Staples include salad, homemade pickles, Khichdi (rice and lentil or rice and mung bean daal), and chhaas (buttermilk). Main dishes are based on steamed vegetables and dals that are added to a vaghaar, which is a mixture of spices sterilised in hot oil that is adjusted for the digestive qualities of the main ingredient. Salt, sugar, lemon, lime, and tomato are used frequently to prevent dehydration in an area where temperatures reach 50C (120F) under the shade. It is common to add a little sugar or jaggery to some of the sabzi/shaak and daal. The sweet flavour of these dishes is believed to neutralize the slightly salty taste of the water.
The cuisine changes with the seasonal availability of vegetables and, in knowledgeable families, the spices also change depending on the season. Garam Masala and its constituent spices are used less in summer. Regular fasting, with diets limited to milk and dried fruits, and nuts, are commonplace.
In modern times, some Gujaratis have become increasingly fond of very spicy and fried dishes. There are many chefs who have come up with ultimate fusion of Western and Gujarati food.
A very healthy meal popular in the villages near Saurashtra during the cold winters consists of thick Rotis called as Bhakhri made up of Bajra flours, garlic chutney, onion pieces and lots of Buttermilk. It is a good source of heat which suits the poor villagers working on their fields in the cold days very well.
Sweets made from such ingredients as local sugar cane, jaggery, milk, almonds, and pistachios were originally served at weddings and family occasions as an instant energy booster for relations travelling long distances to attend. They are now being enjoyed every day by those with sedentary occupations.
With so much variety in eating vegetarian food, the famous Indian British cookbook writer Madhur Jaffrey has termed Gujarati cuisine as "the haute cuisine of vegetarianism" in one of her TV serials about Indian food.
Some of the more popular Gujarati dishes are mentioned below.
Diwali Special Snacks
Shaak and Daal(Subzee/Vegetables/Curries)