Each region in India has its own traditional dishes and
specialities. In the royal kitchens of Rajasthan, as well as most other
states, food is a very serious business and raised to the level of an
art-form. Rajasthani cooking was influenced by the war -like lifestyle of
its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this region. Eating
The personal preferences of the people about food are very much varied. The Rajput warrior was not averse to hunting, killing game to put in his pot at night. The Vaishnavas, followers of Krishna, were vegetarian, and strictly so, as were the Bishnois, a community known for their passion to conserve both animal and plant life. Even among Rajputs, there were enough royal kitchens where nothing other than vegetarian meals were cooked.
The Marwaris of course, were vegetarian too, but their cuisine, though not too different from the Rajputs, was richer in its method of preparation. And then there were the Jains too, who were not only vegetarians, but also the ones who would not eat after sundown, and whose food had to be devoid of garlic and onions which were, otherwise, important ingredients in the Rajasthani pot.
Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred, more out of necessity than choice. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables has all had their effect on the cooking. In the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks make minimum use of water and prefer, instead, to use more milk, buttermilk and clarified butter. Dried lentils, beans from indigenous plants like Sangri, Ker etc are liberally used.
Gram flour is a major ingredient here and is used to make some of the delicacies like Khata, Gatte Ki Sabzi and Pakodi. Powdered lentils are used for Mangodi and Papad. Bajra and corn are used all over the state for preparations of Rabdi, Khichdi and Rotis.
A soup of legumes, flavoured with red chilli peppers, yoghurt or milk and sometimes a vegetable such as Okra, Jackfruit, Eggplant, Mustard or Fenugreek leaf. The wealthy can afford to eat meat regularly, but many abstain for religious reasons. Though the Rajasthani kitchen was able to create much from little, it had also to cater to different communities with their own ritual observances.
Various chutneys are made from locally available spices like turmeric, coriander, mint and garlic. Perhaps the best-known Rajasthani food is the combination of dalbati and churma but for the adventurous traveller, willing to experiment, there is a lot of variety available.
Besides spicy flavours, each region is distinguished by its popular sweets. Most people from Rajasthan have a natural liking for sweets or 'Mithai' as it is locally called. People residing in Rajasthan prefer 'Jalebis' and 'Fafda' with a large glass of hot milk in the morning.
Each region has its own specialty. Laddoos from Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Malpuas from Pushkar, Jalebies from most big cities, Rasogullas from Bikaner, Dil Jani from Udaipur, Mishri Mawa and Ghevar from Jaipur, Mawa Katchori from Jodhpur, Sohan Halwa from Ajmer, Mawa from Alwar, the list is unending.