Jaipur’s Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar And Its Accidental Recipe
Image Credit: Taste Of City

The slow-cooked milk sweet – rabri, has quite a meandering history on how it came about into existence. However, one particular establishment in Jaipur, continues to enjoy legendary status as a result of an accidental discovery that was made by its founder in 1857 – a wrestler by the name of Parmanand Jain. While the hot-cold treat of jalebi-rabri or gulab jamuns and rabri are a match made in heaven, those curious about food might wonder what makes the rabri from this particularly unassuming sweet shop so famous.

The institution – a no-frills corner shop located in Jaipur, draws about 1,500 people each day, who make the trip to Pink City just to get a taste of the sweet delicacy. What was initially a set up by a professional cook or khansama, a century and half ago, simultaneously conducted a business that sold milk, mawa and rock candy or misri. In what became an attempt to give into the food trend preferred by the public at the time, Parmanand Jain slow-boiled the milk until it condensed to make a chunky, thick, sweet concoction that we now know as rabri.

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Tradition and Taste: Exploring The History Of Indian Milk-Based Sweets

The sweet shop, which also serves up a delicious meals of misi roti, paneer or potato sabzi that people pack by the kilo to takeaway, rabri is churned using 1000 litres of fresh milk sourced from farmers in Chomu village. The rabri is cooked in an old-school cylindrical vessel known as the parcha, which ensures that the heat spreads evenly to cook the milk. With patrons like Lata Mangeshkar, Dharmendra and former chief minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the milk is cooked down to produce approximately 150 kilos of rabri each day.

Once Parmanand Jain chose to retire, he handed over the business to his three wrestler sons – Dasulal, Kapurchand and Mohanlal Jain. Kapurchand’s successful career as a wrestler enabled him to give the family business a well-deserved boost, taking it to the level of fame that it enjoys today. Once the akharas or wrestling pit were no longer utilised for the purpose, the 4000-square feet space was converted into a manufacturing unit that dished the sweet that put them on the map. Mahaveer Rabri Bhandar also continues even today to ace its savoury preparations like aloo pyaaz ki sabji, lasun chutney and mirchi ke tipore with equal ease!