Rajasthani | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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The ‘land of rajas’, the largest state of India in terms of area, Rajputana or the country of Rajputs – these are a few terms that are highly synonymous with this colourful and vibrant state of Rajasthan that lies in the north-western part of India.

The Rajasthanis are generally very friendly, cordial and lovable in nature – this is one reason that whoever visits this majestic land, is welcomed by its people with arms wide open.

Legends related to the marvelous architectural creations, extraordinary havelis, lavish palaces and forts, vast stretches of golden sand – it is rightly said that anything and everything about Rajasthan mesmerizes one and all, be it the locals or the International crowd. This magical land is filled the beauty of deserts, chivalry of its brave men and women, rich and diverse culture, delicious cuisine and the natural splendor. Colourful, hospitable and pure ecstasy – there is a taste of flamboyancy in each and every nook of this blissful state that makes it a heaven for tourists. 

Geomorphology and political conditions alongwith the regional influences are responsible for the rich and exotic cuisine of Rajasthan. Mainly vegetarian, the Rajasthani food has got an array of delectable dishes that can sure make one’s mouth water, and in no time gets devoured! Use of spices is dominant in the Rajasthani food alongwith the use of clarified butter or ghee for cooking makes the recipes absolutely scrumptious. Various types of curries and delicious sweets is what the Rajasthani cuisine is all about.

Food of Rajasthan

Rajasthani cuisine is perhaps the most sensitive cuisine among other Indian cuisines. People here relish non-vegetarian dishes made from chicken, lamb and shikar which includes animal and birds like boars, venison, peacock, quail, duck, pheasant, rabbits and even camels etc. Vegetarian food comes in two varieties i.e. the food eaten by the common man that includes use of various spices and herbs and the food of the Marwari Jains that is prepared without using onions, garlic or for that matter any ingredient growing under the soil except for ginger and groundnuts.

The royal kitchens of Rajasthan were very lively with a number of cooks, called either Maharaj or Purohit, cooking for the royalties. Their recipes were often closely guarded secrets known only to the particular cook who would only pass it on to his son and so on. Quite a few were lost forever since no written records were maintained. Cooking food for the royal guests was considered to be a honor and to impress royal guests, the Maharajs were allowed to experiment and try out new dishes, which would be unique. For this purpose huge amounts were spent to get the best of ingredients. Stories of chicken and peacocks being fed on gold, pearls and rubies so that they could be fit for the royal table abound. The lavishness of their food was quite similar to the Moghuls or that of any other royal kitchen.

One interesting fact about the Rajasthani meals is that, sweets are enjoyed by one and all and forms a part of the main meal before, during and after, unlike the usual concept of desserts that it is supposed to be had after the maincourse. This is the reason, sweet dishes are never termed as ‘desserts’ in Rajasthan. Talking about the typical Rajasthani mannerisms in serving food to guests, ‘self-service’ is considered as rude and thus, the guests are served in a proper manner by the host itself.

The Rajasthani desert belts, because of the scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables, milk, buttermilk and butter are used in large quantities to minimize the amount of water while cooking food. Dried lentils, beans, gram flour, powdered lentils, spices like coriander, garlic, turmeric, etc. form a part of various dishes like sangria, gatte ki sabzi, papads and various chutneys. Other popular dishes are gatte ka saag, khichra, dal bati churma and snack like bhujia which Bikaner is famous for, Jodhpuri kachoris and sweets like ghevar, malpuas, dil jani, mishri mawa, sohan halwa, etc.

The hot favorites among non-vegetarian dishes include the Rajasthani kebabs called Sule which are barbecued meat pieces of game roasted in 11 different ways. Pickled meat of boar is considered a delicacy. Exotic yogurt and cream based main-courses are common, like Safed Maas, Maas ki Kadhi, Khad, Besan ke Gatte and many more. One of the most favourite of Rajasthani non-vegetarian dishes is Laal Maas, an extremely hot dish that can be savoured only by those who have steel-lined intestines. 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.