Why You Should Give Rajasthani Food A Try?
Image Credit: Rajasthani Cuisine | Image Credit: Freepik.com

Rajasthan, the land of the royals and home to legends, nomadic tribes, shepherds, and chieftains alike, is a treasure trove of many wonders. The culture, traditions, attire, cuisine, prevalent weather conditions, and even staple vegetables and fruits are unique and unparalleled. Generational stories are entwined into the vibrant colors, flavors, and lifestyles, retaining the essence of everything that is Rajasthan to this day. Some would say that dining on a Rajasthani spread is the easiest way to experience a bit of its splendor. Traditionally, Marwaris, Jains, and Brahmins have been the dominant groups or sub-cultures in the local population, and their food is typically vegetarian. The Rajputanas traditionally ate game meat, which led to the delicious non-vegetarian dishes that are still a big part of the food today.

Rajasthani cuisine evolved in accordance with the landscape and geography, with food that could be stored for days with minimal heating and requiring little water or fresh vegetables. Rajasthan is mostly a desert region that was once ruled by warlords and Rajput kings who were constantly at odds. Some contend that food on-the-go and the need to feed famished warriors quickly and nutritiously would have been some of the motivations behind the culinary efforts of the time. It's a story told through delectable flavors, colors, smells, and tastes that have remained authentic and unique to this day, re-creating the magic of bygone eras for those who dine and appreciate food for what it is.

There is plenty of great food in this cuisine, each a gastronomic delight. From the Rajasthani thali to the aromatic, rich ghosth (mutton or tender lamb) dishes, from handi biryani to the malpua, moong daal halwa, and daal-baati-churma, Rajasthan is foodie heaven. The cherry on top would be the elimination of the concept of "dessert"—sweets are served before as well as during meals, not just after. For all we know, Rajasthanis may have been the inspiration for the concept of pancakes for dinner. The gastronomic adventure that awaits any food tourist is guaranteed to make even the most diet-conscious people rethink their resolve to watch portions and calories. The lure and temptation to the senses are absolutely powerful.

Let's look at the variety of Rajasthani preparations to give us an idea of the sheer range of Rajasthani cuisine:  

Rotis or bread preparations traditionally use ghehu, bajra, and makai, i.e., wheat, bajra, millet, and corn. It is served with a variety of gravies and dry sabzis, including saag, daals, and gatte.

A popular delicacy, "Dal Baati Churma," is basically a combination of pulses, baked bread, and a sweetened powdered cereal. When Olympian Neeraj Chopra’s mother spoke of his love for churma, the popularity of the already hallowed daalbaatichurma reached new peaks.  

Gatte ki Sabzi is another well-known favorite, which basically consists of steamed gram flour dumplings in a tangy gravy of tomato, buttermilk, and spices.  

Ker Sangri is a spicy subji comprised of Ker, a wild berry that is peppery and tangy, and Sangri, long green beans grown abundantly in the arid regions of Barmer and Jaisalmer. These are cooked with a minimal amount of water or buttermilk, a little oil, and some spices, and eaten with bajra rotis. Today, this is served as an exotic choice in many restaurants. 

Papad ki Sabzi is a simple, rich gravy made using coriander, turmeric, and fenugreek. It is cooked with papad and yogurt, making for a cooling, spicy, and healthy meal in a single serving.  

Crowd favorites amongst the non-vegetarian options include Laal Maas and Mohan Maas. Laal Maas is a tender mutton or lamb preparation simmering in a gravy of fiery red chillies, curds, diced onions, garlic paste, spices, and ghee. Mohan Mass is a flavorful fusion of milk, spices, and tender meat, usually served to the royals and at luxurious events. 

Kachoris are an excellent example of a snack or a quick meal. Believed to be of Rajasthani origin, the famous onion kachori's origin has been traced back to Jodhpur, or so some claim. Eaten with mint-coriander chutney and sweet date and tamarind chutneys, kachoris are a pan-Indian favorite now. They are also served as a breakfast delicacy in some places. 

Jaljeera, Masala-Chaach, flavored buttermilk, Mirchi Balas or Pakoras, Katakana, tangy Dahi Kadi, Boondi Raitha, and the gamut of chutneys are also popular. We owe Rajasthan so much for many of our favorite accompaniments and cool beverages. 

The list of mouth-watering foods shows no signs of ending anytime soon. As we move to Rajasthan's sweet dishes, we treat ourselves to ghevar, DoodhiyaKheench, Moong Malpua, Dilkushar, Balushahi, Mohan Thaal, Rabri Ghevar, Moong Daal ka Halwa, Churma Ladoo, Badam ka Halwa, and the ever-popular Gujjias. It is common practice to prepare the sweet dishes with desi ghee, milk, dry fruits, and saffron.  

So, if you're looking for a detour from the usual, and are keen on a culinary adventure, how about a culinary tour of Rajasthan?