By Jubin Mehta:
The word ‘locho’ itself arouses many different feelings and memories in this multi-lingual age. “Locha lag gaya yaar!” This is what the guy must have said when he came up with this dish (accidentally). Locho is a speciality of Surat city in Gujarat which is also known as diamond city of India. Every diamond merchant in Surat invests a pittance from his huge bank balance on this modest dish every morning. All the premium cars including the Audi’s and BMW’s can be found parked before these roadside-locha-joints. Surtis don’t know what corn flakes or bacon or bataka poha or idli is… It has to be locha if it’s breakfast. And not just in the morning, may it be any part of the day; locho awaits you at these innumerable joints spanning the city’s lengths and breadths.
This dish is served in various forms but the ‘Butter Locho’ is what wins the taste buds. It is also available as ‘Cheese Locho’, ‘Garlic Locho’, ‘White Locho’, ‘This Locho’, ‘That Locho’,… But what it basically is that it is made of Chana Dal and looks like a yellow lump (just like many other Guajarati dishes). But believe me, with the specially made onions, the magical green chutney and the addictive masala sprinkle, the Locho is a killer dish. Your definition of Locho would definitely change once you know how it tastes. And yes, the most important part, it’s really cheap as a single ‘Butter Locho’ serving doesn’t cost you more than INR 15. So, whenever you’re in this part of the country, don’t forget to give the locha a shot. (You’re most likely to have it even if you don’t want to because the Surtis don’t allow visitors to leave before they’ve had a taste of the Surti flavour). Indulge.