Rajasthan- A culinary paradise
Each region in India has its own traditional dishes and specialties. In the royal kitchens of Rajasthan, as well as most other states, food was very serious business and raised to the level of an art-form. Hundreds of cooks worked in the stately palaces and kept their recipes a closely guarded secret. Some recipes were passed on to their sons and the rest were lost for ever. It became a matter of great prestige to serve unusual dishes to guests and the royal cooks were encouraged to experiment. The tales of how cooks tried to impress their guests by presenting at least one unforgettable item on the menu have now become legends. The monthly budget ran into lakhs of rupees and the royal guests were treated to such delicacies as stuffed camels, goats, pigs and peacocks… it was perfectly normal to have live pigeons and other birds fly out of elaborately decorated dishes. The food was served in gold and silver utensils and the number of dishes at one meal ran into hundreds. It was usually never possible to taste all the delicacies sewed.
The finest cooking in India was derived from the Mughals and did influence the royal kitchens of India, as did European cooking. But the common mans kitchen remained untouched, more so in Rajasthan. Cooking here has its own unique flavour and the simplest, the most basic of ingredients go into the preparation of most dishes.
It is probably the only state in the country which has a 36 course meal.
The kings and the feudal land lords were very passionate for good food and some of the royal families like the Kanota ,Mehendsar have their own recipes in food and liquor ,secrets of which are well preserved in culinary books.
Rajasthani cuisine was influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this arid region.Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking. It is also known for its snacks like Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada and Pyaaj Kachori. Other famous dishes include Bajre ki roti (millet bread) and Lashun ki chutney (hot garlic paste), Mawa Kachori from jodhpur, Alwar ka mawa, Malpauas from pushkar and Rassgollas from Bikaner, “paniya”and “gheriya” from Mewar.Originating for the Marwar region of the state is the concept Marwari Bhojnalaya, or vegetarian restaurants, today found in many part of India, which offer vegetarian food of the Marwari people.To decrease the use of water in this desert state they use a lot of milk and milk products to cook.
Sweet dishes are never referred to as ‘dessert’ in Rajasthan, because unlike desserts which are served after the meal, Rajasthani sweets are served before, during and after the meal.
Dal Baati Churma-
Probably Rajasthan’s best favored and famous meal is Dal, Baati, Churma. Churma is a sweet dish completely made with grounded cereals. Dal is prepared with five varieties of lentils tempered with ghee, and spices. Baati is made of wheat in ball forms where it is cooked, steamed and fried.and then dipped in ghee,it also could have a stuffing of potatoes etc.
Spices used in the dishes-
The use of fresh herbs and condiments in Rajasthan leads to the use of species in all the dishes. Spices are used in accordance to the taste and local cuisine type. Some of the spices such as amchoor , asafoetida, cardamom, carom seeds, cinnamon, cloves, corriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried ginger, fennel seeds or aniseed, fenugreek seeds, garlic, kasuri methi, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, turmeric etc are used in the dishes to have a unique taste in the dishes.
Some of the delicious food items that are the made with the special taste of Rajasthan. The list of dishes that are that are delicious such as Dai Shorba, Tamatar Shorba, Ker Sangri, Mangodi Alu ki Shak, Jaisalmeri Chane, Besanwali Bharwan Mirch, Kadhi and Gatte ki Subzi are some of the delicious dishes that are found in Rajasthan.
Meaty Matter –
The Rajasthani families have not many restrictions in eating, as the Rajput were known to be good hunters and the the non vegetarian dishes are widely cooked by the people of Rajasthan. The meat is mainly of hare, wild boar, deer, Safed Mans. They are done with the spices including red chillies, dry fruits, baked in the gravy of cashew, cream, coconut, almonds, powdered spices of cardamom and cinnamon.
With the climatic conditions the dairy farming where the milk products from Goat, camel are mostly used. The dairy products are the addition to the Rajasthani cuisine because of the Camel’s milk is thicker and contains rich yoghurt, butter, ghee, paneer. All these products are used in the day to day usage in the Rajasthani dishes.