From the exquisite spread of preparations, where vegetarian dishes are at par with the non-vegetarian fare, to the beautiful Rajasthani plates and brazen bowls its served in, if you haven't had a Rajasthani thali yet, it's about time you do.
The Royal Platter
A traditional Rajasthani thali depicts a brilliant play of gourmet preparations on a plate of epic proportions. The meticulous arrangements of curries, pickles, special breads and desserts would delight one and all.
Rajasthani cuisine depends heavily on millet, grains and pulses. Other than the traditional rotis, pooris, kachauris and parathas made of wheat flour, you have chapatis made of bajra, makka and jowar. Besan is one ingredient that is widely used in Rajasthani food.
Dal bati choorma is the most loved and endeared food item in Rajasthan. Small, round breads are made of flour and deep fried in ghee. One can go for plain batis or the ones that are stuffed with onion, peas, lentils or sattu. Baatis are traditionally served with dal and dollops of fresh ghee. Unsalted baatis are crushed and mixed with ghee and sugar to prepare choorma.
Dal bati choorma is a complete meal in itself. It takes very little effort, water or ingredients to cook up this satisfying meal. Batis can be made in huge batches and stored for consumption over the days. They have longer shelf life and hence the combination is extremely popular among the locals.
Pyaaz kachori, khoba roti, missi roti, jowar pyaaz roti are some of the other local hits.
If you are a vegetarian, the royal platter has a variety of vegetarian curries and dals for you. Moong dal and gram flour curries are widely used. Wadis, which are moong or besan nuggets are popular too. Gatte ki sabzi is another famous staple in a traditional Rajasthani thali, where besan nuggets are boiled and cooked in flavorful gravy.
Moong and panchmel dal are the most popular and widely served. Panchmel dal has a unique blend of five different lentils. Beans come together with cucumber and bell peppers to create the fantastic panchmel sabzi. In a typical Rajasthani platter, you will not fail to spot bundi ki kadhi, dhana mung wadi, gatte ki kadhi, amras ki kadhi, papad ki sabzi and ker sangri.
For the meat lovers, a local Rajasthani kitchen cooks up delectable preparations using chicken, mutton, fish and at times wild boar. Some of the meat curries are too hot for one to handle. Laal maas ranks high on the spice-o-meter. It combines meat pieces with a generous dose of red chilli - exclusively for the fiery food lovers to enjoy. One should also not skip trying Bajari gosht and bhuna kukda.
Rajasthani cooking makes generous use of milk, curd, cream and buttermilk. When teamed with meat, it renders an excellent creamy texture to the juiciness and tenderness of meat. Safed maas is a classic specialty of Rajasthan - a hearty combination of tender meat chunks cooked with cream, milk and curd.
This is not all, in some parts of Rajasthan, one may get to taste pickled boar meat (saanth roachaar) and roasted wild hare stuffed with spices (khad khargosh). Sula is also extremely famous in Rajasthan, small meat pieces are marinated in a mixture of yogurt and local spices, put on skewers and grilled. Mutton, chicken, fish and wild boar are used in the making of traditional sula.
To add another delicious level to your meal, there are salads, papad, pickles and chutneys to choose from. Since Rajasthan is mostly hot and dry, people here have cultivated a habit of consuming curd, milk and buttermilk based accompaniments and beverages to keep off the heat. You can find an extensive spread of raitas, chaach, sweetened lassi, and thandai, to name a few.
The best thing about Rajasthani desserts is that they're served with the main course! imarti, malpua, rasgulla and moong dal halwa are some of the favorites with the food lovers all across the nation and need no introduction.
Goond ke laddo are made of edible gum, wheat flour, pepper, nuts and ghee. You also have ghewar which is made of flour and soaked in sugary syrup. Mawa misri, another sweet delight, is made with condensed milk, thickened milk and sugar crystals.
Apart from these, steamed rice or pulao also finds a place in the Rajasthani platter. All in all, there is just so much that Rajasthan can offer you on a thali!