Then we went to Oak Tree Road for lunch. For those who are new to this Road all I can say is that it's all Indian out there. You'll find a plethora of Indian restaurants, sweet shops, Kirana shops (kirana = groceries), clothing stores and all and sundry items' stores. But no no, this is not my trip down mem lane. Be patient.
We went to eat in Desi Galaxy as both me and VC are partial to it. The interior is a bit cramped and the food stalls are lined up railway carriage style. But the food (from all 7 stalls) is very good. We started off with our favorite - the Cut Mirchi. And we recently added another usual to our list - delicious Boiled Egg Kheema ( no meat yay!). Princess wanted Puri-Sabzi from the Gujarati stall. And while waiting for that order, I was unexpectedly shoved down that happy memory lane. A lady walks up and asks for an order of ' Daal-Baati' and is served pronto. I was amazed, simply because I never expected to see that particular item on any menu outside of Rajasthan or a Maarwaadi restaurant. My excitement at hearing those words from somebody else's mouth, after so many years, was paramount. I just had to have it and I did. YUMMY! God bless the lady in that kitchen who made it.
Panchmel Daal with Baati - Traditional Rajasthani food
The 'Daal-Baati ' was really tasty and aunthentic. Though I kept wondering where they had a ' choolha ' (a U-shaped open air clay stove that uses wood fire for cooking). The traditional way to cook 'Baati' is to place the dough balls on the embers left over once the fire has died, and to keep turning them ocassionally to cook evenly on all sides. The outside is nice and charred. The inside is fully cooked albeit a little heavy because it is a lump of dough. To be truthful, it's an acquired taste. But it grows on you after a while and the authentic version is really tasty. And the real reason for that is - the 'Baati' is supposed to be dunked in Ghee ( clarified butter) and the Daal also has a layer of Ghee on it while being served. Can't get much better than that, eh?
But 'Daal and Baati' is not the end of the story. The traditional Rajasthani Thali (literally - a plate, that holds all the items on the menu) will have all of the following items :
Gatte ki Subzi
Lahsun ki Chutney
Rajasthani food is spicy (as in hot!!!) and relies heavily on lentils-pulses and milk products (like buttermilk, butter and of course Ghee). This is attributed to the fact that Rajasthan is India's Desert State and as such, has limited water supply and few green vegetables.
malai-ghevar: a sweet delicacy from Rajasthan
There are other regional specialities as well which are not as well-known as the above, but very popular locally. Malai Ghevar, Rabdi, Mawa Kachori, Malpuas are just some in that list. But that is not all. What the home cooks prepare for daily meals are probably the best kept secrets. And growing up in Rajasthan, I had the fortune of tasting such local preparations in my friends' homes. The two that clearly stand out in my memory - Papad ki Sabzi and Amrood ki Sabzi. Maybe one day, I'll try making them and then post the recipes, but not today. I have other recipes waiting in the drafts that want to be posted :-) Hope you liked this glimpse of food from Rajasthan and maybe I've piqued your interest to go out and try this lesser known but delicious cuisine. Whether you make it or get it, Rajasthani food will make you very Happy, I assure you.
pictures courtesy of google images(love2eathate2cook blog etc.). No copyright infringement intended.