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November 2004 Issue
Part 2
by Monica Bhide
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Rajasthani Cuisine

The princely state of Rajasthan is a desert, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the cuisine is lacking. Home to Indian royalty, Rajasthan is famous for its elaborate dishes. When I was a child we lived for a while in Jaipur, Rajasthan’s pink city named so for all its pink buildings. I don’t have memories from that time, yet when I visited a few years ago the welcoming city made me feel as though I had never left. Think vivid when you think of Rajasthan – brightly colored clothes, the pink walls of Jaipur, the music, the dancers, all larger than life. The Muslim influence is very strong here and so there are a wide variety of meat preparations. Lapsi, a popular wheat porridge, is a very delightful dish.

Maharani Gayatri Devi, wife of the Maharaja of Jaipur was listed by Vogue magazine as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her book on the cuisine of this state has done helped not only to bring in the traditional recipes but to document an era.

Jaipur is one of the few places, I have been served Papads (lentil wafers) in a curry. In most other parts of India they are eaten dried as wafers would be. Dry mango powder and garlic are used a lot in the cooking. One of the most famous dishes of Rajasthan is called Dal Bati Choorma: Bati, a round bread imbibed with clarified butter and traditionally cooked in the scorching desert sand, Dal, a lentil curry and Choorma a sweet bread laced with jaggery and butter. A bit heavy to digest, but a must try.

(For some good information on Jaipur visit Jaipur - The Pink City)

For this class, Chef Sudhir picked a very unique dish called Gatta Curry, chickpea flour dumplings cooked in a sauce.

 

Rajasthani Gatta Curry

Gatte:
  • 2 cups chick pea flour or gram flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves, roughly pounded
  • Water to knead
  • 2 -3 tablespoons oil
Curry:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 2 teaspoon powdered coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro
Sieve chickpea flour. Add salt, chili powder, turmeric, asafetida and cloves.
Add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Add water and knead to a stiff, smooth, glossy dough. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Shape into cylindrical rods.
Boil in 4 cups of water till they come up and are covered with tiny bubbles. Add a few drops of oil to the water. This will keep the water from boiling over. Lift out of the water, leave to cool. Discard the water. Cut the cylinders into bite size pieces.
To prepare the curry, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and the asafetida. Add turmeric, salt, coriander powder, 'Garam masala' and chile powder. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and add the yogurt.
Simmer for about 2 -3 minutes. Add the yogurt and chickpea flour sausages or the gattas prepared earlier.
Simmer for a few minutes and serve hot garnished with the cilantro.
 

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