The north-western state of Rajasthan is a state of color, vibrancy and royalty. On the one hand, the state is famous for its majestic palaces of the ‘Pink city’ as well as the temples and the beauty of the ‘white city’, while on the other hand the state has a variety of delicious food items as another tourist attraction. The Rajasthanis have a variety of food items which is indigenous to them and it has become a tradition of the state. Apart from its forts and palaces and history of kings, Rajasthan has much to offer in the form of a vast array of food items, totally to the credit of the state.
Rajasthani food is primarily vegetarian and is traditionally very spicy. Through advertisements on television too it is quite apparent that Rajasthanis eat and produce a lot of spices as most of the ads of spices are related to Rajasthan. Certain items are quintessential for Rajasthani food like Ghee and chilly. A lesser amount of water is used to make Rajasthani food. To replace water, the people of Rajasthan use milk, curd etc. to prepare their dishes. The reason why Rajasthani food is not made using too much water is that Rajasthan being a desert area, has less water to afford to the people. Therefore, they have devised a new method out of this problem by using milk, buttermilk and curd for their preparations. Also, fresh green vegetables are not readily available in Rajasthan so they are generally avoided.
Rajasthanis were warlike in nature from the very beginning. Therefore, their culture is based on the demands of war. This necessitated the need of preparing food items which could last for a time period of 5-6 days during war. Therefore, food items are influenced by the culture of the state. The most famous item of Rajasthan is its Dal Bati Churma. It has three main servings viz, dal, Bati and Churma. Dal is served with both the other components and it is common in all major occasions and weddings. Gatte Ki Sabzi is another delicious food item indigenous to the Rajasthanis. It is prepared by using besan. The state offers a number of sweet dishes too. Kalakand, ghevar, sohan halva and moong dal ka halva are some of the common sweet dishes of Rajasthan. However, the Rajasthani food is not limited to the main course itself. Many snacks are also associated with the state like pyaz ki kachodi, mirchi vada, jodhpuri mawa kachodi and rabri to name a few.
However, the variety of Rajasthan does not end with vegetarian food items. Meat buffs can also find something delicious for themselves. The lal maans (red meat) and the safed maans (white meat) are common non-vegetarian food items. There are other items like the mohan maans (meat cooked in milk), the saanth ro achaar (pickled wild boar meat) and the khad khargosh (wild hare cooked and roasted underground). The non- vegetarian items too are very spicy.
The best places where the indigenous food items of Rajasthan can be found are the big cities of the state like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and others. The Choki Dhani is a very famous place and also a tourist destination where the Rajasthani thali is served in all its splendor. It is situated on the Tonk Road in Jaipur and its timings are from 5:30pm to 11pm. The cost for two people is Rs1500. Another famous Rajasthani food outlet is 1135 AD which is located in Amer and its timings are 11am to 11:30pm. It costs Rs2700 for two persons. It also offers north-Indian and Mughlai dishes.
The Living Room- Naila Bagh Palace is another very good Rajasthani restaurant located in Adarsh Nagar in Jaipur and it costs Rs1800 for two persons with timings 7am to 12 midnight. There are many other famous restaurants like the Shri Thaal Village Restaurant, Santosh Bhojanalaya, Zodiac- Fortune Park Bella Casa, the Grand Chanakya and many other smaller restaurants in Jaipur itself. Also, there are several sweet shops like Mahavir Rabri Bhandar and Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar to name a few.
However, the most important and fascinating characteristic of Rajasthani food is the way it is served. The enormous amount of food that is served seems to be large in quantity yet when one begins to eat one does not want to stop licking his/her fingers. Also, the way the people serve the food in a polite and humble manner makes us eat more than our appetite as we do not feel like disappointing them. The food, therefore, helps in establishing an oneness of feeling with the culture of the state itself. Thus, Rajasthani food is a must have for the foodies and it is guaranteed that nobody will regret having such delicious food.