Variety of Flours

A wide variety of lentils and flours are  used in Gujarati (and many vegetarian) cuisine. Each type of flour has varying nutritional values and varying cooking and baking characteristics.

Flours can further be divided into either containing or not containing gluten. This is for the benefit of the growing population(like you Komal) with gluten allergy. I am aware Komal that you are specifically allergic to wheat, but there are many individuals who are gluten-allergic. For gluten allergy, one needs to be more careful in the choice of lentils or flour.  Please follow the link on different flours to improve your knowledge on this subject.

The most widely used flours(લોટ) in the Gujarati kitchen are as follows:

  • chakki/ghanv  (wheat, ઘંવ)
  • channa               (chick pea or gram, ચણા)
  • chokha               (rice,ચોખા)
  • soji                      (semolina, સોજી)
  • bajri                    (millet, બાજરી)
  • dhokra               (rice/bean mix,ઢોકરા)
  • ondhwa             (rice/bean mix,ઓન્ઢવા)
  • makai                (corn or polenta,, મકાઇ)
  • idli                     (ઈડલી)
  • juwar                 (sorgham,જુવાર)

 

For making most Gujarati breads (rotli, bhakhri, thepla etc), wheat is the main base. Before wheat was introduced  juwar and bajri were the main flours used. Bajri rotla (રોટલા) are a staple in many households. The Bajri flour needs to be freshly milled and only the very proficient Gujarati cook is skilled enough to make authentic rotlas! I cheat by adding a few spoonfuls of wheat flour and some oil to help me roll the rotlas. Traditionally rotlas are made with only bajri flour and no added oil. They are patted into a round shape between the palms of your hands. Another tradition is to eat rotlas doused in ghee and with grated jaggery(ગોળ).

In the Asian supermarkets, you can pick up many varieties of chakki atta (main base being wheat), where other flours are mixed in. Channa flour tends to be sticky and is mainly used for making bhajias and batter for bateta wada . Rice in all its forms features prominently in the south Indian kitchen. In the Gujarati kitchen, rice flour is used for making ‘papdi  lot‘. Semolina is a versatile form of wheat that cooks quickly. Semolina is therefore widely used in making  dishes, like, upma, sheero, instant dhokra, instant ondhwa, and so on. Corn flour is used in north Indian cuisine for making daily bread(makai ki roti, મકાઈ ની રોટલી) whereas I mostly make wadas from corn flour. Idlis (and dhosas) are a south Indian staple, but I have included the flour here as I do make this dish regularly. Making fluffy idlis and crispy dhonsas are an art, and I have still to become the expert artist in this field.

There are many cookery sites on the web concentrating on the Gujarati /Indian/vegetarian cooking. There are also many YouTube sites with videos on making the individual dishes. Why don’t you look into these various websites and let me know your favorite ones? We could compile the ‘Best Cookery Sites’ and use them to improve our cooking skills, including myself.