Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flavors of Rajasthan - I

Gatte ki sabzi, Dal baati-churma, Mangodi, Pakoda kadhi… think of authentic Rajasthani cuisine and this is what immediately pops up in one’s mind!

    Royally rich and truly exotic, the cuisine of this land is a magical mix of exquisite flavors, multi-colored spices skillfully blended with a tint of desert air and lovingly cooked with ladlefuls of ghee. Equally alluring are its wide variety of street food fare that is available throughout the state. Be it the hot jalebis or the crispy kachoris – the flavors are absolutely mouth watering and simply irresistible! Till I was in Rajasthan, I sure was not counting the calories. No one does, actually!!

    So, all you food lovers across the globe, come along and experience the culinary delights of Rajasthan… As I set out to savor some of the unique flavors of the region (which I will be posting from time to time). The appearance itself, I am sure, will be reason enough, to set your taste buds rolling! 


    Chirawa, a Shekhawati village around 25 km from Jhunjhunu is well known for its Pedas. Famous as the ‘Chirawa Peda’, these are available at most of the sweetmeat shops in the state. But, it’s best to buy them from the town it comes from, Chirawa since the taste definitely will differ at the other places. Thus, though out of our way, we still make it a point to travel all the way here just to get a taste of these! Do not miss these especially if you have a sweet tooth or even if you don’t!!

Very Famous Lal Chands Peda shop of Chirawa
[ Very Famous Lal Chand’s Peda shop of Chirawa ]

A box full of delicious Chirawa Peda with a generous sprinkling of cardamom and pistachio
[ A box full of delicious Chirawa Peda with a 
generous sprinkling of cardamom and pistachio ]

    Absolutely recommended...We always buy them from Lal Chand’s Pedas, situated on the station road, one of the most famous shops in Chirawa (they now have a branch in Jhunjhunu too!). You can even take a couple of boxes for your loved ones back home as they last for as long as 1 month.

Flavors of Jhunjhunu (Where, What to eat in Jhunjhunu)

    Rajasthan being an arid state, there’s scarcity of water and lack of vegetation. Thus, gram flour, dried lentils, beans like kair (a camel's favorite, a small, round desert fruit which grows on a prickly shrub), sangri (dried wild leaves), etc are liberally used and sold here.

A shop outside the Rani Sati Temple selling a variety of things to take back home
[ A shop outside selling a variety of things to take back home, 
Did you notice the Pedas…I told you they are everywhere! ]

My mom takes quite a lot of stuff like kair sangri, mustard seeds, etc from this shop just outside the Rani Sati Temple complex to stack up her kitchen shelves.

    As I have already mentioned that when in Jhunjhunu, it’s best to have one’s lunch and dinner in the temple premises itself. But if you are feeling hungry besides these meal times, then all you need to do is just step out of the temple complex… There are a number of pushcarts selling a variety of snacks waiting just for you!

There is an array of chaats like Pani puris, Aloo tikiyas, Matka kulfis and also The Bombay bhel!

A push cart selling a variety of chaats in Jhunjhunu
[ A push cart selling a variety of street chaats ]

    I tasted some of these… was okay but the best was reserved for the last…
As I was about to leave Jhunjhunu for my next destination, my eyes fell on this pushcart crowded with a lot of tourists. The delectable sight of Pakodi chaats, Kanji vadas and Dahi vadas was inviting enough to get me in!

Pakodis - Street food of Rajasthan
[ Crisp and spicy Pakodis being fried ]

Kanji vadas… fabulous and a very popular appetizer…very tasty, melt-in-the-mouth light and fluffy…

Kanji Vadas - Street food of Rajasthan
[ Kanji Vadas... light and fluffy ]

What I totally adore is the pungent fermented kanji…ummm…actually better tasted than described… leaves a lovely after taste!

Dahi Vadas - Street food of Rajasthan
[ Dahi Vadas... dipped in sweet yoghurt ]

Dahi vadas... Another famous starter…served soaked in sweet yoghurt topped with tangy spices and colorful chutneys giving it a very distinct taste!  I gorged on quite a few of them!

A perfect morning meal in Jhunjhunu set me up for the road to Salasar ahead!

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  1. the kanji and dahi vadas look really delicious. what are they made of?

  2. A mouth-wateringly delicious post. Thanks for this.

    All the best, Boonsong

  3. hmmm Mouth watering post.
    Pictures speaks for themselves.
    Have to eat something now to ease my taste buds.

  4. Arti,
    Your post made me hungry. I love hot crisp jalebis and enjoy sucking the sugar syrup. Waiting for more posts.Your posts have created a desire in me to visit Rajasthan.

  5. Your photographs and words encourage the eating of Rajasthan foods.

  6. Awesome post! Am drooling here...and I loved those kanji vadas... mouthwatering! By the way, I am from Rajasthan and after seeing these photos, I so wish to go to my hometown.

  7. @ Angeli
    The vada is made of moong dal(split yellow gram). It is soaked overnight and grind into a coarse paste the next morning along with spices. Then fine balls are made and fried. It is then soaked in water for an hour. It is then added to the kanji which is made a day in advance and is sour to taste.
    The Dahi vada is made of urad dal(black lentils) in the same way as above.. They are soaked in yogurt and served with spices and tamarind and green chutneys...

  8. This food all looks so good! The vedas looks like it might be our equivilant of doughnuts, only with a more complex flavor? Now the pedas are very interesting looking, but what exactly are they? Some type of bread, or maybe a hard biscuit or a cookie? I'm thinking it's a cookie of some sort, wish I could taste one! And do they all have those two indentations in them, is that kind of their trademark?

  9. I'm really hungry now...! Great pics!

  10. Your post has made me hungry. Good work on the photos! Such a colourful country you live in!

  11. lovely post and very tempting pics...

  12. @ Ginny The Peda is made up of mava (concentrated milk) well cooked with brown sugar.... It is very soft and is a delicious sweet... It kind of melts in your mouth... The sweets of Chirawa are very famous and its quality is one of the best found in India.
    The indentations are just an identity signifying the Chirawa peda.

  13. hi Arti ,
    i love rajasthani food ..n i love food specially near any pilgrimage in north india Vridavan we enjoyed mathura ka pedha n alot of other milk sweets n some hot samosa...yummy ...thanks for sharing this ,in our rajasthan trip we will surely try all this food :)


  14. Yes yes yes, I can smell la India!! Thank you for nice comment on my blog!

    Agneta, the swedish one ;)

  15. It all looks really good. I love indian coocking - curries, rice and dal and chutneys and that yummy bread. Hmmmmm :)

  16. great post! reflects the speciality of Rajasthan foods... dishes look very good... would like to taste them... great guide for visitors of Rajasthan...

  17. Hello dear...first time to ur blog...really superb dear!!!! Ur blog has lot of info...keep it up...and thanx for dropping ur words in my blog....

  18. The food sounds delicious, though I'm not sure what they're made of. The pictures makes it look so good.

  19. Travel n food these are the two things i love!!!!
    first time here...u have a lovely space.. very well presented n full of information.Very inspiring!!
    You have so many lovely articles .. i still got to read all your articles i liked ..
    the kanji n dahi vadas are looking scrumptious.. Beautiful post!
    will b visiting often
    take care n keep in touch

  20. Nice pictures !! I really enjoyed it .Do drop by when u find time

  21. Very nice pictures .I really enjoyed it .DO drop by
    when u find time

  22. A wonderful post - I can smell and taste all these amazing delicies.

  23. Thank you so much for visiting me the other day...your blog is lovely and I have learned so much. This food looks amazing. Hugs for a happy day. xooxox

  24. Lal Chand’s Peda is awesome........

  25. An old post I bumped on... Delicious post...!

  26. Yupp it is really amazing to be in. I have spent 21 years of my life being a child of this great place. As you guys are talking about these things let me assure you these things are just a small glimpse of this awesome place. You will find everything be it quality food, ancient places(Havelis, ancient structures)which will catch your eyes in the very first encounter with them and lots of more things to do. Just be there and you will fall in love with this great place. I am too missing it so desperately even being in London.

  27. Perfect ! Loved the post !
    I'm subscribing to your feeds :D


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