While meat features in Rajasthani cuisine, the best Rajasthani food is vegetarian.
Over the years, Rajasthani cuisine has been influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its people and the availability of ingredients in this desert region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on Rajasthani food.
The ancient princely state of Rajasthan gave rise to a royal Rajasthani cuisine. The Rajas (Kings) who went on hunting expeditions ate the meat or the fowl that they brought back. Even today, Rajasthani feasts flaunt meat cuisines that are incomparable.
While meat is featured in Rajasthani cuisine, most Rajasthanis are vegetarians and therefore the best Rajasthani food is vegetarian. In fact, there are some places like the religious town of Pushkar where only vegetarian food is available. Rajasthani vegetarian dishes are cooked in pure ghee and are famous for their mouth- watering aromas and flavours. Rajasthan’s tastiest curries are based on the use of pulses or gram flour. Dry fruits, spices and yogurt are used in many delicacies. Rajasthan can also boast of a vast array of savouries and sun-dried snacks, be it dal baati and churma or missi roti.
Some of the traditional Rajasthani dishes are
- Dal batti churma (combination meal – entrée, main, and dessert)
- Lal maans (meat in red chillies curry)
- Kachori (deep fried bread with a masala dahl filling)
- Gatta (gram flour dumplings cooked in a yoghurt sauce)
- Kheer (rice pudding)
- Rabri (yogurt and flour based dessert)
As with the rest of North India, Mughal-influenced curries and smoky tandoori food is also a big part of the Rajasthan food.
Kachoris and samosas are a popular breakfast option for many Rajasthanis. Several eateries open their doors early in the morning to serve these and other breakfast delights. Street food is very popular in Rajasthan as it is everywhere else in India. Numerous street food stalls can be found around the cities that serve delicious street snacks for the weary traveller. For refreshments during the day you can’t go past a thick and creamy makhania (saffron-flavoured) lassi.