Rajasthani food is amongst the most vibrant, tasty and traditional in India (oh course, we may be a little bias!). For many of our guests, food plays an important role in their discovery of Rajasthan, Rajasthani culture and Rajasthani people. Here are our Top 10 Rajasthani foods you must try on your upcoming visit…
1. Dal Bati Churma
If Rajasthan were to have a national dish, Dal Bati Churma would be it. No wedding party or function is complete without it! Broken down, the ‘Dal’ part refers to a spiced lentil curry; the ‘Bati’ is baked or fried balls of dough that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside; and the ‘Churma’ is a heavenly cardamom-infused crumble of wheat, ghee (clarified butter) and sugar. Dal Bati Churma is best enjoyed when breaking the bati into small pieces and scattering them through your dal – a bit like bread pieces floating in your soup – and then devoured with a spoon. You save your churma for afters.
2. Gatte ki Sabzi
“While Dal Bati Churma may be Rajasthan’s favourite, Gatte ki Sabzi is certainly mine! Hands down, the best I’ve ever tasted was at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur” – Madeleine Hann, co-founder of Indian Excursions Co.
Gatte ki Sabzi is an excellent example of how people made healthy and tasty meals with no or very limited vegetables available. In the dry, desert state of Rajasthan, families prepared what was readily available; flours made from grains like wheat and chickpeas, along with dairy and spices. ‘Gatta’ (or ‘gatte’, plural) are small dumplings made from chickpea flour. Boiled ‘gatte’ is added to a yoghurt sauce tempered with red chilli powder, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. This favoured Rajasthani food is enjoyed with either rice or roti (Indian flatbread).
3. Laal Maans
Lal Maans is a quintessential Rajasthani food, and perhaps the first one that comes to mind for many when they think of the local cuisine. Lal Maans is a fiery hot mutton curry bursting with flavour and spice. Somewhat equivalent to how some men in the West are precious about their barbeque skills, producing the best Lal Maans is a badge of honour for your typical Rajput man. We have an authentic recipe for Lal Maans that you can try if you like!
4. Ker Sangri
Try Ker Sangri and you’re dipping into the seriously authentic territory. This is one delicious Rajasthani food that is rarely known by visitors to the state. ‘Khejri’ (Prosopis cineraria) is a small tree native to dry, arid regions including Rajasthan’s Thar Desert. When we talk about ‘Sangri’ in this recipe we refer to the tree’s bean-like pods. The ‘Ker’ part is small, sour berries from a thorny bush (Capparis decidua) also found in the Rajasthani desert. These two ingredients are married beautifully in a lightly spiced yoghurt sauce. This elusive Rajasthani food is usually only available during the hot summer months of April and May.
5. Papad ki Sabzi
In keeping with the theme that, in years gone by, your average Rajasthani had little access to fresh fruit and vegetables, Papad ki Sabzi is another example of what delicious and nutritious dishes could be created in this arid part of the world. A ‘papad’ is what the West would generally call a poppadom. In this dish, broken pieces of roasted papad are scattered into a rich yoghurt-based sauce, tempered with spices such as turmeric, coriander, and fenugreek.
6. Pyaaz Kachori
Walk through any bazaar in Rajasthan and you will no doubt see delicious Pyaaz Kachori being freshly prepared by the roadside. A bit like a samosa, a kachori consists of deep-fried wheat encasing a spicy filling. In the local language, ‘pyaaz’ means onion and that is the primary stuffing ingredient in the very moreish Pyaaz Kachori. It makes the perfect snack. If you’d like to try one while exploring Rajasthan with Indian Excursions Co., don’t hesitate to ask your experienced local guide who’ll gladly point out the tastiest neighbourhood spot.
Ghevar is a sweet from Rajasthan, traditionally associated with the annual festivals of Teej and Rakhi which both fall in the month of August (you can learn more about Rajasthani’s festivals by clicking here). It’s prepared by soaking deep-fried discs of ghee-coated flour in a delicious sugar syrup, and then garnishing with saffron and nuts and – if you’re really pushing the boat out – edible silver leaves. You might find Ghevar on the dessert menu at your hotel but otherwise, it’s best sourced from a local sweet shop which we can, of course, guide you to.
During the hot summer months, there is no Rajasthani food more refreshing than a cool, tall Lassi. This thick and creamy yoghurt-based drink is usually served plain either sweet or salty, but it’s also often infused with fruit (mango lassi for example), pistachios or mint. Jaipur-ites would argue they have the best lassi-wallahs (lassi makers) in Rajasthan.
9. Mirchi Bada
Mirchi Bada is popular street food in Rajasthan and most would agree that Jodhpur does them best. Quite simply, it’s a thick, battered, deep-fried chilli pepper stuffed with a spicy mix of mashed potato and vegetables. Often enjoyed with ketchup or occasionally a tamarind chutney.
10. Boondi Raita
Rajasthani food can sometimes leave your tongue tingling, which is where Boondi Raita comes in. It’s a yoghurt-based dip infused with lots of tiny, crispy fried gram flour balls which add an amazing crunchy texture. The result is a deliciously cooling addition to your main dish.
There are many more delicious Rajasthani foods you could and should try on your next visit. The best way to experience them all is by ordering a traditional Rajasthani thali. A bit like Spanish tapas, a thali presents you with a number of small plates so you can try a bit of everything. Traditionally, it is thought that the thali represents all six tastes that are essential for a balanced meal; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Warning: do not even think about ordering a thali unless you’re ready to feast!
If you’d like to taste the delicious flavours of authentic Rajasthani food on your upcoming trip to India, please do get in touch. As tried-and-tested experts in private, tailor-made tours of this specific region, we’d be an ideal match to assist with your arrangements. For more whistle-whetting inspiration, do check out our 9 Scrumptious Street Foods in Rajasthan and our top 15 restaurants.0