Friday, July 15, 2011

Rajasthani Thali

Rajasthani Cuisine

Rajasthan, is a colourful state in Western India with warm people and hot food. Colourful, not only because of the blue city and the pink city but if you also look at the clothing of the people and the food of Rajasthan you will find brilliant, bright colours all around. The variety of dishes and recipes that come from this Princely State, with its arid climate and limited vegetation, is remarkable. It has a rich culinary heritage that Indians are proud of and that foodies from all around the world patronise.

The distinguishing factor about Rajasthani food is that due to limited vegetation, the food from Rajasthan is dominated by lentils and grains rather than vegetables. In most of the curries you will notice the use of grains and lentils in different forms. Rajasthani food also uses a lot of ghee (clarified butter) and chilli, making the food very hot yet satisfying. The great thing about cooking Rajasthani food at home is that you can alter the quantity of chilli as per you preference, I wouldn’t alter the quantity of ghee in the food though, that would just take all the fun out of Rajasthani food.

Rajasthani Thali

Yesterday I decided to cook up a Rajasthani thali, it took me all day to try, taste and improve to make it taste how it should taste. I faced a lot of practical challenges in some recipes which seemed so easy at first. I will discuss these challenges and how to overcome them as we go along my trail of recipes. So here is the rajasthani thali. I hope you will enjoy it!

Rajasthani Crisp Cake Curry

Papad Ki Sabzi

I loved the papad ki sabzi and so did my family. It is really simple to make and great to taste. You can use your favourite papad and just cook up something yummy in a matter of minutes. The best part about this recipe is that I did not face any challenges in making it, it is surprisingly simple and really boosted my confidence in cooking up an authentic Rajasthani meal. So, be fearless and take your first, baby step to Rajasthani cooking with Papad Ki Sabzi.

Papad Ki Sabzi – Serves 2


Papads (Pick your favourite)     2
Unsalted, Clarified Butter (Ghee)        1 tablespoon
Asafoetida (Hing)        a pinch
Cumin (Jeera)          ½ teaspoon
Coriander Seeds (Sabut Dhaniya ke dane)   ½ teaspoon
Dried Red Chilli (Sukhi Lal Mirch)  1
Yogurt (Dahi)        2 tablespoons
Turmeric (Haldi) ¼ teaspoon
Red Chilli powder (Lal Mirch Powder)   ¼ teaspoon
Roasted Cumin powder (Bhuna Jeera Powder)        ¼ teaspoon
Garam Masala powder  ¼ teaspoon
Salt       to taste

Toast or deep fry the papads and break them into bite size pieces. They can be broken in uneven shapes, be sure not the crush them or break them into very tiny pieces. Keep them aside.

In a pan heat ghee, once ghee is hot, add in asafoetida (hing), Cumin (Jeera) and stir, allow the cumin to change into a darker colour. Now, add in the coriander seeds and fry them in ghee for a minutes.

In a bowl, mix in the yogurt (dahi) with four tablespoons of water and all the dry masalas, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder and salt. Mix them well.

Add the flavoured yogurt to the pan with the rest of the masalas.

Allow this mixture to cook on a low flame for three to four minutes. Stir from time to time.

Add in the broken pieces of papad and stir them in the curry. The papad tends to absorb some of the moisture.

Cook the sabzi for two minutes on a low flame. Stir from time to time.

Serve hot with Missi Roti or any other Indian bread.

Rajasthani Kadhi
Nearly every community in India prepares kadhi with a distinct signature mixture of spices; Gujarati Kadhi, Punjabi Kadhi, Sindhi Kadhi to mention a few in the wide array of the Kadhis. Some kadhis are eaten on their own and some have pakoris or gatte added to them.  Rajasthani Kadhi has a distinct flavour due to its unique spice mixture with the fenugreek seeds(methi) and fennel (saunf), methi pakoris or gatte may be added to the rajasthani kadhi.  

Rajasthani Kadhi – Serves 2


Bengal Gram Flour (Besan)  1 tablespoon
Yogurt (Dahi)  3 tablespoons
Turmeric (Haldi)  ½ teaspoon
Red Chilli powder (Lal Mirch Powder)  ½ teaspoon
Salt  (namak)  to taste
Unsalted, Clarified Butter (Ghee)   1 tablespoon
Asafoetida (Hing)  a pinch
Cumin (Jeera)  ¼ teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi ke daane) ¼ teaspoon
Bay Leaf (tej patta)  1 no.
Fennel seeds (Saunf)  ¼ teaspoon
Coriander seeds (Dhaniya sabut) ½ teaspoon


In a bowl, add the Bengal gram flour, yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt and mix well. Add in the ¾ cup of water to this mixture and mix well.

In a pan, heat clarified butter, add in asafoetida(Hing), cumin(Jeera), fenugreek(methi), fennel(saunf), bay leaf (Tej patta) and coriander seeds(dhaniya) to the ghee(clarified butter). Fry on a low flame until they change colour.

Slowly add the yogurt-spice mixture to the pan and stir well. Allow it cook on a low flame for fifteen to twenty minutes. If the Kadhi begins to become too thick, add in a little more water. The Rajasthani kadhi is a little thicker than runny.  

Serve with steamed rice or missi roti.

Note: You can add methi pakoris to this kadhi. Take one tablespoon Besan, add in a pinch of hing, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of methi greens chopped finely, 1 tablespoon dhaniya greens chopped finely, one cut up hari mirch(green chilli) and a pinch of haldi. Deep fry this mixture into fritters/ pakoris and add into the kadhi.

Methi Ke Gatte Ki Sabzi

This traditional Gatte Ki Sabzi is a signature dish on any Rajasthani menu. A Rajasthani thali is incomplete without gatte cooked in a yogurt curry.

Methi Gatte Ki Sabzi – Serves 2

Gram Flour (Besan)   ½ cup
Turmeric (Haldi) ¼ teaspoon
Salt (Namak) to taste
Fenugreek greens (Methi) 2 tablespoon
Carom Seeds (Ajwain) ½ teaspoon
Clarified butter (Ghee)  2 tablespoon
Cumin (Jeera)  ½ teaspoon
Dried Red Chilli 1
Yogurt (Dahi)  1 tablespoon
Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
Red chilli powder (Lal Mirch  powder)


For Methi Ke Gatte

In a bowl, mix gram flour, salt, turmeric, Carom seeds and chopped fenugreek greens (Methi). Mix well.
The fenugreek greens are raw and tend to release moisture in the mixture. Make dough with this mixture. If the moisture is less add in a teaspoon of yogurt , add little to avoid forming a sticky dough.

Divide this dough in three equal parts. Roll each part between your palms and make the dough a long cylindrical shape.

To cook the gatte, dip them in boiling water and allow them to cook for two to three minutes in boiling water.
[Some people add a pinch of Baking Soda in the dough to make the gatte softer, however, I avoid this for health reasons]

Remove the gatte from the boiling water. Allow them to cool, then cut them diagonally and set aside before adding them to the curry.

For the Curry

In a bowl, mix yogurt with a teaspoon full of gram flour and ¾ cup water with red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and salt. Stir and mix the ingredients well.

In a pan, heat clarified butter (ghee), once the ghee is hot add in cumin, once the cumin turns a shade darker. Now, add dried red chilli, lower the heat.

Now, add in the yogurt mixture and stir. Keep the heat low and keep stirring the curry for three minutes.

Add, in the methi gatte , stir and cook for another four minutes on low flame.

Serve hot with missi roti.

Dal, Bati and Churma

The Classic Rajasthani combination, soaked up in ghee. You will love this marriage!

Panchmel Dal –Serves 4


Toor Dal  ¼ cup
Moong Dal ¼ cup
Masoor Dal ¼ cup
Urad Dal  2 tablespoon
Chana Dal 2 tablespoon
Ginger (Adrak)  1 ½ inch, grated
Salt (Namak) to taste
Turmeric (Haldi)  ½  teaspoon
Clarified Butter (ghee)   ½ cup
Cumin (Jeera)  ½  teaspoon
Asafoetida (Hing)  ¼ teaspoon
Dried Red Chilli (Sukhi Lal Mirch)   2
Coriander seeds (Dhaniya Sabut), roasted  2 tablespoon
Cinnamon (Dal Chini) ½ inch
Bay Leaf (Tej Patta)  1
Cloves (Laung)  4
Peppercorns (Kali Mirch)   4
Tomatoes, large (Tamatar)   2 , chopped
Tamarind Pulp (Imli) 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder (Jeera Powder) ½ teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder (Sukhi Lal Mirch) ½ teaspoon
Dried Mango Powder (Amchur)  2 teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder  1 teaspoon
Coriander Greens (hara dhaniya), chopped 2 tablespoon


Mix toor dal, urad dal, moong dal, chana dal and masoor dal in a bowl. Soak them for thirty minutes or more.
In a deep pan add the soaked pulses and three cups of water with ½ inch piece of ginger, crushed, turmeric, salt and stir. Boil for thirty to forty minutes until the pulses are cooked completely OR cook the dal with ginger, turmeric and salt in a pressure cooker for one whistle, cook for another five minutes on low heat and then turn off the heat. Keep it aside.

In a clean pan, heat clarified butter, add cumin, asafoetida, allow the cumin to change colour. Add red chilli, coriander seeds, roast and allow them to change colour.

Now, add in the whole spices, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns and stir. Allow them to change colour, roast for two minutes on medium heat. Grind the spices into a coarse mixture.

Add in the chopped tomatoes and tamarind pulp along with the spices into a hot pan and stir. Allow them to cook on medium heat for three minutes, until the tomatoes are squishy and completely cooked.

Now, add in the boiled pulses that were boiled earlier, stir and cook for another two minutes. Check for salt, spice and the sour flavour of tamarind.

If necessary, mix red chilli powder for pungency and dried mango powder for sour flavour with a tablespoon of water and add it in to the pulses in the pan. Stir. Cook for three to four minutes on low heat.

Turn off the heat, then add chopped coriander greens and add it in to the cooked panchmel dal, stir well before serving.

For Garnish, add two red chillies to a tablespoon of hot clarified butter. Once it makes a splattering sound, add it in to the panchmel dal in the serving bowl as garnish. Enjoy this spicy panchmel dal with batis and churma.

Bati – 10 to 12


Whole Wheat Flour(Atta) 1 cup
Gram Flour (besan) ¼ cup
Semolina (Sooji/ Rava) ¼ cup
Clarified Butter (ghee) 1 cup + 1 cup or for frying
Salt to taste
Milk of necessary


Mix Whole Wheat Flour, gram flour and semolina with ghee and salt in a bowl. Add mix if required and knead it into a hard dough.

Divide it into 10 equal parts and round it up into lemon size balls. (You could stuff them in the centre with cold butter)

You can deep fry the batis in hot ghee in a deep pan or bake the batis at 200 degree centigrade or 350 to 400 degree Fahrenheit and then dip the warm batis in a bowl full of warm ghee, until they are soaked in ghee.

For Churma

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of green cardamom to one baked bati and grind it into a coarse mixture. Add ghee and serve.

Missi Roti

The Rajasthani generally includes Bajra roti or Missi Roti to accompany all the other rajasthani delicacies in the selection. Some prefer to include garlic, turmeric, coriander greens and onion in the missi roti recipe. I have written a recipe with some of the basic ingredients so that the flavour of the missi roti does not dominate the other dishes on the thali. Try this recipe with some onion, coriander and garlic served with lots of butter and you will be begging for more of this flavourful roti.

Missi Roti – for 10 missi rotis


Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)    ½ cup
Bengal Gram Flour (besan)  1 cup
Red Chilli powder (Lal Mirch Powder)  ¼ teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera)  ½ teaspoon
Carom Seeds (Ajwain) ½ teaspoon (Similar to Thyme)
Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder) ½ teaspoon
Onion Seed/ Black Caraway (Kalonji) ½ teaspoon (Smoky and pungent flavour you can use oregano or black pepper or both)
Salt to taste
Oil         10 ml


On a flat surface, take whole wheat flour and Bengal gram flour. Make a well in the centre of the dough.

Add in Red chilli powder, Coriander powder, cumin, Carom seeds, onion seeds in the centre of the well.

Now, add in ¼ cup of water and mix in the spices in the centre of the well. Slowly mix in the flour little by little with the water with the help of your fingers.

Make a dough and knead it well with the help of your knuckles for a couple of minutes.

Now rub in the salt and the oil and knead it again. Round it up and cover it with a moist cloth.
Allow the dough to rest for fifteen minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and round them up.

Place one portion on a clean, flat surface and with the help of a rolling pin, roll out each of the rounded up portions into a round shape, the size of your palm, dust it with some flour if the dough sticks to the surface.

Bake these missi rotis over charcoal or bake them on a flat griddle (tava) until they are evenly baked on both sides. Serve hot with butter or ghee.

Moong Dal and Methi Vadi

An accompaniment with other items on the Rajasthani thali these lentil fritters with fenugreek leaves have the goodness of pulses and greens.

 Moong Dal and Methi Vadi – 8 to 10 pieces


Whole Green bean with covering (Sabut Moong dal)   ¼ cup, soaked for an hour
Fennel seeds (Saunf)  ¼ teaspoon
Fenugreek greens (Methi), finely chopped   ¼ cup
Green Chilli (hari mirch)    1, chopped
Corianders Seeds (Dhaniya sabut)   ½ teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera)   ¼ teaspoon
Salt   to taste
Oil     for frying


Drain out the excess water from the soaked lentils.
Grind all the ingredients, except for the oil, together into a coarse mixture.
Do not add any water while grinding since the methi leaves will release moisture when the salt is added to them.
Heat oil in a deep pan and once the oil if hot, add one spoon of the mixture at a time and deep fry the vadis.
Serve hot with any chutney.

Lehsun Ki Chutney

This chutney is an accompaniment to bajra rotis or missi rotis. It is eaten with other items on the thali such as the moong dal vadis. It is a spicy chutney native to Rajasthan.

Lehsun ki Chutney


Dried or fresh Red chilli (Lal Mirchi) 1 or 2, depending on how spicy you like it
 Garlic (Lehsun)   6 cloves
Fennel (Saunf)  ½ teaspoon
Cumin (Jeera)  ½ teaspoon
Tomato (tamatar)   1, quartered
Salt   to taste
Mustard Oil (sarson Ka tel), Cooked    1 tablespoon (You can use Vegetable oil instead to reduce the pungent flavour)

Grind all the ingredients together and serve.

Moong Dal Halwa

When I tried this recipe, I came up with a little trick, I soaked the moong dal, browned it in ghee and then ground it to a coarse paste, this method made my effort come down four folds. Moong Dal Halwa is usually made by soaking and grinding the moong dal and then browning it in ghee. This process is way too tedious because the moong dal paste goes on soaking up the ghee and takes very long to brown and often becomes very heavy. Use my trick and make the halwa in minutes. This sweet from the rajasthani thali is very rich, very sweet and very delicious.

Moong Dal Halwa – Serves 2


Spilt Yellow Lentils (Moong Dal- Dhuli)  ¼ cup, soaked for an hour
Unsalted, clarified butter (Ghee)  ½ cup
Sugar (Cheeni)  ¼ cup
Cardomom powder(Elaichi)  ¼ teaspoon
Pistachios  5, sliced
Almonds 5 – 6, sliced  
Silver Varq for garnish (optional)


Drain out the excess water from the soaked moong dal.

Heat Ghee in a pan, add in the moong dal, keep stirring and cook it till its brown.

Grind the dal into a coarse paste and blend it in with all the ghee. Set aside.

In a deep pan, mix sugar, cardamom powder and equal quantity of water and mix well.
Put the pan on medium heat and allow the sugar to dissolve, stir well. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil. Turn the heat on low.

Add in the moong dal and stir well. Cook for two or three minutes on a low flame. Turn off the heat.
Mix in the pistachio and almonds.

Garnish with silver varq.