We all enjoyed and had a hearty laugh at the famous dialogue from Three Idiots, when Kareena Kapoor Khan says, "dhokla, fafda, handva, thepla... aaise lagta hai jaise koi missile hai". Thepla, a Gujarati snack staple and spiced multi-grain roti is a nutritious breakfast or tea time eat, packed with the goodness of chickpea and wheat flour, fenugreek leaves, curd, and is famous not just for its taste but also its shelf life.
It's the reason why it's every Gujarati's favourite travel food, and its popularity makes it a known entity across India. For this writer, though, who was born in Gujarat, it brings back memories of the onset of winter in Valsad where she spent her childhood and walked through bazaars with stalls packed with winter produce such as purple yam, Surti papdi, brinjal, sweet potato and fresh green garlic. And of course, naani methi or baby fenugreek. With a pungent, bitter kick, these little bundles of green make a delicious bhaji. This writer's late mother, Rajalakshmi, would add them to the thepla dough for their distinct taste to them. The thepla is versatile enough to be paired with a variety of accompaniments from salted chillies (light green chillis, pan-fried with salt to taste), achar, chutney, dahi or even jam.
So, imagine our joy when we stumbled on an entire store dedicated to the thepla! Thepla Junction has a new outpost in Vasai after making its debut in Kandivli's Mahavirnagar. We hear that they have two outlets in Ahmedabad (CG Road and Maninagar), and one each in Bhavnagar, Surat and Baroda.
We give the Vasai address a thumbs up on two counts: The wide variety of flavours on display, and that they are made fresh before you. Enjoy the snack there and then or have it packed. The flavours include methi, garlic, beetroot, mixed vegetables, onion, palak and doodhi, among others. They offer both oil and ghee options.
The theplas are made fresh upon order, and varieties include palak, beetroot and doodhi, among others
For the gluten intolerant, they have jau jowar, bajri and soyabean, math, rajgira, ragi and multigrain options. The oil version is priced at R90 for four pieces and the ghee version can go up to Rs 120. Those with a larger appetite can order the custom-made thali with a mithai, a beverage, and thepla of your choice. Drop by for an evening snack if you are feeling peckish or pack a pile to take along for your travels.
And then there are the experimental variants (you expect this from Gujaratis, don't you?) - jam butter (R100 for two), cheese jam (R120 for two), cheese corn (Rs 140 for two). We tried methi, onion, vegetable, garlic and hara bhara variants, and the onion and hara bhara served with red chutney topped our list.
While the regular packaged theplas (four with a pouch of pickle) cost anywhere between R40 and R60 across the city, a pack of four here costs R70 (oil), and two come for Rs 40. The crunchy variety come for Rs 90 for a full plate of four.
What: Thepla Junction
At: 6, A-WING, Sanskruti Co-operative HSG Society, Agrawal Nagri, Nalasopara East
Thepla Junction didn't know we were there. Sunday Mid-day reviews hospitality establishments anonymously and pays for meals.