With the little KL is exposed to Gujarati cuisine, The Ganga is doing pretty well for itself. Since husband-and-wife team Prabodh and Meeta introduced the weekly Gujarati buffet at the restaurant, those who were curious visited week after week, and word got around on social media complemented by painfully tantalising photos on Instagram. All the success couldn’t have been brought upon a more deserving restaurant.
But first, a little schooling on Gujarati food. ‘As you go from north to south, you basically go lighter on the cheeses and fats, and go heavier on the spices,’ Prabodh explains. ‘The reason being the climate.’ The western state of Gujarat is unique in that it borrows influence from both southern and northern India. ‘Gujarat happens to be a lot more south than the north, and a lot more north than the south.’ In this case, it is restrained in both chilli and cheese.
Vegetarianism is prevalent in Gujarat too; vegetables such as long beans, ridge gourd and squash are cooked in light, watery curries. Another feature that sets Gujarati cuisine apart is the breads. ‘As you go up north, the breads become heavier. Whereas in the south, it’s rice,’ Prabodh says. ‘In Gujarat, you get these thin, sexy chapattis.’ Under the roti umbrella, there are many kinds at The Ganga: chapatti, bhakri, parata, rotala, puri, thepla and mini bhatura. Meeta recommends the breads dipped into a shallow bowl of sev tameta (pictured above), a light tomato curry topped with crunchy bits of fried chickpea flour.
To eat at The Ganga’s buffet without trying the khandvi is a crime. These neon yellow rolls are made primarily of chickpea flour and yoghurt, and produce a smooth, slippery, tangy bite. The dhokla too is outstanding; much like idli, the batter is fermented and the resulting texture is fluffy with a mild graininess. But instead of cooking the batter in individual moulds as one would with idli, dhokla is shapeless and cooked in a flat dish before cut into squares. They are then garnished with mustard seeds, sesame seeds, cumin, green chilli and curry leaves. Dipped into coriander chutney, this snack is often eaten at teatime. Or really, all the time.