Cuisine of Rajasthan: Rajasthani Cuisine, Marwari Cuisine, Regional Specialties

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It is rightly said that the Indians live to eat and the people of Rajasthan are no exception. The cuisine of Rajasthan has its own place by the way of traditional dishes and specialties. The cuisine of Rajasthan is very rich and has a very unique flavour. The Rajasthani cooking was mainly influenced by the war-like lifestyle of its inhabitants and the availability of the ingredients in the region. The food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have had their effect on the cooking. In Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner the cooks used very minimum

Food of Rajasthan, Cuisine of Rajasthan

water and preferred to use milk, buttermilk and clarified butter. The milk, buttermilk and yoghurt formed a part of the main diet, but except those region which were accessed to the rice growing areas, the rice-porridge, kheer, never became popular in Rajasthan. But milk based sweets, barfis, still today are known all over the country, and the sweet sellers all over the country refer to themselves as Bikaneri sweet specialists. The villager's diet mainly consists of the bread of millets and gram flour, moth daal, a red chilli, garlic chutney and raabri, a millet flour cooked in buttermilk.

Foreign Influences on the Cuisine of Rajasthan
Rajasthani Cuisine

There was variety in the meals of the royal families as their finest cuisine was mainly influenced by the Mughals and the Europeans. The Mughal cuisine was varied and lavish and used the huge variety of ingredients, all of which was harder to come by in the desert, even in the erstwhile palaces. Delicacies like the kebabs and the curries were introduced into the royal menu as a result of the influence of the Mughals. Even though most of the dishes of Rajasthan are vegetarian, Khud Khargosh happens to be an example of a mouth-watering item prepared with the meat of hare or a rabbit. The Mewar or Udaipur family, forced to flee and hide in the rocky countryside by the Mughals, devised the form of barbecue known as Sooley. 

The Kachchwaha family of Jaipur, created one of the state’s finest delicacies, safed maas or white meat. The dish is white in colour and consist of mutton, and uses a curry of cashewnuts, almonds, fresh coconut kernel paste, white pepper and poppy seeds. The old retainers and chefs were used to prepare the shepherd’s pie or French onion soup so tasty that the princes when going on the world trip for pleasure, would carry their own chefs to cook their meals for them. The British also influenced the manner in which the meal was eaten at the table. Over the years, the peculiar Anglo-Indian cuisine of the palaces too created a distinctive cuisine. It also groomed the royals into the Western style of dining habits. Earlier, the food was served in silver and gold plates or thaals and placed on low tables before which they sat on silk cushions. The number of dishes in the one meal ran into hundreds. Even in this, a strict hierarchy was followed. The royals ate on gold, the nobles on silver, and all others ate on the bronze. Sometimes a thaal was shared between siblings, or with kinsmen, to create the spirit of comradeship so essential to kinship.

Marwari Cuisine

The Marwaris were more lavish with the inputs in their kitchen. The Marwaris also used the same ingredients like the Rajputs but their method of preparation of cuisine was very rich and various spices and herbs like mango powder (amchur), rai (mustard seeds) and heeng or asafetida were added to the masala and cooked in fat. The Marwaris were great traders and their sweet tooth was legendary. They were able to store dry fruits such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, and poppy seeds (khus) and also able to use them in their puddings. 

Rajasthan Sweet

Halwas, barfis and ladoos were part of the Marwari cuisine, along with Til or sesame, which was used in both sweets and in the main courses. In most of the festivals, the dessert would consist of seera or halwa made of cooked wheat flour in ghee or laapsi, a porridge made with desiccated grains of wheat. Rice, a delicacy in Rajasthan, is also served as a sweet with the addition of sugar, saffron and dried nuts and raisins. Typically, all the members of the family would sit together and the hot piping meals were served on the chokis by the females of the house. The Marwaris eat two meals, in the morning and at sundown. Both consist of a great variety of rotis and puris puffed in piping hot oil. Their typical meal consists of pishta-lonj served with a glass of milk laced with cream. Then, puris fried in hot oil, made with both wheat flour and with matar to provide a lovely green colour. With it, tamatar-ki-sabji, a tomato curry, gatte-ka-saag, and sangria-ker-ka-saag cooked in the clarified butter and dahi-bhallas were eaten. This would be followed by sooji-ka-halwa and a glass of lassi at the end of the meal.

Regional Specialties
Rajasthani Cuisine, Cuisine of Rajasthan

The best known food which is found in the menu of the families of Rajasthan is the combination of Daal, Baati and Choorma, along with pickles and buttermilk. The daal consists of a lentil curry and baati is a round ball of bread baked in a charcoal fire with clarified butter concealed within and choorma is a sweet dish made with bread bruised with jaggery or sugar and ghee. The baati could be even made with wheat flour or millet or with a mix of maize and wheat flour and choorma can also be made with the bread of wheat, maize or millet, and combined with desiccated coconut, khoya, or raisins and dry fruits. The choorma can also be eaten in the various varieties. This famous cuisine is more eaten in the picnics, during the monsoon season, when the hills turn lush green. 

Each part of Rajasthan has its own traditional dishes and specialties. Besides the spicy flavours, each region is also known for its popular sweet. For example, Bikaner is known for the bhujiya, papads, badis, lean mutton of the desert goat and Rasogullas; Jodhpur is known for the Makhaniya Lassi, mawa kachoris, hot green chillies laced with masala and Ladoos; Bharatpur is known for the milk sweets; Alwar is known for the Mawa; Pushkar is known for the Malpuas; Udaipur is known for the Dil Jani; Ajmer is known for the Sohan Halwa and Jaipur is known for the Mishri Mawa and Ghevar. Ghevar is a Rajasthani delicacy which is linked with the monsoon festival of Teej. It consists of the round cakes of white flour over which sweetened syrup is poured. Muslim food has also occupied a place in the overall cuisine of the state, not just in Tonk and Loharu, but also in Jaipur where the Muslim craftsmen celebrate Eid with great quantities of Kababs and Pasandas, and with Sevaiyan.

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