A healthy Dose of Dhokla Diplo­macy?

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

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.

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