowpeas, etc. With that serve plain rice. If serving pulao then you don’t need to make kathor.
Sweet Dishes that go with Kadhi:
Green Shaak – any of your choice just as explained below.
Plain rice or Pulao. If you make pulao then you don’t need kathor dish.
- With puran poli no rotli or puri is served.
- For most part, serve puri with the above mishtaan. Sometimes we make double pad ni rotli or padvari rotli with aamras.
Sweet Dishes that go with Dar (Dal):
- Meethi Sev
- Boondi or Boondi na ladwa
- Khaand or Gor na Ladwa
- Barfi Churmo
- Gulab Jamun
Shaak or Sabji
- Generally a green shaak is must. Shaak generally a dry stir fry version is prepared using green vegetables like okra, French beans (fansi), peas, tindora, bhaji (green leaves), valor, papdi, or udhiyu, karela nu shaak, etc.
- Prepare a Potato or a lentil/bean shaak in curry form. Like potato tomato curry, potato methi palak nu shaak, chana nu shaak, butter bean curry, Chora curry, etc are prepared.
Rotli – Rotli is generally prepared with non milk based mishtaan.
Thankfully there are no rules as to which farsan to prepare with which sweet dish.. any goes. But a farsan is a must.
Bhakri is generally reserved for night meals, served with a shaak.
My Gujarati Thali for today:
I decided to make bafeli sev or meethi sev, which I simply love with ghee and powdered sugar. So to go with that it had to be dar, a green sabji, chana nu shaak, plain rice, rotli. Instead of salad I prepared sambharo and raita. My farsan is gota.
- Meethi Sev/ Bafeli Sev : vermicelli is boiled in water and drained just before serving. Add cardamom powder. Either mix in powdered sugar and ghee or serve separately on the side.
- Posho nu Shaak : or also known as fansi. I simply stir fried chopped fresh green beans or French beans with simple spices.
- Chana nu Shaak – a gravy based shaak that goes very well with dar.
- Gujarati style Tuvar ni dar – its the most commonest dal or dar prepared in most Gujarati homes on a daily bases.
- Sambharo – is stir fried cabbage and carrot that usually replaces a salad when served in a thali. For breakfast, sambharo is served with ganthia and jalebi.
- Banana Cucumber Raita – with dar either any type of raita is served or chaas. I went for raita.
- Bhaat or Plain Rice – when we invite guests we generally add a bit of ghee, a couple of cloves, 2-3 cardamoms and 1 inch cinnamon stick broken into smaller pieces to the rice water mixture before cooking. This results in an aromatic and flavourful rice.
- Rotli – was the choice to go with the bafeli sev
- Green Chutney – to serve with the Gota.
- Methi na Gota – as my farsan. Recipe for Methi na Gota is below.
What is Methi na Gota?
Generally, Gota means a small ball or lump. Indeed, Methi na Gota is a very common farsan. Usually serve it as a snack or with a thali. There is a small difference between the Dakor na Gota and the Methi Gota we know generally. First of all, Dakor na Gota are very famous in Dakor, the small town where the grand Ranchodji Temple is. Dakor na Gota tend to be more spicier and with less methi. Generally, fried till they appear reddish brown. Comparatively, Methi na Gota have much more fresh fenugreek or methi and are fried in such a way that they tend to appear nearly whitish to very light brown in colour. However, these days both terms are used to describe any gota bhajia.
Ingredients required for Methi na Gota
- Besan – chickpea flour, chana flour.
- Semolina – use normal semolina or coarse besan flour. I have used semolina or sooji as I don’t get coarse besan flour.
- Fresh Fenugreek – a vital ingredient. Its generally finely chopped. You can use frozen methi. Nope cannot used kasuri methi.
- Sugar – add a bit as the taste sweetish taste of gota is yummy.
- Green Chillis – finely chopped or paste
- Coarsely Ground Black Pepper – if you don’t have, take peppercorns and crush it to a coarse powder using pestle and mortar
- Coarsely Ground Coriander Seeds – if you don’t have, take coriander seeds and crush it to a coarse texture using pestle and mortar. You don’t want a powder.
- Salt – add according to your taste
- Water – to make the batter
- Hot oil – for deep frying and to add some to the batter
- Carom Seeds – ajwain or ajmo
- Asafetida – hing. Optional ingredient
- Soda Bicarbonate – Baking soda. Must add as these make the gota soft and not chewy.
- Green Chutney
- Generally Gujarati Thalis tend to be without onion and garlic.
- Methi na Gota are vegan friendly
- For Gluten free Methi na Gota replace semolina with coarse besan atta or coarse chickpea flour
METHI NA GOTA
- 1½ cups besan or chickpea flour
- ½ cup semolina, sooji
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2-3 green chillis finely chopped or minced
- ½ tsp coarsely crushed black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp soda bicarbonate
- ¾ -1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh fenugreek finely chopped
- 3 tbsp hot oil
- ¼ tsp ajwain, ajmo
- some oil for deep frying
PREPARATION OF METHI GOTA BATTER
- Mix besan, semolina, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl.
- Add coarse black pepper, coriander seeds, ajmo and water.
- Whisk the batter for nearly 3-5 minutes.
- The more you whisk the batter, the fluffier the gotas will turn out.
PREPARATION OF METHI NA GOTA
- Heat oil in a wok or kadai for deep frying over medium heat.
- Add chopped green chillis, chopped methi and soda bicarbonate.
- Pour 3 tbsp of hot oil over the methi and soda bicarbonate.
- Mix the batter well. It should be thick of dropping consistency, much like a cake batter.
- When the oil is hot, lower the heat.
- Scoop up about a tablespoonful of the batter with your fingers.
- Using your thumb slip off the batte into a blob shape into the hot oil.
- Add some more blobs, depending on the size of wok or kadai you are using.
- The gotas should float up. Keep turning them and fry them over low heat till they turn light brown.
- Remove the fried gota into a colander.
- Whip the batter again, and add some more blobs and fry till done.
- Serve hot methi na gota with your favourite chutney.¼
- Don't add too much water otherwise you will not get the roundish shape of gota.
- Adding a generous amount of methi or fresh fenugreek is important.
- Don't fry them over high heat. They will remain raw from the inside.
- Some add more sugar than what I have used. This recipe calls for nearly ¼ cup. I find that too sweet.
- After whipping the batter should appear fluffy. Use your hand or a whisk to whip the batter.
- Don't allow the batter to rest as it will become watery.
- If you can't make gota using your hands then use two spoons to scoop and slip it into the hot oil.
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