Cuisine

Cuisine

Each region in India has its own traditional dishes and specialities. In the royal kitchens of Rajasthan, the preparation of food was a very serious matter and was raised to the level of an art-form. Hundreds of cooks worked in stately palaces and kept their recipes secret. Some recipes were passed on to their sons, but most were lost forever.

The most famous cooking in India was derived from the Mughals and Europeans. In Rajasthan, however, the common man’s kitchen remained more or less untouched. Rajasthani cooking has its own unique flavor. The simplest, the most basic ingredients go into the preparation of the states’ dishes.

Rajasthani cooking was influenced by both the war-like lifestyle of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in the desert region. Food that could last several days without rotting and that could be eaten without heating was preferred, more out of necessity than choice. Scarcity of water and a lack of fresh green vegetables had their effect on Rajasthani cooking. In the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks today still avoid using water in their cooking, and instead use milk, buttermilk and clarified butter as alternatives. Dried lentils and beans from indigenous plants like sangri and ker are a staple of the Rajasthani diet. Gram flour is an integral cooking ingredient and is used to make delicacies like khata, gatta ki sabzi, and pakodi. Powdered lentils are used in cooking mangodi and papad. Bajra and corn are also used all over the state in cooking rabdi, kheechdi, and rotis. Various chutneys are made from available spices like turmeric, coriander, mint, and garlic.

Perhaps the best known Rajasthani food is the combination of dal, bati, and churma. Besides all of Rajasthan’s spicy delicacies, each region of the state is distinguished by its popular dessert — Ladoos from Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Malpuas from Pushkar, Jalebies the big cities, Rass gullas from Bikaner, Dil Jani from Udaipur, Mishri Mawa and Ghevar from Jaipur, Sohan Halwa from Ajmer, and Mawa from Alwar.