Preserved And Long Lasting Food Items Exclusive To Rajasthan
Fermented and preserved foods are the specialties of Rajasthan. The Rajasthanis believe in preserving foods in terms of achaar, chutneys, etc. that can stay fresh for months. The idea of doing so is that fresh vegetables are not available all the time. Hence, it becomes vital to preserve foods in this form. The main categories include pickles or achaar, sweet dishes that are made with loads of ghee to help them say fresh, and also an assortment of mouth fresheners that are called supari.
Pickles and Achaar
No doubt that the summer months in the heat of Rajasthan take a toll on your health. But since there is not much of vegetation there in the interiors of the state, there is no option but to preserve foods in these forms. Doing so helps to add a little taste to the plain old rotis and parathas here. The mango season welcomes the season of pickles too. Apart from mango pickles here are made of different kinds using lime or lemon, Kair sangri and assortment of other ingredients. A lot of hing or asafoetida is added to all of these dishes because it helps in preserving them and also because taste is provided.
Chana and Mango Pickle
This pickle is made using chick peas and is tongue tickling grated mango and chick pea pickle It is then mixed with whole and powdered spices. The chick peas last a very long time when they are pickled and it is also a staple of Rajasthan. For making this pickle you will need-Ingredients
- 1/2 cup kabuli chana or white chick peas, though you can use the red version too
- 1 1/2 cups grated raw mango
- 1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 tbsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
- 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi) powder
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 14 whole dry kashmiri red chillies
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1 1/4 cups mustard (rai / sarson) oil
- 1 tbsp salt
You have to mix together the mango along with the turmeric and salt. Leave it aside for about half an hour. Then squeeze all the excess water from the mango with your hands. Strain the mixture in a muslin cloth to ensure that all of the water is out. Else, your pickle can get spoiled. The chickpeas should be soaked in the remaining mango water along with the fenugreek seeds overnight. Then refrigerate the grated mango. Next you have to combine all the other ingredients that include fenugreek seeds powder, fennel seeds, asafoetida, nigella seeds, whole red chillies, chilli powder and soaked Kabuli chana mixture with the grated mango. Mix them together properly. Now heat some mustard oil and let it cool. Then put the prepared mixture here and mix the oil well. Keep the mixture in a clean glass jar. It should be kept in the sun for at least 2-3 days. Then it will be ready to eat. The same stays out in room temperature for at least a year.
This is a puffed kind of patty, made using onion powder or lentil powder that is blended and cooked finely. The idea is to make a mixture that lasts for days, without getting spoilt. Hence, all of the water is drained out from the mixture and then it is cooked till it is dry in form. The kachori can be added to fresh ingredients like potatoes, but then the preserved element of the dish is gone. Most kachoris made using powdered lentils last up 3-4 days.
This is one healthy and sweet dish made in the state from broken wheat that is also called Dalia or bulgar wheat. It is a form of cracked wheat that is found in most regions of Rajasthan. Lapsi is a food form that is cooked with lots of ghee to help the dish last for a longer period. For this recipe, the wheat is toasted well and then cooked in hot ghee using lots of aromatics. The delicious and sweet meal is not really a preservative that can be stored for days and it is a specialty during the season of navratras.
Mathri or Swahli
Another speciality of the state of Rajasthan that can be stored for a long time is the mathri. Ideally it is eaten with tea or served with some spicy pickle. It is like a toasty and savoury biscuit that really tingles the taste bud and makes you want more. It is made using whole wheat flour along with some semolina and carom seeds. Salt and pepper are added. The rather dry dough is then cut in to small disc like shapes that are made slightly thin. They are deep fried and can be stored for a number of days.
Missi roti is a form of preserved bread that is unleavened and it is made using flour with daal and lentils. It is used for different kinds of Rajasthani curries. The bread is made using not only wheat flour but also gram flour along with fenugreek, cardamom seeds and spices. The Roti can be preserved for days and is stored outside at room temperature.
Gatte ki Subzi and Achaar
This is one famous item of Rajasthan that is eaten both in the form of curry and also in the form of pickle. Gatte curry or Gatte ki subzi is basically a Rajasthani vegetarian dish that is made using besan atta (Bengal flour or chickpea flour). The pickle is made by preparing the dumplings of, gram flour and dry spices, which are then steamed and cooked. For making the achaar, different kinds of dry spices are used along with mustard oil. For making the gravy or vegetable, a batter of yogurt and gram flour is used and the vegetable is rather liquid but really spicy and tangy to taste. Garlic is often added to the vegetables for enhancing the taste.
Aam ki Launji
Aam ki Launji is an easy to cook pickle kind of vegetable that is made by cooking mangoes with a with spices and powders. There are really no complex methods involved here and the entire thing is cooked in one go. The same is again preservable for days and can be eaten as pickle or even in the form of gravy. Ingredients
- 1 cup peeled raw mango cubes
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 1 tbsp coriander (dhania) powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- salt to taste
To make this vegetable or pickle you have to heat the oil and add fennel along with nigella seeds. Then add raw mangoes and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add 1/4 cup of water along with other mixes and cook well. Once the mangoes are soft, you can cool the mixture and use as required.
These are special mouth fresheners that are made exclusively in the state of Rajasthan, though they are also available in different parts of the country. Supari is made using betel nuts and then a lot of menthol and peppermint is aded to the same. Supari is then preserved and dried using different kinds of techniques. One of the most popular markets in the area of Jaipur - Johri Bazaar has some really great shops where you can buy these. The thing is that these are used as a mouth freshener and also provide some healing properties like getting respite from cough and other related problems. Some of these are laden or covered with a silver leaf or foil. You can pick from the softer and harder versions of the betel nuts. You will truly love the experience.
Another specialty of the state is the amazing range of churans or digestive aids that you get here. There are at least thousands of kinds of churnans available here. These include a range of items made using preserved fruits like berries, Indian gooseberries, etc. They add a lot of spices to the churan too like ginger, turmeric, asafoetida, mango powder, etc. The result is delicious and lip smacking churan varieties that will really leave you licking your lips. Not only can they be preserved for years, but they also are amazing gifts.
One of the specialties here is the hing goli that is made using asafoetida along with an array of other spices like black salt, dried ginger, black pepper, etc. This in particular is beneficial for those who tend to suffer from digestive ailments and gastric issues. Taken post meals, this one really helps in increasing digestive functions. Another speciality of the area is a powder made using neem extracts or dried neem. This one is known to combat different kinds of stomach infections and helps to get rid of worms in the stomach too. It also aids digestion, purifies blood and is particularly beneficial for those suffering from diabetic issues.
This is a recipe that is easily made at home and you will find it in most homes of Rajasthan. You can try doing the recipe at home too.
Ingredients needed for the churan
- 2 tbsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tbsp dill seeds (suva dana)
- 1 tbsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
- 1 tsp rock salt
- 1 tsp black salt (sanchal)
- 2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
For making this churan you have to take a non stick pan. To this, add all the dry ingredients like the cumin seeds, carom seeds, etc. Then let it toast on the pan for about 2-3 minutes. Once this is done, you should remove the ingredients from flame. Add the salt, rock salt, etc. now. Else, you will make the churan bitter. Cool the mixture and let the same be blended in a mixer. Store it in an airtight jar. You can take about 1 small spoon of this mixture around 1-2 times a day for improving digestion.
Ginger and Indian Gooseberry Churan
Another classic recipe that you can try at home is using ginger and amla or Indian gooseberries for making a churan. For this you will need about 1kg of Indian gooseberries, which should be fresh and green. You will also need about 1/2 kg of normal ginger that should not be too dry. 300 grams of whole sugar is needed along with about 100 grams of powdered sugar too.
For making this recipe, you need to wash both the ginger and the Indian gooseberry really well. Then you should crush them or grind them separately. Add the 300 grams of sugar to this grinder amla mixture. Now add the ginger to it too. You have to spread the mixture in a plate and then keep it under the sun to dry it. This should be done for at least 10-15 days so that all of the moisture from the same is absorbed. However, keep mixing and shaking the mixture well or it will not dry completely. Also, cover with a thinly lined basket to ensure that the mixture doesn’t get eaten by birds or gets dusty. Once done, sprinkle the dried sugar on top and mix well again. Let it stay in the sun again for 2-3 days. Then store it in a jar and eat as needed to get rid of constipation.