The erstwhile royal land one that still remains resplendent in its glorious past, Rajasthan is a wonder of a different dimension. Fittingly therefore, even the food of this spectacularly vibrant land stems a palate full of colors, flavors and tastes. From snacks to sweets, from meaty curries to veggie delight, from ricey treats to roti rolls, the cuisine of Rajasthan is an experience unlike any other. Let’s trace some of the most famous food of Rajasthan that will have you feasting and feeling like the Rajas!
Be it samosa or kachoris, snacks or savouries, Indians can never do without their namkeens. As a tea time snack or as a fix for cravings or even simply because they are so lip smacking good, kachoris are an absolute favorite even when they are less piqued about than the samosas. Crusty and masalafied, kachoris are quite diversive a snack to bite into.
However, the Rajasthani version of kachoris isn’t your typical fare of lentil and gram flour stuffed deep fried discs. Hailing from Jodhpur, pyaaz kachoris assert their identity with an altogether different appeal within the same premise. Pyaaz kachoris rather come with a spicy filling of onions that lend them a different taste. More like savouring some crusty bread with some bhaji, we presume. People who tend to ditch the kachori because of their somewhat dry texture sure will find solace with the Pyaazi kachori version which is one of the most famous food offering of Rajasthan.
Wait till you already start professing your new found ultimate love about the pyaaz kachori- Rajasthan also has another exotic surprise on its platter. Yet again a diversion of the kachori and this time a sweet one, mawa kachori is sure to find savor with sweeties and snackies alike. A rich preparation that includes mawa as the filling of the kachori in place of the spicy masala, mawa kachoris takes a dip into sugar syrup making this sticky, sweet treat a real euphoria for the senses.
Dal baati churma
Hands down the most famous food of Rajasthan is Dal baati churma. This is a standout dish in its own might and while is quite unique still enjoys a popular presence. A dish as steeped in tradition as it is in taste, dal baati churma is in fact a diversive meal in its trio encompassment. Wheat flour doughs are shaped like balls and baked in traditional ovens, giving them their charred appearance and characteristic flavour. These batis are broken and done up with a serving of panchmel dal that is also a nutritious mix of five types of lentils.
Churma on the other hand is the dessert component of this ‘three course meal’ that is also an interesting food on its own. Crushed batis are roasted in ghee and then are sweetened with sugar or jaggery and flavored with fragrant spices. There’s nothing that quite matches the taste of smoky baatis savored with some delicious dal and done up with the sweetened churma. Truly a regal treat from the royal state of Rajasthan!
The most vegetarian state in India, Rajasthan however is an exemplary discovery even in its mindblowing non veg preparations. The meats here are prepared so uniquely that they become instant assertion of the state from which they hail. One such very famous food of Rajasthan that is definitely one of its kind goes by the name khad khargosh.
And even when you might be skeptical to indeed acknowledge that the meat here is rabbit flesh despite the very obvious name, this is exactly what you would encounter here. As a dish with a long standing tradition of times past when game hunting was the indulgence of the royalty, this rabbit based preparation was slow ‘cooked’ in a pit. Intensive preparations marks the preparation of this exotic dish which is really no mean matter. Modern day recipes cook the meat in an oven but the recipe still demands considerable dedication and effort. Seldom would you find recipes as extensive as this so make sure to give it a try if ever you happen to be in Rajasthan.
An immensely rich dessert and one that is also as unique as it can get, Ghevar is a sweet delight that looks as heavenly as it tastes. The honeycomb like disc-shaped cake made with all-purpose flour and soaked in sugar syrup is a firm favorite, for its delectable goodness as well as its calming health benefits.
The name of this dish already prepares you for what you can expect from it. Laal translates to red so hot, fiery elements sure would dominate this meaty preparation from the land of Rajasthan. Another flamboyant traditional recipe with definite royal influences, laal mass is a mutton gravy dish with yogurt and spices galore. Traditionally made with wild game meat, this dish also was known as junglee maas. But despite the fiery zest of this very enticing dish, laal maas requires comparatively lesser ingredients for preparation and is quite a simple recipe if you choose to adhere to the traditions. However, this is a definitely a spicy preparation that goes particularly well with thick, coarse bajra rotis.
Again a famous non vegetarian option on the Rajasthan food menu, safed maas is not unlike anything it sounds like. A mutton gravy yet again but this time ditching the fiery red tone to don a more royal- and deceptive- white color, safed maas is a very rich preparation fitting of the kings. Made with ample kaju- badam paste and enriched further with milk, cream and yogurt, this creamy and nutty dish is such a delectable concoction of flavours that will have you falling royally in love with Rajasthan over and over again.
How can you ever be speaking of Rajasthan and not of the scrumptious snack called bhujia this vibrant land has blessed us with? And specially when we are speaking about its most famous food, the bhujia from the town of Bikaner in Rajasthan sure deserves a special mention. (You can as well damn us for calling bhujiya a food, but here we are!) The go- to tea time crispies for all and the love of every chaat savvy’s life, bhujia commands a fan following that does not justify the thin juliennes it encompasses. And we do have Rajasthan to thank for coming up with this spicy, addictive munching delight.
Gatte ki Khichdi
Rajasthan does full justice to the national dish of khichdi with its own work upon the same. The Gatte ki khichdi, or call it the Gatte ki Pulao if you want to sound a tad fancy, is a really famous meal within the ambit of food in Rajasthan. A wholesome dish all by itself, this khichdi encompasses the very widely consumed gattes of the state cuisine to even in its rice preparation. Also called Ram Pulao, this version of the pulao is a more labour intensive preparation because of the addition of the gattes. However, the all ensuing compliments it will earn you after you serve this dish sure makes all of those efforts worth it!
Now this is a sweet preparation that is unlike any you could have ever conceived of. With one of the most unassuming ingredients in tow- corn, this Rajasthani delight is in fact a sweetcorn pudding. Grated corn is slow roasted in ghee and then further cooked in milk before being sweetened and enriched with dry fruits. Minimalist in preparation but presenting to the tongue in such flavorful essence that you won’t ever forget the taste of this pudding ever in your life.
Palang torh might not be the most famous food of Rajasthan but we need to name this one for how unique it sounds. Partially curdled milk is mixed with sugar and is cooked on a low flame for a long period of time resulting in a really delectable soft, creamy mithai. Quite close to the popular sweet kalakand, this less popular food however is distinctive in its own right.
Rajasthan being the land along which the Great Indian Desert of the Thar sprawls, this is a dish that had been a mainstay of the people of the region owing to long shelf life. A dish made of five ingredients found widely across the desert, mainly dried berries and beans, panchkuta sabzi stays good even without refrigeration. Served with Phulkas, Kadhi or steamed rice, this sabzi encompasses the five elements of dry mango, kumti, sangri, ker and ghoondha for a typical, tangy tasting dish.
Ker Dak (Raisins) sabzi
Raisins in a sabji? We have till now bitten only into those plump kismises in a kheer or tried to deliberately incorporate some in a mere spoonful of pulao and even relished the rare presences in some bhujia mixture but never have we encountered them in a sabji. But thanks to Rajasthan we know now that this dried fruit is also a famous entity of even main curry food dishes.
Lesser known though, ker dak sabzi attains a tangy- sweet- salty taste owing to the ker and the raisins as well as the many spices that you need to cook them in. This rich preparation made with milk or khoya goes best with some nice, warm bajra rotis.
Aam ki Launji
With so much curries and rotis and sweets on the menu, it would be injustice if we don’t make place for some chutney as well. And what better to make the cut than the traditional Rajasthani aam ki Launji? Call it a pickle or interpret it as a chutney, but this green mango based preparation makes for a side dish that only adds taste to your authentic Rajasthani meal. Somewhat sweet, sour and spicy, aam ki launji is like the quintessential nimbu and papad of foods- not enough lauded but no meal would ever be the same without them!
Methi Bajra Poori
No Indian is immune to the spree of gargantuan indulgence that even mere sightings of the alu- poori palate induces in us. But here in Rajasthan, even the addictive puri gets a healthy makeover. The methi bajra poori is a winter specialty of the desert land and once again invokes the warm goodness of bajra. Add to it your assortment of greens, namely methi, and you will be gaping at how such a lip smacking treat can hoard such goodness. Bajra however does more than just endowing the puri with wholesome health. The coarse, rustic flavor that bajra brings into these puffed up savories also is quite a delight that will have you munching on some more of these. Pair it with some curry or let them amp your evening tea sessions- they really are that versatile!
Folks enthusiastic about roasted chicken might need to divert from the usual stuff and try Rajasthan’s exotic bhuna kukda once. Bhuna kukda or roasted chicken, as it translates to, is a spicy preparation of meat that is in fact so ubiquitous with the state that it is also referred to as the Rajasthani style of chicken preparation. A fiery red preparation that has the chicken marinated with a variety of spices before it is roasted and then cooked in a yoghurt gravy, you can savor this almost dry dish with some roti or do it up just like that!
Bajra Ki Raab
A drink that is healthy and helps keep you warm- that’s just the perfect winter antidote after a steaming cup of tea! And the refreshing warmth that a serving of traditional raab brings to you is one of the many reasons you should be waiting for winter with bated breath. Native to Rajasthan and also a staple of Gujarat, raab is a drink made from bajra or pearl millet flour spiced with dry ginger powder, ajwain and sweetened with jaggery. While it’s the bajra base that is particularly healthy, the addition of ghee also does well to add doses of warmth and taste to this uniquely rich preparation.
India is famous for its many types of breads, locally popular as rotis. Hands down the most unique roti among the myriad types on the food horizon is the Rajasthani khoba roti. Thick and crusty and definitely a vision in itself, khoba roti is nowhere near to any regular roti though open baking on a tawa is still the mode of cooking it. Khoba is the Marwari word for cavity or depression which is why the Khoba Roti comes inundated with many such dents. The cavities are made by hand on the roti over the tawa which are then filled with desi ghee. Typically thicker and larger, khoba roti is eaten also in a unique way- the veggie accompaniments are generally put into the cavities and eaten all together.