Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE ROYAL CUISINE 

"MY BLOG ON RAJASTHANI CUISINE REFLECTS ROYAL CUSINE WITH SOME SELECTED PHOTOGRAPHS OF MY HOMETOWN JODHPUR."


MEHRANGARH FORT

Rajasthan, the Land of Royals, the largest state in India, is culturally rich and has artistic and cultural traditions which reflect the ancient Indian way of life. 

No state in India is more colorful than Rajasthan. From the bright tones reflected in the female traditional dresses and the male turbans to an impressively rich and assorted collection of spices, this sun-soaked land reflects the most brilliant hues of the rainbow. Even the main tourist attractions are color-coded like “Pink City(Jaipur)”, “White City(Udaipur)” and  “Sun City/Blue City(Jodhpur).”



"BLUE CITY, JODHPUR"


Famous for its Deserts, Lakes and Majestic Forts,  Rajasthan is the home of India’s most delicious food, fine royal dining, exquisite restaurants, local delicacies and gastronomic delights.



A view from MEHRANGARH FORT

The vast to explore, Rajasthani cuisine, is a splendid array of unique, rich, colorful, spicy curries and mouth-watering Delectable sweets. This style of cooking, is not only the mirror of wealth and prosperity,  but also reflects the traditional warrior lifestyles and the availability of ingredients in this water starved region. Food that last for several days was given more preference. Due to the scarcity of water, the cuisine involves use of milk, yogurt or buttermilk to wet the gravies. Instead of greens, they use different types of local berries. Instead of tomatoes, they learned to sour the dishes with dried mango powder. The use of lentils and legumes, mainly Jowar,  Bajra and Gram Flour in their food keeps the nutritional value very high. Once cooked, these most of the traditional Rajasthani vegetables can be eaten over days and don't need refrigeration. 

The main ingredient behind the rich flavors and the exotic aroma of Rajasthani food is the use of Ghee (traditional Indian clarified butter) in making almost all the dishes; main, sides and dessrts. 


From traditional vegetarian dishes like daal-baati-churma and Ker-Sangri-Kumatia to popular non-vegetarian delights like Laal Maas and KHud Khargosh to mouth-watering sweets like Ghevar and Mawa Kachori ,everything makes Rajasthani cuisine in many ways unique from other culinary traditions of India.


This is my invitation to all the lovers of novel food, to be with me throughout this Royal Jouney of Rajsthani Cuisine.


Typical Rajasthani vegetarian Main dishes: 


Daal Bati Churma - Rajasthani food is incomplete without the mention of the famed Dal-Baati-Churma, a distinctive dish of the state. A delicious, rich, flavorful and a whole meal in itself consisting of three items; Baati -  a hard, round whole-wheat ball/roll, cooked in a tandoor oven or roasted over hot coals,  served after dipping in enormous amount of ghee (clarified butter).  Dal - a thin curry of two or more lentils tempered with very less spices and more Ghee.  Churma - prepared Baatis, crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar. 


Gatte ki Sabzi -  Steamed pieces of besan (chickpea flour) in a rich gravy made with ingredients like onions, tomatoes, garlic, lots of yogurt and various indian spices.


KER-SANGRI-KUMATIA - Made with wild berries (or beans) that grow independently and abundantly in the vast desert areas of western Rajasthan. Ker ( dried unripe fruit ), Sangri ( dried wild beans ), Kumatia ( dried flat pods ) are combined with whole Red Chillies and Raw Mango Powder to prepare this Rajasthani delicacy.  The combination of all five ingredients also gave the name of "PaanchKuta"


Jodhpuri Kabuli:  Packed with dry fruits and nuts, cooked in buttermilk or yoghurt , this pilaf or Rajasthani Biryani, directly comes from the Royal kitchen of Jodhpur, commonly eaten at festivities, including religious occasions and wedding ceremonies. 

Gulab-Jamun ki Sabzi: This vegetarian speciality is very famous in Jodhpur city. It is Gulab Jamun balls which, rather than dipping in sweet syrup, is dipped in rich savoury gravy. 


Rabodi/Papad ki Subzi(Papadum): A traditional yet lesser known preparation from the kitchens of Rajasthan. The key ingredient, as suggested by its name, is called rabodi which is essentially papad soaked in butter milk. The papad could be either besan (gram) or makka (corn) based. Rabodi is prepared at homes across Rajasthan and is also available for purchase from stores. 


Cordia/ Lasode/ Goonda ki Sabzi : Gunda is a kind of wild berry with a very sticky seed inside, that needs to be removed. These can be boiled and de-seeded OR else, Gundas can be cut by hitting a pestle on the gunda and splitting it halfway and then removing the seed using a pairing knife dipped in Salt Water. Salt helps to remove the stickiness so after cutting a few gundas, just dip your fingers in salt and rub them together.




Rajsthani Kadhi: A soury simple buttermilk and Gram Flour based curry with less ingredients and more taste. "Kadhi" is prepared in many parts of India. This curry usually contains "pakoras(dumplings)" or vegetables or "Boondi" , but in Rajasthan, it is made without any addition, that is, a simple buttermilk mixed with gram flour curry with spices and Ghee.


Aloo-Mangodi ki Sabzi (Sun Dried Split Green Lentil Dumplings with cubed Potatoes): These small spicy dumplings are prepared in almost all the kitchens of Rajasthan before the arrival of winter season. A thick spicy batter is prepared with pre-soaked and grinded Split Green Lentils, Red Chilis and salt.  Pour small roundells of Mangodi on a pre-greased plastic sheet on your terrace or balcony under direct sunlight. Cover the plastic sheet with a cover-wrap and leave the Mangodis for atleast 5-6 hours. These magodis can be kept in your kitchen just like other lentils for more than a year. Deep fry the required amount and add in potato curry to make the simple, yet famous "Aloo-Mangodi ki Sabzi" 


Typical Rajasthani Snacks and Side Didhes:


Pyaz ki Kachori(Spicy Onion mixture stuffed savory pastry): Very crisp and flaky from outside and world's best filling inside, makes one of my most favorite snack item "Pyaz ki Kachori".  Originated from Jodhpur, these "large size Kachoris" are today popular throughout Rajasthan. Steaming hot deep fried kachoris stuffed with a lightly caramalised and exceptionally seasoned onion filling, a snack I can die for. Easily available at most of the "namkeen" shops in Jodhpur. The most famous is from the "Surya Namkeen Shop" at Jalori Gate.


Bajre ka Sogra (Pearl Millet Thick Roti/Indian Bread):  Bajre ka Sogra are flat breads made from millet flour.  A tight dough is prepared by mixing Bajra Flour with small amount of Wheat Flour and salt.  'Sogra' is an authentic word used in Rajsthan for thick Bajra Rotis brushed with lots n lots of pure Ghee. Authentically, these Sogras are cooked over "kandas" (cow dung cakes) in the villages to impart these thick braeds with the smoked flavor. Bajra roti, lahsun ki chutney and onions is the staple diet of the Rajasthani Farmers.


Lahsun ki Chutney(Red Chili-Garlic Dip):  Lahsun ki Chutney is a semi dry chutney which is an essential part of any rajsthani kitchen. Served with Daal-Bati or Bajra-Roti, this chutney is prepared with fresh garlic pods and Jodhpuri Mathania Whole Red Chilis. 


Mirchi Vada or Jodhpuri Mirchi Bada(Stuffed Chilli Cutlet): This lovely snack is very famous in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) among the Jodhpurites as well as the tourists. The traditional Jodhpuri Mirchi Badas can be imagined as a giant pakora with the heat of a large green chilli, softness of potato mix, calming texture of gram flour and an explosion of spices that make you want one more. The sweet water of Jodhpur lends it a unique taste. Is is well served with tangy tomato sauce or simply with plain white bread.


Rajasthani dana-methi Mirch (Chilies with Fenugreek Seeds): A very loving and common side dish. Roughly chopped large size Green Chilies, slightly cooked with pre-soaked Fenugreek Seeds and very less spices. 



Typical Rajasthani Non-Vegetarian Main Dishes:


Laal Maans: One os the most famous Rajasthani Non Vegetarian speciality. Spicy pieces of mutton prepared with lots of onions, garlic and Mathania Red chillies from Jodhpur. The thick, semi dry tangy curry is prepared using buttermilk or curd instead of tomatoes and the deep red colour comes from a special chilli called the “Mathania Red Chilly”. It is very delicately smoked with charcoal. 


Khud Khasrgosh (Hare or rabbit meat cooked in a pit): A real royal Rajput specialty during summer, when the meat is tender and lean. To prepare this exotic dish, a whole rabbit is stuffed with spices and wrapped in dough and cooked in an open spit. 


Rajasthani Sula((Lamb/Mutton kebabs cooked on charcoal grill): Chunks of tender and moist meat/fish, marinated in lots of flavorful fragrant spices mixed with yogurt is roasted over an open charcoal fire. After being well-done, hot ghee is poured over it; the resulting smoke is the source of the flavour.


Kesar Murg (Saffron Chicken):  A slow cooked exotic chicken dish, prepared with Cashewnut paste, Cream and Saffron.


Typical Rajasthani Desserts/Sweets


Malai Ghevar: The most popular sweet among Rajasthanis. An essential part of every Rajasthani wedding, traditionally associated with the festival of "Teej." A disc shaped heavenly dessert loaded with condensed milk and dry fruits.





Laapsi: Another traditional Rajasthani sweet, usually preapred at home on festive occasions. Made with cracked wheat, jaggery and lots of pure ghee.


There are many other sweets Rajsthan has adopted from all over India, and are preapared in Rajasthani style with pure ghee. 


DAL - BATI

Rajasthani cuisine is a splendid array of colorful, spicy and unique dishes. Rajasthani food is incomplete without the mention of the famed Dal-Bati-Churma, a distinctive dish of the state. A delicious, rich, flavorful and a whole meal in itself. Baati is essentially a wheat dumpling. Made out of whole wheat and cooked in a tandoor oven. It is always eaten with dal. It can either be plain, or may have various kinds of fillings, including onions, peas,mix vegetables, etc. Daal-Baati is best accompanied with Churma(coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar), but i mostly prefer making and eating only Dal-Baati. This is a dish that many people acquire a taste to. Many people do not like it the first time they have it. But eat it 2-3 times and i am sure you'll be hooked for life!



Ingredients:


For Baati / Dumplings:
  • 2 cups Wheat flour 
  • 2 cup Ghee  
  • 1 tbsp Curd  
  • 1 tsp Soozi 
  • Salt, according to taste 
  • A pinch of Baking Soda

For Dal :

  •  ¾ cups Urad dal soaked in water with a pinch of sodium bicarbonate; 2 cups soaked Rajma beans; 2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste; 3-4 chopped Onions; 2-3 chopped Tomatoes;  1 tsp Garam masala powder;  1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder;  1/2 tsp Coriander-Cumin powder;  1/4 tsp Turmeric powder; 2-3 Chopped green chilies; 4tbsp Ghee;  2 1/2 tbsp Cream; / 1 tbsp Yoghurt; 2 tbsp Oil Salt, according to taste; Chopped Coriander leaves for garnishing

Directions :  
DAL Pressure cook rajma and urad dal with little salt, one tsp ghee and turmeric powder. Heat oil in a round vessel. Fry onions till it turns brown.  Add ginger-garlic paste and fry. Add the dry spices, i.e, coriander-cumin powder and red chili powder and the chopped tomatoes. Saute for 3-4 minutes. As soon as the tomatoes are done, add the boiled rajma beans and urad dal. Mix it well with the masala.  Add some salt to it and blend it well in the vessel itself. Pour over 3 tbsp ghee and cream/yoghurt. Add boiled water if the dal is too thick.  Once it is done, garnish it with finely chopped .

BATI Prepare a dough with flour, ghee, curd, salt and little warm water.  Make out small soft balls from it and keep for one hour. Bake these balls in the preheated oven to 200 degree centigrade for about half an hour, till the crust is brown { It should be golden outside and spongy inside }.  Remove and glaze with butter.  Dip hot dumplings in dal and garnish the dal with coriander leaves and chillies.  Serve hot. 




GATTE KI SABZI





Gatte ki sabji is a traditional Rajasthani speciality which is a Gram flour steamed dumplings, called "Gattas" dunked into a yogurt based curry. If made in a very traditional way it is without ginger, garlic and onions, but i usually prefer all these ingredients in all my gravies. With pure Ghee it gives the real taste. Helpful to digest. Easy and fast to cook......
Ingredients:

****For Gatta**** 2 cups Besan (Chickpea/Gram Flour) 1/2 cup Yoghurt 1 tsp Ajwain 1/2 tsp Kasoori methi (optional) A pinch of Turmeric A pinch of Baking powder 2 tsp Oil Salt according to taste

****For Gravy**** 1 big Onion, finely chopped 1 Tomato, finely chopped 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste 2 tbsp Yoghurt, well beaten 1/2 cup Cashew nut Paste 2-3 Green Chilis, chopped  1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder 1/2 tsp Coriander-Cumin powder 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp Garam-Masala powder 1 tsp Cumin seedsA pinch of Asafoetida 2 tbsp GheeSalt, according to taste Chopped Coriander leaves for garnishing



Directions : Add salt and baking powder to besan, mix well and sieve besan through a fine sieve. Add oil, turmeric powder, ajwain seeds, kasoori methi and yoghurt to besan and make a stiff dough. { If the dough is too sticky, add a little more oil. } Tip: Add yogurt 1tbsp at time while making dough.  Divide dough into 5-6 equal parts and make cylindical thin rolls out of this dough.Add these rolls into boiling water and boil them on high heat for 12-15 minutes till the rolls become light and start floating. Reserve the water for further use in gravy.


    Now cut these rolls into pieces. These are called "Gattas".
    Heat Ghee in a saucepan and add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let it sputter and then add chopped onion to it and saute till brown. 
    Add the Ginger-Garlic paste and chopped green chilis and saute for 1-2 of minutes. Then add all the dry powders with 1 tsp of reserved water. 
    Add tomatoes and cook this mixture on low heat for 5-7 minutes till they are mushed up and the mixture starts leaving the oil/ghee.
    Add salt and yoghurt. Cook for 1-2 minutes. 
    Add Cashew nut paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
    Add garam-masala powder.Add the reserved water and the "Gattas" and bring to a nice boil. Cook it over low flame for 5 minutes. 
    Garnish with fresh chopped coriander. Gatte ki Sabzi is ready.


GULAB JAMUN KI SABZI



Gulab Jamuns are always used to tickle the sweet tooth. Its one of my favourite sweet. But here i am making a rich vegetarian dish by keeping raw Gulab Jamun as the main ingredient. It is Gulab Jamun balls which, rather than dipping in sweet syrup, is dipped in savoury gravy. In Jodhpur, Rajasthan we can get raw gulab jamuns in most of the sweet shops. Here i am making Gulab Jamuns by using the readymade Gulab Jamun Mix and also without cream. This vegetarian speciality is very famous in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.  

Ingredients: If using store bought Gulab Jamuns

  • 16 small raw Gulab Jamuns, readymade ** Take the gulab jamuns in a bowl. Add two cups of water and keep in the Microwave  on HIGH (100%) for a minute. Drain the water and reserve for the gravy.  OR ** Just dip the gulab jamuns in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, Drain and reserve water for further use.
For Making Gulab Jamuns from gulab jamun mix.
  • 200 grams Gulab jamun mix (one packet)
  • 1 Boiled and mashed Potato
  • 50 grams Paneer, mashed
  • 2 tbsp. Allpurpose flour/Cornflour
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Oil for deep frying
For Gravy
  • 2 diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Yoghurt/Curd
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 3 medium sized Onions, 1 chopped+2 sliced
  • 10-12 Cashew nuts, paste
  • 2-3 Green chili
  • 1" Cinnamon
  • 3-4 Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg crushed {optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 4 tablespoons Ghee/Butter
  • Salt to taste
Directions:
For Gulab Jamuns:
  1. Mix together all the ingredients including cornflour for gulab jamuns. { Keep some cornflour for coating}
  2. Take a ping-pong ball sized dough and shape into a ball.
  3. Coat it with some cornflour.
  4. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan and deep-fry the gulabjamuns until brown. Keep aside and tent with foil. 
For Gravy:
  1. Wet grind one chopped onion with tomatoes and green chilis. Keep aside.
  2. Roast the cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg together on medium heat for 7-8 minutes. Dry grind and keep aside.
  3. Heat ghee/butter in a pan, add powdered spices and fry for 2-3 seconds; add sliced onions and fry till transparent; add ginger-garlic paste and fry further for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste; fry for 5-6 minutes; add coriander, red-chili, turmeric and cumin powder with a little water. Fry till the mixture starts leaving oil from sides.
  5. Add cashewnut paste and fry further for 2-3 minutes; add curd one tablespoon at a time, stirring and incorporating it into the mixture before adding the next tablespoonful. Continue in this way until all the curd has been used.
  6. Add salt and 2 cups of warm water and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. { The gravy for this dish is meant to be thick, so do not add too much water. }
  7. Carefully add gulabjamuns into the gravy and remove from heat { Gulabjamuns should be added in the gravy just beore serving}.
  8. Serve hot.




The Chatris of Mandore Garden


JASWANT THADA


Jodhpur city, as seen from MEHRANGARH FORT


THE PUPPET SHOW

THE COLORFUL DRESSES OF THE LOCALS

MATHANIA RED CHILIS