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Why does gujarati cuisine have so many items based around besan.




I think it makes sense that the southern states have most their dishes based around rice / rice flour given that it is the top produce from cultivation besides Bengal / Punjab.

But when I had a look at the chickpea(or other forms of peas) Gujarat is nowhere in top 5.

What would be your explanation for this Gujarati fondness for Besan.

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19 thoughts on “Why does gujarati cuisine have so many items based around besan.

  1. I wonder where chickpeas would be if you looked at the top crops in Gujarat.

    Edit: I saw this:
    >”Gujarat produces more than 1,22,000 t of chickpea from an area spanning about 1,53,000 ha. Chickpea yield is about 800 kg ha-1, higher than the national average of 700 kg ha-1. The crop accounts for about 13% of the total pulse area and contributes more than 14% to total pulse production in Gujarat. It ranks second after pigeonpea in area and production.”

      1. No, it is just that it features highly in the crops that are grown in that state. Across India, it might not produce as much as other states, but as a proportion of agriculture within Gujarat alone, it is significant.

          1. I am interesting in other people’s opinions. I think this goes part way to explaining it. I guess people would use what was readily available – so if say, peanuts and chickpeas, are common, that is what they will use a lot in their cooking.

          2. I am from Rajasthan. We too have many dishes based on besan. I think one reason for it might be less vegetable cultivation due to dry climates. We have so many ‘subjis’ which don’t use any vegetable like-:
            Papad ki sabji
            Gatte ki sabji
            Cheele ki sabji
            Kadhi
            Pakodi/bhujiya ki sabji
            Namkeen ki sabji

          3. I don’t think that applies to Gujarat. Their dishes do have vegetables and it’s not drought ridden state either.

  2. I’ve noticed of all the states, Gujarat tends to have VERY strict adherents to the fasting days. Most if not all the fasting days mean strict avoidance of grains. Even with all the Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, you don’t have as much people actually fasting on the fasting days as you do in Gujarat.

    Besan is a perfect flour for fast days, because it makes a reasonably good dough, clings well to vegetables when making bajji and the like, and is a pretty well behaved flour.

    Also, a LOT of Gujaratis are vegetarian, and more so than other states. During fast days, non-veg people can give up meat, but vegetarians give up grain. As compared to other states in the North and the South, the /majority/ of Gujarat is vegetarian.

    I think it’s a neat question that you came here with.

    1. > During fast days, non-veg people can give up meat, but vegetarians give up grain.

      Vaishnava fasts, e.g. Ekādaśī, Janmashtami, Rāmnavami, other Vishnu avatar jayanti (birth or appearance), prohibit legumes of all kinds, as well as all grains… green peas, beans, dals, chole (chickpeas), soybeans, wheat and semolina flour, corn, besan, rice. Quinoa, being a seed not a grain, is permitted.

      1. Besan ki roti is a pretty easy roti made of besan and can be made with besan only if you wish (some recipes I have seen also use a bit of rice flour for crunch and ease of rolling). It can’t be fold on itself like a wheat roti though. It is far easier to make than any other non wheat roti/bhakri bc besan is sticky. For fasting days, rotis made of buckwheat, amaranth or water chestnut flour (often bound together with mashed potatoes) are used.

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