What The Fork: Not Just Undhiyu, Dhokla, Surat is an Egg Paradise Too, Writes Kunal Vijayakar

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© Provided by News18 What The Fork: Not Just Undhiyu, Dhokla, Surat is an Egg Paradise Too, Writes Kunal Vijayakar

© Provided by News18 What The Fork What’s the first food you think about when I mention Surat? To most people, it would be Surti Undhiyu, which is indeed Surat’s most popular export after Hardik Pandya. This mélange of eight indigenous vegetables grown in Surat with just the most basic of spices is Surat’s calling card in winter. A little-known fact is that the name Undhiyu comes from the Gujarati word Undhu, which means being upside down. These eight vegetables are stirred upside down and cooked over a wood fire in large earthen pots to give Undhiyu its distinctive texture and flavour.

The next most popular native Surat dish is the Surti Locho. Available almost on every street corner in Surat, Locha in Hindi means turmoil or a result of turbulence. As the story goes, a cook added a bit too much water to the Khaman Dhokla batter while cooking the Khaman and it was taken out of the cooker before being completely cooked. The resultant Khaman turned out runny and lumpy and far more exciting than a normal Khaman. This lumpy khaman is served with Sev and green chutney, making it a delicacy. Locho, a recipe born out of a mistake, is now much more popular than the actual Khaman.

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Having finally mastered the Khaman and the Locho, Surat offers you a variation on these very dishes right there on the street. Like the Surti Sev Khamani. Nothing more than Chana Dal with ginger, garlic, and chillies along with sugar, garnished with ‘besan sev’, often eaten first thing in the morning. Then there is the Rasawala Khaman Dhokla — another variety of Khaman. Here, crumbled ‘vati dal na khaman’ is topped with a ‘raso’ or gravy made from a mixture of dal. Garnished with onions, coriander and tomato. It’s a very popular street food of Surat that is both sweet and tangy, and full of crunch.

Then there is the Khichu, which is the softer cousin of a ‘khichdi’ and made of rice flour. This Khichdi-like meal is served with ‘methi’ pickle, peanut oil and spices. Of course there are the Dhoklas, the Handwa, and other steamed and baked besan treats, all served with chutneys or curd of your choice. Winter in Gujarat means Ponkh — fresh Jowar grains. You can eat them raw and tender as they are garnished with really fine spicy ‘sev’ or you can make Ponk Vadas. These are ‘pakoras’ made from the same tender jowar grains. The usual process, bind them with besan and fry.

But what impressed me in Surat was the hundreds and hundreds of egg preparations available on the street. It’s like the whole of Surat wanted to just eat eggs. Eggs in all forms and shapes — fried, boiled, beaten, scrambled, chopped, whipped, whisked and sauteed.

With names like Egg Tikhari and Egg Ravaiya, Egg Mughlai, Egg Dosa, Australian fry, Egg Angoor Rabdi, Egg Anjeer Roll, Egg Dalbati, Egg Dal Dhokli, Egg Pizza, Egg Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Egg Bahubali, Egg Patra, Egg Ghari, Russian Omelette, Egg Jhinga Fry, Egg Pasta, Rasavali Omelette, Egg Mastani, Egg Ghotala, Egg Manchurian, Green Ghotala, Paper Omelette and the list goes on and on.

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Nearly every street corner has at least one egg stall, frying up the most delicious egg preparations. But the hotbed of all egg activities is a lane called Khaudhra Lane, which translates in Gujarati as the Gluttons’ Lane. Here you can get a normal half fry, eggs deep fried in butter, a Bhurji, which is masala scrambled egg. Australian Fry, which comes in the colours of the Australian Flag and has absolutely nothing to do with Australia, eggs with ‘patra’, eggs with Daal Dhokli, eggs fried with a grated boiled egg gravy, omelette stuffed with boiled egg, eggs scrambled with fried prawns, or mince, even eggs with Fanta.

Let me explain eggs with Fanta. ‘Fanta Fry Eggs’ is a sweet-and-spicy egg dish made with both sunny side up and boiled eggs. The Fanta Eggs are made with a gravy made up of Fanta Orange along with spices, mashed potatoes and green chutney. The sunny side eggs stuffed with boiled eggs are then made into an omelette and garnished with tonnes of cheese and served hot, with the remaining Fanta on the side. I will leave it to you to decide whether this should be described as ‘yummy’ or ‘yucky’. I will not tell you because some things in life you have to decide for yourself.

Kunal Vijayakar is a food writer based in Mumbai. He tweets @kunalvijayakar and can be followed on Instagram @kunalvijayakar. His YouTube channel is called Khaane Mein Kya Hai. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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