In my previous articles, I have explicitly mentioned my aversion to physical work, including adventure sports as well. I will tell you where my heart lies then, apart from Cricket which is true and valid for every Indian. To place it indirectly, “the shortest way to a man’s heart is via the stomach” is such true wisdom for me that I wish I knew who actually said it first. Yes, truly guessed, gastronomy (not astronomy misspelled, nothing to do with the gas formation in our stomachs, it simply means “the art or science of good eating”) is my weakness, and like a true connoisseur, I search for the delicacies of every place I visit. Moreover, I would say this upon oath, Jaipur never disappointed me. Even the restaurants of budget hotels in Jaipur sometimes serve such good food that I simply thank my stars for discovering this aspect of Jaipur during my first ever trip to this city.
Dal Bati Churma
Every Rajasthani you know would talk about this food and why not! However, first, let us tell you what this is.
Dal is, of course, dal, pulses like lentils. The dal of DBC (Churma) is made with pure desi ghee, and often a mixture of different dals (Panchkuti dals) is used. The Bati is a bati (small bowl, katori in Hindi) shaped bun which is rather hard and is made from flour with ghee as one of the main binding ingredients. There are different fillings for the baati, no filling, sweet filling and spicy filling. The sweet filling is mostly sugar and some dry fruits while my personal favourite, the spicy one is filled with spicy mashed potatoes. Churma is the last item and is actually crushed baati in different bases and work as a desert. This is not singularly eaten really!
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Laal Maans (Red Meat)
Apologies to vegetarians, who can’t even read about meat, please skip this paragraph. For an ardent meat lover like me, laal maans is the epitome of Rajasthani cuisine, maybe because it has the highest spices, another weakness of mine.
Prepared in red chili, giving it the laal colour, this is at its best with mutton or chevon with chicken being better than nothing. I wouldn’t share the recipe here, but it’s red hot gravy with rather bony meat, prepared in low flame. Eat it with Bajra roti, like most of the Rajasthanis or with plain rice and salad, like me.
The vegetarians can skip this paragraph as well, but you read it because you don’t get to eat meat made in milk at many places in the world. This recipe is from the royal kitchen directly, and mild seasonings are added to the milk to make it soft, tender and juicy. Then, there is khas khas (poppy seeds) extract, cardamom powder just before serving and line sprinkled on the top, making it one of the most favourites for the European travellers who can’t handle the heat of Lal maans after seeing them on different travel blogs like Yatra.
This is not good with rice so go for roti or paratha or just relax with it without anything diluting the tastes away.
This is as popular as DBC. Although, I tried it much later because the look initially deterred me. The vegetarians can open their eyes now because ker is wild berry with a hot and tangy taste and sangri is beans. This is a predominantly desert food, and these ingredients grow in the desert areas as well. People accidentally invented this delicacy when there was nothing else available during a famine. Traditionally it was cooked in vegetable oil with loads of spice (this is a recurring theme in Rajasthan, don’t wince) but nowadays, the base is water and often buttermilk.
This is not a costly food; you can find it almost anywhere. I will tell you a secret; I don’t crave for luxury, so I often stay at budget hotels in Jaipur and spend on the food rather, something which I crave for.
OK, pyaaz is onion, but I surely don’t know the translation of kachori. If you don’t know kachori, this is a fried flatbread of India which is not at all flat. Check the image below rather!
Assuming you got the idea, this is one thing I simply love to eat whenever in Jaipur, during breakfasts. The spicy (told you, spice is everywhere here) onion stuffing inside flour made khasta (crunchy, the closest English word) kachoris are simply the wake-up call for your taste buds. Nothing like a pyaaz kachori + hot cha (English word!) breakfast.
The stuffing is almost the same with every maker trying to introduce some signature variations but onion with cumin, coriander, chili, garlic and fennel being common ingredients.