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Rajasthani cuisine is a splendid array of colourful and unique dishes, despite being a desert state; the cuisine has a lot of variety to offer. Rajasthani cooking was influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants and the lack of availability of ingredients in this arid region. Rajathan has a dry and hot climate and the most common foods eaten include bajre ki roti, lahsun ki chutney with onion and other pungent elements that add flavour. Owing to the hot and dry climate of the region use of desi ghee or clarified butter is an important feature as ghee is considered to reduce dryness.

 
It is also known for its snacks like Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada and Pyaaz ki Kachori. Other famous dishes include Bajre ki roti (millet bread) and Lashun ki chutney (Garlic based condiment), Mawa Kachori from Jodhpur, Ghevar from Jaipur, Alwar ka mawa, Malpuas from Pushkar and Dry snacks from Bikaner and Dall-Bati-Churma which is famous all over the state.

A distinct feature of their cooking is the use of mango powder, a substitute for tomatoes which are scarce in the desert. Rajasthani curries are a brilliant red but they are not as spicy as they look because of the prevalence of red chillies, a staple in Rajasthani food. Contrary to popular belief, Rajasthani food is not mainly vegetarian, only Marwari food is, the royals of the state loved meat based dishes and one of the most popular ones is ‘Laal Maas’, literally translated as ‘red meat’ and made with red chillies for colour and hearty chunks of mutton. Apart from Lamb, they also consume poultry.

Marwari Cuisine: Originating from the Marwar (also called Jodhpur region), a region of south-west of the state of Rajasthan and populated by the trading community of ‘Marwari’s’, is the Marwari Cuisine, it is pure vegetarian. Marwari food involves innovative cooking methods for ingredients like gram flour to produce dishes that are like vegetable curries as the region has few vegetables and fruits to offer. This cuisine offers a wide range of delectable dishes which are rich in taste and have unique cooking methods like the ‘Gatte ki Sabzi’, which are essentially gram flour dumplings. This cuisine is extensive even with the paucity of fresh ingredients as can be seen in dishes like Mirchi Bhajiya, Aloo ke Sooley, or the Dal Samosa! This cuisine also includes the famed foods of the Maheshwari clan and is called Maheshwari cuisine!
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Common spices used in Rajasthani cuisine
Common Vegetables used in Rajasthani
cuisine
Sangri: Sangri is essentially a desert weed and used as a vegetable in desert cuisine. A small moderate sized evergreen thorny tree that belongs to the same family as beans and lentils. Dried sangria are produced by harvesting the pods when they are fully mature and then drying them. Once they are dried and the skins removed, they may split naturally. Sangri needs to be soaked or parboiled to be used in cooking.
Gwarphali: Also known as cluster beans, these are desert perennials too. Gwarphali is a common legume grown in India, and used just like string beans or green peas. It has the same health benefits as legumes, high protein content.
Cucumber: Cucumber belongs to the gourd family and has high water content. Cucumbers are incredibly low in calories and have cooling effect on the body.
Kakri: Also known as English cucumber, this vegetable is close to cucumber in health benefits and usage, though in Rajasthan it is used to make dry vegetable side dishes too. It is also used in raita and salads.
Potatoes: Potatoes are a very popular food source. They are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.
White Radish or Mooli: This is a typical winter vegetable and can eaten in both raw and cooked form. It is very pungent and is a great addition to salads but in cooked form it tends to lose some of the pungency but retain its flavour and certain sweetness too.
Fresh Turmeric Root: This vegetable/root belongs to the ginger family but is much milder than ginger. It has a potent yellow colour and properties that produce heat in the body which makes it perfect to cook in cold winter months spent in the desert. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Famous Food

Raabri: Flour of Pearl millet (Bajri) is mixed with buttermilk to make a thick sauce which is kept in the sun to ferment. After about 3 to 4 hours, it is boiled and simmered until the flour is cooked. It is usually eaten as a hot soup, but it can also be mixed with yogurt or buttermilk. Cumin seeds (zeera), onions, etc. are used as garnish.

Daal-Baati:
Baati is a hard, round bread which has a long shelf life and high nutritional content, as well as the minimal quantity of water required for its preparation. It is always eaten with dal. Baati can either be plain or have various kinds of fillings, including onions, peas, and sattu. Bafla is a kind of baati, which is softer. Bafla and baati are always eaten with hot dal with pure ghee and chutney.

Bajre Ki Khichdi: Bajra is ground into a flour to make rotis or is coarsely crushed to make a porridge like khichdi that is eaten with a dollop of ghee or sesame oil in the cold desert winters. Lentils are also included in this preparation to make it more meal like and wholesome.

Gatte Ki Kadhi: Gatte are made with gram flour, they are dumplings that are spiced with dry masalas and then steamed and cut into small bite sized pieces. These pieces are used to make a wide variety of dishes like subji, pulao, curry etc. This dish is made using a yoghurt based gravy and dry masalas.

Gwarphali ki Sabzi: Gwarphali or cluster beans are an integral part of Rajasthani cooking. They are always strung and boiled before use. They are usually made as a dry side dish with typical Rajasthani ‘sabzi’ masalas like fennel, mustard seeds and asafoetida. They can also be prepared as a thick gravy.

Kanji Vada’s: Kanji is a liquid extract of usually rice, black carrots or mustard. This is a Marwadi delicacy of moong dal vadas, soaked in mustard flavoured kanji. The kanji is usually made at least a day in advance so that all the flavours are released into the water and the vadas are soaked to absorb all the flavours and moisture.

Ker Sangri: One of Rajasthan’s most favourite dishes, this is tangy vegetable preparation made with typical desert wild vegetables. Ker and sangri are available in the dried form and can be stored for a year. They are parboiled to soften, seasoned and then tempered with chillies, ajwain and asafoetida.

Mooli ki Bhurji: This is a dry vegetable side dish, ideally made in winters when fresh white radish or mooli is easily available. Both the vegetable and the leaves are used, cut fine and seasoned with turmeric , garlic, cumin and red chillies and sautéed till cooked.

Haldi Ki Sabzi: Turmeric Curry (Haldi Sabzi) is a traditional recipe of Rajasthan, turmeric is found fresh in winters which is yellow in colour and looks like Ginger. Turmeric is hot in and is good to consume in cold months. The Haldi is fried in ghee to remove bitterness and in some recipes even  peas, cauliflower are added into the curry.

Non Veg. Dishes

Laal Maas: Literally translated as ‘Red mutton’, this dish is pieces of mutton cooked in a regular gravy and spices but with a punchy red colour brought on by the inclusion of a large dose of Rajasthani red chillies.

Safed Maas:
As the name suggests this mutton dish is light in colour and that is mainly due to the fact that it is slow cooked in yoghurt and spices. Even though it is made with red meat it is a relatively light dish ideal for the hot desert state of Rajasthan.

Breads

Misi Roti: These are a common addition in a Rajasthan meal and sometimes variations are made by adding methi/fenugreek or coriander leaves to flavour the dough. The dough is a mix of whole wheat flour or atta and gram flour or besan and seasoned with spices and asafoetida.

Moong Dal Chila:
These are savoury pancakes made with gram flour and seasoned with spices. Some breakfast versions also include finely chopped onions and green chillies for extra flavour.

Bajre Ki Roti: These are usual Indian flat breads or roti’s except these are made with millet flour and the millet used is ‘bajra’. Commonly had in winters as it is heavy and hearty and keeps you full longer.

Sweets

Laapsi: Is a sweet dish made of wheat flour and ghee along with nuts, raisins and dry fruits. There are different types of laapsi also called sheera. Wheat flour is roasted in ghee till lightly cooked, then boiling water & jaggery are added, cooked further and served hot, like a halwa.

Churma: Churma is a popular Rajasthani delicacy usually served with baati and dal. It is coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar. Traditionally it is made by crushing up Bajra or wheat flour baati’s or roti’s in ghee and jaggery.

Gujia: This is a sweet dumpling made with Suji or Maida and stuffed with khoya. A Gujia is very much like a samosa, however the it has a very distinct crescent shape. A Gujia is filled with a mixture of roasted and crushed dry fruits, khoya, and grated coconut and to add a grainy texture, a little Semolina or Suji.

Ghevar: This is a famous Rajasthani sweet usually associated with the festival of Teej. It is a Filigreed preparation made with flour, oil and sugar and set in a disc shaped mould. Since it is porous, it retains the sugar syrup it is doused with.

Imarti: A lot like ‘Jalebi’, these spiral sweets are rich and heavy. It is a dessert or sweet made by made by deep-frying Urad flour batter in a circular flower like shape, then soaked in sugar syrup.

Jhajariya: Jhajhariya is a delicacy of made of corn, milk, ghee and sugar garnished with raisins and nuts. Grated or coarsely ground fresh sweet corn is slowly roasted in ghee for few hours until it loses most of its moisture and assumes a dry granular form.

Beverages

Kairi ka Paani: Raw mangoes have a cooling effect on the body. To beat the intense desert heat, a drink called "kairi ka paani" is made using raw mango pulp, flavoured with jeera powder, sugar and black salt.

Thandai:
Rajasthani thandai is prepared with a blend of almonds, peppercorns, poppy seeds, saunf, and elaichi powder. This rich and flavourful paste is added to milk and sugar to make a cooling drink perfect for a desert state.

Recipes
KANDE KI SUBZI  

KANDE KI SUBZI

 
Served with bajre or missi roti, a quick delicious recipe.  
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LAHSUN KI CHUTNEY  

LAHSUN KI CHUTNEY

 
This tangy, hot and spicy garlic chutney is both easy and quick to prepare.  
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LAL MAAS  

LAL MAAS

 
A protein rich, cardamom flavoured mutton dish, a must have delicacy!  
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MALPUA  

MALPUA

 
Traditional Indian pancakes soaked in sugar syrup…a sweet treat loved by one and all.  
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PYAAZ KI KACHORI  

PYAAZ KI KACHORI

 
Festive feasting with hot and sour onion filled Kachoris. Finger licking good.  
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