You may never have visited Gujarat, but it’s likely you have tried fluffy dhoklas, tender khandvi or wafer crunchy khakhras. But if you haven’t, it’s time you do! Snacking is an important part of every Gujarati household, and snacks called farsan or naasto could be home-made or store bought. While farsan can be eaten as part of meals or as a snack, naasto are mostly always eaten in between meals, and often with tea. Visit any city across Gujarat, and you will always find crowds outside stores, which are essentially pushcarts doing brisk business, selling a variety of fresh farsan.
Almost all naastos have moderately long shelf lives and thus make for excellent food souvenirs. On a visit to Ahmedabad, visit these popular stores and load up on farsans and naastos to carry back home for family and loved ones.
Induben Jhaveri began selling snacks to her neighbours in the Ratanpol area of Ahmedabad, in 1970, at a time when her family was grappling with financial difficulty. She started selling a few varieties of khakhras. Her delicious khakhras found a growing audience and her popularity grew to such an extent that she was referred to as ‘Induben Khakhrawala’. As demand increased, she hired assistants and setup a small business by the name that she was fondly given.
Her son and his wife setup a store in 1990, and the family today has six outlets across the city. Choose between 45 odd kinds of khakhras including manchurian khakhra, chocolate khakhra, pizza khakhra, karela khakhra and Maggie khakhra amongst others. If you are tempted to try different flavours but don’t want to end up buying so many packets, opt for their combo packs, that have four different khakhras packed together. But the store is not only about khakhras, and they also sell a variety of other snacks such as bhakarwadis, kachoris, gathiya, chakri, chavanu, bhakari, sev, and more. Given the sheer variety on sale go with time on your hands to look through everything on offer and then make your pick!
With two stores in the city, Satyam is a favourite with locals for their instant mixes and ready to eat snacks. A hole in the wall, don’t be put off by the appearance. With its own production facility, Satyam employs women from underprivileged backgrounds in their factory giving them a source of livelihood. The store sells pickles, khakhras and chikkis, but the star is their instant khaman mix, gota mix and surti khatta dhokla mix. These instant mix packets come in two sizes and are great to gift family and friends.
While many sweets are eaten in Gujarat, mohanthal is a specialty – a sweet made of besan (gram flour), ghee, sugar, pistachios, almonds and saffron. Established in 1854, Kandoi Sweets is known for their mohanthal and its recipe is a closely guarded family secret, and one that hasn’t changed in over 150 years.
Try another Gujarati specialty – matho. Similar to shrikhand and made from hung yoghurt, matho is smoother in texture and creamier in taste.
Known for its sweets, Kandoi also makes some savoury items such as fulvadi, sing bhujiya, aloo bhujiya, moong dal and baked shakarpara. Shop at any one of their six branches across the city!
Falguni Gruh Udyog
Located in the busy Vastrapur area of Ahmedabad, this relatively simple and small store is crowded at all times of the day. Falguni specialises in products that are home-made and handmade. The store works with small establishments who make products for Falguni, according to the recipe given to them. While the store sells a wide variety of snacks, papads, pickles and chutneys, their khakhras and bhakaris are their best sellers. With 80 kinds of khakras on offer, be ready to be confused. Here’s a useful tip, their sada, masala and methi khakhras are the fastest selling, so if you are a khakhra novice, try those. A personal favourite are their multi grain khakhras that come with a secret masala mix which has to be sprinkled on top. Their khakhras have a shelf life of 1 ½ to 2 months, but the store can vacuum pack them for you at an extra cost, thus keeping them fresh for 4 to 5 months.
In the evenings you will find a large crowd gathered outside the store gorging on fresh snacks such as samosas, kachoris and bhajiyas.
This new entrant in the sweet and snacks space has managed to garner a loyal customer base within a short time span. With 3 outlets across the city, Gwalia sells a wide variety of sweets and snacks from across India, including a large variety of Bengali sweets. Gujaratis love experimenting with their food and Gwalia meets this need. Their specials include sandwich bhakarwadi, dry fruit samosa and kachori, kharis and toasts.
A 15-year-old enterprise, Sonalben Khakhrawala specialises in khakhras and chavanu or mixtures. A medley of different kinds of sev tossed with fried pulses, nuts and dried fruits, a chavanu is salty, spicy and tangy, with a hint of sweetness. With over 70 flavours of chavanu, choosing the one that matches your taste can be a tough task. Their best-selling flavours are their mixed chavanu and the khatta meetha chavanu. They also stock popular chavan variants from different towns, such as Nadiyadi chavanu and Ratlami chavanu. Apart from the regular khakhra flavours, for the health conscious there are khakhras made with olive oil. Gujaratis love their mukhwas or mouth fresheners that aid in digestion. With 50 different flavours on offer, buy some to help digest all the farsan and naasto in your shopping basket.