Cuisines of Rajasthan
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
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.
Rajasthani cooking was influenced by the war-like lifestyle of its
inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this region. Food
that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating
was preferred, more out of necessity than choice. Scarcity of water,
fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking. In
the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks use the
minimum of water and prefer, instead, to use more milk, buttermilk and
clarified butter. Dried lentils, beans from indigenous plants like
sarigri, ker, etc are liberally used. Gram flour is a major ingredient
here and is used to make some of the delicacies like khata, gatta ki
sabzi, pakodi, powdered lentils are used for mangodi, papad. Bajia and
corn is used at! over the state for preparations of rabdi, kheechdi,
and rotis. Various chutneys are made from locally available spices
like turmeric, coriander, mint and garlic.
Perhaps the best known Rajasthani food is the combination of dal, bati
and churma but for the adventurous traveler, willing to experiment,
there is a lot of variety available. Besides spicy flavours, each
region is distinguished by its popular sweet Ladoos from Jodhpur and
Jaisalmer, Malpuas from Pushkar, Jalebies from most big cities,
Rasogullas from Bikaner, Dil Jani from Udaipur, Mishri Mawa and Ghevar
from Jaipur, Sohan Haiwa from Ajmer, Mawa from Alwar...
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