The royal yet rustic Rajasthani cuisine

Pilav from bulgur
Pilav from bulgur with vegetables, carrots, green peas and fresh mint. Healthy food, vegetarian recipes
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The mouth-watering cuisine of Rajasthan is believed to have emerged from the royal kitchens of the fascinating palaces and castles. It is said that, whenever the kings or the royals hosted guests at their palaces, extensive researches and experiments with food were done at the kitchens to create a unique and tasty dish which would excite the taste buds of the visiting royals.

The cooks often competed with each other to create the most unforgettable dishes to present to their kings. Food historians say that all these have contributed to the rich and varied cuisine of Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, a parallel cuisine developed in the north eastern parts of the state which catered to the tastes and preferences of the ordinary folk. The dishes in Bikaner are tasty and incredibly healthy though they do not have the sophistication of the royal cuisine.

The people of Bikaner prepare their foods as if in the times of a war. They efficiently prepare food and dishes which could be stored for days and most of them do not even require reheating when it is served on plates. Scarcity of water and lack of nutritious vegetables have significantly influenced the Bikaneri cuisine.

Dried or cured food items are thus a speciality here. Instead of water, they prefer to cook most of their foods in milk. Legumes and gram flour are generously used in this cuisine. Mungodi, papad, ghatte ki sabzi and pakodi are some of the popular Rajasthani dishes.

The famed Bikaneri bhujia is prepared by passing dough made of gram flour and a variety of spices though a sieve and then frying it to crisp. Bikaner is also a haven of desserts and sweet dishes including the soft Bikaneri halwa which melts in your mouth.

Masala, prepared with lots of spices, is added in their non-vegetarian dishes to make them extremely flavoursome.

Here is a recipe of authentic gehun ki bikaneri kichdi (Wheat grain porridge).

Ingredients

1 cup wheat grains

¼ cup yellow split dal

1 tbsp ghee

½ tsp cumin

2 green chillies (chopped)

¼ tsp asafoetida

1 cinnamon stick

Salt as required

Preparation

Soak the wheat grains in water for at least 8 hours

Drain the excess water

In a blender, grind the wheat to a fine powder

In a pressure cooker, add the wheat powder, yellow split dal, ghee, cumin, green chillies, asafoetida, and cinnamon stick

Pour 3 cups of water and add salt as required

Cook until the pressure cooker gives off 3 whistles

Now lower the flame and cook until 3 -4 more whistles are heard

Turn off the flame and allow the pressure to release completely

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves if required

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