My thirst for trying something new took me to Kempinski Ambience Hotel in New Delhi this week to taste the most exclusive and special Rajasthani (Marwari) food. It was a delight to meet Chef Rohit Tokhi who is basically from Lucknow and has 19 years of experience in the food industry. Along with him I had the pleasure of meeting Pushpita Singh, the jewellery designer from the royal family of Kharwa, Rajasthan who is an exceptional chef and has written her own books on cooking.
As I sat on the table with the bloggers, Chef Ashwini from Jodhpur who has been working there since 5 years styled the food with Jodhpuri taste and we got to taste the food which is the least discovered in India although the spices of Rajasthan, the Gawarphali is very popular.
We started with Raab which was a drink made of cornmeal & buttermilk. I tasted it for the first time and I got to know from the chef that it beats the heat in summers and cools the system; the second drink- aam panna is a perennial favourite. The Sangri kebab was like a smoked tikki with poppy seeds, a light and healthy plus hearty start for the day I must say.
For the starters we started with Mirchi Vada. As I took the first bite, the potatoes with green chilli stuffing tingled my taste buds tasting great and yes the Pyaaz Ki Kachori was again full of Rajasthani flavours and spices. They were full of flavor and carried the taste of Rajasthan in every bite.
I had Mokul which was crispy thin layers of rabbit meat very delicately spiced and very soft. I tasted rabbit meat for the first time and that too so deliciously prepared. The Maans Ro Boothan, which was mutton in garlic, yoghurt and figs, was again delicious and had brilliant flavours.
Then came the Choorma- land I absolutely gobbled it. I had the Gulab Ka Choorma (their own creation),the Besan Ka Choorma and the Regular Choorma. I fell in love with the aroma of gulab and the taste of Gulab Choorma which was simply out of the world and I still relish it.
For the main course we started with Pittod Ro Saag which is a speciality of Jodhpur. I could feel the spice and flavor of Rajasthan in every bite. The Raboori Hara Kanda which was made out of dried Rajasthani papad along with asafetida and lots of spices.
The Panchkutta which was desert beans and also a very famous dish- made of Sangria, Ker, Kumutiya simmered with amchoor and the taste of whole red chillies was divine.
We were served Kabooli, the very aromatic and authentic rice of Rajasthan with lots of vegetables, nuts and fried bread croutons which was very tasty. For the breads- there was Mirchi ka parantha, Moong dal ka parantha & Bajre ki Roti. All of them tasted wonderful.
My personal favorite was the Dal Bati Choorma, the round balls of wheat which had all the hot yummy filling. We broke them in the yellow dal(the chef taught us how to) and we had the deliciously hot Rajasthani flavour which became an instant favourite and everybody enjoyed eating it along with the talented author Pushpita Singh.
The Sohito, which was chicken along with millets, chilli and ginger and it, was the special mathani chilli of Jodhpur that was spicy enough to blow my top off. After that what really pleased me was the cold Bunta bottle. It instantly reminded me of my childhood.
For the sweets there was the Rajasthani Malai gewar, their in house preparation & the Gahoon Ri Lapsi with the broken wheat, ghee, sugar and nuts was good to have as it broke my myth that Rajasthani food can’t have variety and taste. I also had Mawa Ki Kachori in the end which was stuffed kachori dipped in saffron flavoured sugar syrup. It was excellent!
I got the real taste of the royal cuisine of Marwar with all the strong flavours of the delicacies. I will always remember this food journey and yes the knowledge of the rich Rajasthani culture and the food habits. In the end Pushpita gave out some quick recipes from her cookbook which were simple with just a few ingredients like curd, onions and some spices as curd is the base used in most Rajasthani recipies to make a delicious healthy meal. So this opens a whole new door for this kind of regional Rajasthani cuisine as it is still experimental and I’m proud to say that I am now a Rajasthan cuisine lover.