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August 2009
Finger Licking Rajasthani Fare
Anju Poddar
Rajasthan is a land of splendour, colour and valour. People hailing from Rajashtan (Marwar region) are referred to as Marwaris. Seeped into rich traditions, they celebrate life with a variety of rich cuisine. For every occasion there is a specific meal.

The meals are presented very well. Traditionally, the food is served in big metal plates called thalis with a number of small bowls called katoris. Katoris were made of gold and silver earlier. Even today, in many houses, food is partaken in silver utensils.

An authentic Marwari meal consists of daal or kadhi, four vegetables (two dry and two with gravy), one curd item and a sweet dish. Papad is served at the end as it helps in digestion by cleaning the digestive track of oil and spices. After the meal, sugar and paan are served as mouth freshners. Lots of badam and pistha are used to enhance the taste of the sweets.

Rajasthan being a dry and arid land, vegetables are not found in plenty. So when in season, green beans like kair and sangar are dried and stored for future use. Mangodi and badi (dried balls of ground and seasoned daal paste) are generally made in the winter season because they form an integral part of many vegetables. Kaanji is also a Marwari favourite, which is made of various vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and beans along with moong daal (green gram) dumplings. They are mixed in water fermented with spices, mainly mustard seed powder, chilli powder, salt, roasted cumin seeds etc.

Authentic Marwari dishes like daalbaati- churma and gatte ki sabji are hot favourites. These are accompanied by aloo bharta and smoked papad bhurji. Daal used to be cooked in clay pots while baatis were traditionally cooked on cow dung cakes flamed by burying in the sand. With baati, a bowl of ghee, powdered sugar, jaggery, radish pieces, lemon wedges etc are also served.

Anju Poddar is a successful homemaker fascinated by Hindu traditions and festivals. She has authored two well received books, A Journey to the Heavens and A Wedding in the Family.

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