One of the biggest pleasures in life come from good food. Pampering your palate is as important as anything else! So why not go deep into a cuisine that promises an out of the world experience? Rajasthani food, with its rich flavor and wide variety makes for an important part of Indian Cuisine.
Be it a vegetarian dish or a non-vegetarian delicacy, the items are elaborately prepared with lots of care and precision which can be very wells tasted in the first bite itself.
Delightful Vegetarian and Non vegetarian dishes..
One can see the diversity of traditions and lifestyle of the state in its cuisine. On one hand, you have mouth watering non-vegetarian dishes which are still prepared in the same ways as those followed by royals of the state.
Non-vegetation dishes have been a crucial part of the Royal cuisine of Rajasthan. During previous eras, kings used to often go for hunting and then savour the same as their meal. Even today, Rajasthan presents some incomparable meat dishes.
On the other hand, you have vegetarian Rajasthani dishes which are prepared in pure ghee and spices. Even the aromas of these dishes have the power to captivate you!
Dal-bati and churma, sula-smoked kebabs with 11 different traditional ways of cooking lamb with an assortment of spices, besan ki misi puri, lachha parantha, safed mass and lal maans are few of popular dishes from the cuisine.
Not just these, there are enough options for those with your sweet tooth too. Sweets form an integral part of any Rajasthani meal. Unlike other Indian Cuisines, sweets aren’t consumed as dessert or at end of the meal. They are consumed before, after and even during the meal!
Few of the popular sweets that one must try are Besanchakki, Dilkhushaal, Churma, Balushahi, Motichoor ladoos and Ghevar. In fact every region of the state has specialised in one or two particular sweet.
For instance, Mawa Kachori from Jodhpur, Malpuas from Pushkar, Papad and Rasogullas from Bikaner, mishri mawa and Ghevar from Jaipur, Diljani from Udaipur, Sohan Halwa from Ajmer, Mawa from Alwar, kachora from Nasirabad, tilpatti from Beawar.
The list of these mouth watering delicacies is endless and believe me just one bite is not enough for any of these.
Its Tea Time!
The Cuisine is known for its snacks too. In almost every Indian home, you will find at least one of the Rajasthani snacks being served with tea or coffee. Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada and Pyaaj Kachori are few of the snacks that can make any evening a perfect evening.
While talking about Rajasthani cuisines, how can one forget the varied kinds of chutneys? Made from local spice like coriander, mint, garlic, turmeric, etc, these chutneys complement the dishes in the best way possible.
Style of Cooking:
Cuisine of a place depends mostly on the environmental conditions of the area. The vegetation available there plays a crucial role in defining eating habits of its inhabitants.
Rajasthani Cuisine is a product of the war like situation in which residents of the state used to live in. Many Rajasthani dishes can last for several days long and don’t even require preheating before consuming and thus perfectly serving the need during war time.
The availability of food items in the state also influenced the cuisine to a large extent. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables can be clearly seen in the cooking pattern and the ingredients used in most of the dishes.
There is an extensive use of milk, butter milk and butter in so as to reduce the usage of water while cooking food. Many of the dishes have dried lentils and beans obtained from native plants like sangria as one of their ingredient.
Gram flour is also extensively used, especially in preparation of dishes like “pakodi”, “gatte ki sabzi”, etc. Powdered lentils are also used quite often. The dishes has mostly high content of spices which not every one can handle but the taste is worth taking the risk.
Culinary tradition of Rajasthan is an amalgamation of all these factors- lack of vegetables, scarcity of water, harsh environmental conditions and the hunting style of Royals.
Few Chosen Ones:
The cuisine of Rajasthan is as wide as the state and is as varied and colorful as its inhabitants! The dishes differ from each other presenting your palate with a wide range of experiences. From basic preparation to elaborate meals, you will have umpteen options to choose from.
For all the sweet lovers, having Ghewar is an experience in itself. This dish is prepared by making round cakes of wheat flour with sugar syrup poured on them. It comes in various flavours such as plain, desi ghee, paneer and mawa. Paneer Ghewar, garnished with Paneer, is quite popular for its unique flavor.
This sweet is generally prepared during festive seasons such as for Makar Sankranti in January, in March-April for Gangaur and in July-August for the Teej festival.
Although you find Ghrwar in most of the sweet shops in Rajasthan, Panner Ghewar of Laxmi Misthan Bhandar (LMB) which is situated at Johri Bazaar in Jaipur is a must try. And when you are in the shop, do try out other sweets like Misri Mawa, Gulab Sakri and Rasmalai as well.
2. Daal-Bati & Churma:
Daal Bati Churma is one of the most widely known dishes of Rajasthan and comparatively takes longer time for cooking as it includes three separate preparation. It is served mostly in lunch and dinner.
It constitutes Dal(lentil), Bati (baked wheat balls) and Choorma (sweet cereal powder). Bati which are hard balls of whole wheat millet or a mix of maize and wheat dough are traditionally roasted over coals with loads of ghee and are eaten with Dal which is a lentil soup.
Churma is coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar/jaggery. The dish tastes better if more of ghee is used.
You have varied kinds of Bati and Churma. There are plain bati, exotic masala bati, dry fruit bati and missi batis to choose from. The colour of Churma also differs with the difference in the ingredients used – wheat or maize or millet which are then mixed with desiccated coconut, khoya, or even raisins and dry fruits.
This is one of the dishes that can be prepared for all the functions and all kinds of ceremonies. Be it religious occasions or wedding ceremonies or birthday parties or for daily consumption, Daal Bati Churma ensures a perfect meal.
3. Khud khargosh:
Khud Khargosh is one of the most loved non-vegetarian delicacies of Rajasthan. It is prepared from the Hare or rabbit meat and cooked in a pit. This is especially prepared during summer season when the hare is lean.
For Khud Khargosh, the hare is skinned and stuffed with spices, and then wrapped in dough and finally in layers of mud-soaked cloth. This result is a perfect blend of meat with spices and dough with an exceptional taste.
Few Recommended Restaurants:
1. Chokhi Dhani
Located 20 km from Jaipur, Chokhi Dhani presents you with a touch of rural Rajasthan. The place not only presents mouth watering dishes but also offers almost a complete Rajasthani experinec.
You have myriad lanterns, street acrobats, ‘ghoomar’ dance, puppeteers pulling strings, monkeys and bears dancing and performing acrobatics. Sitting on low stools enjoy the traditional Rajasthani cuisine out of ‘pattals’ (leaf plates) which is served by man dressed in traditional dress.
2. Kalinga Restaurant
Located in Jodhpur, Kalinga Resturant offers its guest with a soothing experience, prompt staff well-stocked bar and tasty and rich delicacies.
This is a place must for lover of non-vegetarian dishes. lal maans, a traditional Rajasthani mutton curry is something you must try when at Kalinga Restaurant.
Rajasthan is not just about food but has amazing drinks to offer you with as well. Lassiwala, ‘Shop 312”, at Jaipur is a simple comparatively small place that offer amazing creamy and fresh lassis (yoghurt and filtered iced-water drink) which are served in clay cups.