A healthy Dose of Dhokla Diplomacy?
In the deep fried world of Indian snack foods, one item stands alone in its healthy steaminess: the dhokla. Even as much of India fritters its affections away on crisp, starchy munchies, it must be acknowledged that quite a few have been breathing in (or at least eating) a bit of Gujarat a long time before Amitabh Bachchan began exhorting us to do so. Therefore, it is not surprising that dhokla and khandvi are now the undisputed alternatives of the Indian snack spread that comprises such fried delights as samosas and tikkis, vadas and bondas. The contrasting yet complementary composition and appearance of the two nibbles from Gujarat coupled with their sweet-spicy appeal are proving a hard team to beat. And the old deep-fried favourites are finding it difficult to justify themselves to not only their traditional constituencies but also to a new generation influenced by the western trend towards ‘healthy eating’. Indeed, their presence in every shop dispensing sweet and savoury snacks and their increasing popularity in practically all parts of India should be examined as probable harbingers of what happened in Elections 2014. Given that their healthy main constituent is chickpea flour rather than wheat, they are well qualified to become another Indian gift to a world beset by rising (gluten) intolerance.