Rajasthan – the land of royals, colours and desert is a magnificent place. The heritage and the architecture of the state have been a jewel for Indian tourism for many years. However, the monuments are not the best thing about Rajasthani, but it is food and people. Growing up in a Marwari Jain family, I have always been close to my Rajasthani roots, especially when it comes to feasting. From delicious dal bati to flavourful Ghewar, our festivals were never complete without authentic Rajasthani delicacies. So, this time I bring to you my favourite treats originating from the sands of Rajasthan that will make you forget the world.
Piping hot, fried pies filled with flavourful onions and chillies are the perfect Rajasthani treat. Served with tamarind chutney and mint chutney on the side of the streets, this delicacy will you so much joy. Onion Kachori or infamously known as, Pyaaz Ki Kachori originated in Jodhpur and is now eaten all over the state, mainly as a breakfast snack.
Founded in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan. It is a light and crispy snack to enjoy with a meal or even on its own. Made with gram flour, moth pulse and spices, bhujia has created an identity not only in the country but also internally. Besides being an after-meal snack, it is also a great addition to add to your drinking parties!
Dal Bati Churma
Hot chana dal, crispy bati topped with ghee and mint chutney and sweet churma on the side, thinking about it is making me hungry. Being surrounded by desert, Rajasthani food has adapted ways to utilize food for a longer time. Bati is one example, prized mainly for its long shelf life, plus it requires hardly any water for its preparation is a staple in the state. The dal is made of lentils while churma is a coarsely ground wheat mixture crushed with dry fruits and cooked in ghee and jaggery. It is a perfect meal.
One of the most popular Rajasthani dishes, ker is a wild berry that is tangy and peppery. And, sangri is a type of long bean grown abundantly in the desert areas of Jaisalmer and Barmer. Sangri is a mainstay during a drought when little else is available as it is 53% protein. In an earlier time, when famine hit Rajasthan and the villagers found these two vegetables when all other vegetation had withered away. The villagers took these vegetables home and due to the scarcity of water, cooked them in vegetable oil with spices. Now, they are cooked with buttermilk or water.
Gatte Ki Sabzi
Many famous Rajasthani dishes came into existence as a result of the arid conditions. Gatte Ki sabzi is one of them; the delicacy doesn’t require any fruit or vegetable for preparation. This curry is made with gram flour dumplings (steamed and lightly fried) and tangy gravy made up of tomato, buttermilk and spices. It’s best enjoyed with Rotis or rice.
Bajre Ki Roti with Lahsun Chutney
The state may not have a lot of agricultural activities. However, a few items like spices and black millets, are grown intensively. Bajra is black millet flour, used to make Rotis. In the villages of Rajasthan, women make thick Bajra rotis over cow dung cakes that impart a smoked flavour to the Rotis. Bajra rotis can accompany virtually any vegetable on a Rajasthani menu. However, they are usually accompanied by lahsun ki chutney – a garlic dip made from garlic, lime juice, homemade butter, red chilli powder, and jaggery.
Finishing the list with delicious sweets from the land of colours and royalty. Ghewar is a favourite Rajasthani dessert for festivities. It is a disc-shaped dessert served with toppings like rabdi, malai, mawa and more. It is made with refined flour, desi ghee, milk, saffron, cardamom powder and sugar. Rabdi is thickened sweetened milk spread on the top layer of the ghewar and tastes heavenly.
Moong Dal Halwa
The last dessert for this list is my favourite. My mother prepares moong dal halwa using moong dal, milk, sugar, ghee, cardamom powder and saffron during the freezing winters. It is a classic dessert of Rajasthan. Though the dish is time and effort consuming, it’s worth every moment. You can also replace sugar with jaggery and hence make it more authentic and tastier.
Do enjoy the food from the desert that will leave your mouth watering.