Rajasthan is known for its dessert, castles and palaces but at the same time its food is also awe inspiring.
Scarcity of water or fresh water is not a challenge for the Rajasthani people. I should rather say food is a fine art form in Rajasthan. Best part is that most of the Rajasthani food is whole grain based which makes it very healthy.
They make soups, curry, snacks and sweets with whole grain. They make Barfi with corn kernel, fresh green gram! Let us sample some of delicious Rajsthani delicacies.
Kathi rab is a tasty sour and spicy snack, which is made with broken barley or polenta cooked with buttermilk and tempered with masala. Then set like Barfi. Green chilies and fresh coriander makes for good garnish. Nowadays when fresh vegetables are available you can add leafy vegetable of your choice to make it healthier.
Ghooghri is my favorite snack it can be made with maize, sorghum, millet or wheat. The grains are soaked overnight, then cooked and tempered with onion and garlic, served with a garnish of fresh green coriander and chilies. Green chutney and buttermilk are good accompaniments to this dish.
Bafla is a great steamed dish made with coarse wheat flour. Some oil, dry spices and vegetables are added to coarse wheat flour and balls are made with hard dough. These balls are then cooked in water or dal. Then baflas are baked on either wood fire or oven. Even if you fry them, they hardly absorb any oil. You can store them in fridge for almost a week, just reheat in microwave and eat with any dal, dip or chutney. No need to worry about fiber content of your breakfast. And best part is that you can stuff Baflas with stuffing of your choice. From cheese to chana dal!
Another snack which is a sure winner is vegetable Gatta. In earlier time they used dried vegetables, you can use fresh ones instead. Make sticky dough with gram flour, spices and vegetables of your choice with little oil and curd. Now make one inch diameter rolls with this dough and put them in boiling water. When outer surface looks cottony then turn off the gas and cover the pan. After 10 minute take out the Gattas and cut them into ½ inch thick roundels. Temper with a little oil, asafoetida and cumin seeds or you can eat them just like that, green chutney and lime pickle go very well with Gattas.
Churma is a delicious sweet which can be made with either coarse wheat flour or millet flour. Hard dough is made with skimmed milk, thick roties are made with this dough on slow fire (these roties can be baked in oven also). Then roties are crumbled in mixer. Ghee, jaggery/ brown sugar or powdered sugar and nuts and dry fruits are mixed to this. You can make laddus or keep it as crumble. This is the best way to eat all the seeds and nuts which you otherwise may not like. Even flax seeds taste good with millet churma.
Oliya is rice and curd dish which is made to celebrate onset of summer. Savoury version is more or less like curd rice. Only difference is rice is cooked in night and mixed with small quantity of curd, which adds to its nutritional value. While, sugar dry fruits, saffron and cardamom powder is mixed to beaten curd and slightly over cooked fragrant rice to make Sweet Oliya. It is a very simple yet tasty sweet which is made on seventh day of Holi.
This is just a sample platter from the rustic, exotic Rajasthan, where every family has its own treasure of taste and tongue tickling recipes.
Author – Sapna Surana
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