It’s a meal fit for a king. A rich assortment of recipes in one thali. The Rajasthani food festival on at Beaumonde The Fern is a great way to learn a thing or two about authentic Rajasthani cuisine. It is a grand assembly of flavours and you might have to go slow if you want to savour every bit of what is served.
Right from the welcome drink to the sweets, the menu has stuck to the traditional recipes. Start the meal with ‘aam ka panna’, a slightly tangy drink made of green mango or the ‘kesariya thandai’, a cool milkshake. Starters range from ‘maas ke sule’, a traditional meat preparation in slow charcoal fire to ‘amujbhush’, a delectable combination of chickpeas and dry fruits.
The ‘lal maas’, which is mutton cooked in a gravy of red chillies with onions, tomato and Rajasthani spices, is a must-try. The spicy dish makes your eyes water, but the flavours would certainly egg you on to have more. For a more sedate accompaniment for ‘ahuska’ (steamed rice flavoured with ghee) or the Jodhpuri pulao (traditional Basmati rice preparation with vegetable and dry fruits), try the ‘murg ka mokul’ a creamy dish cooked in a mixture of almond and curd gravy.
Rotis are available, too, such as the ‘missi roti’ made of gram and wheat flour and the ‘makke ki roti’ made of corn flour.
Rajasthani cuisine is a delight for vegetarians, as it includes several different preparations with lentils. The ‘paneer rajwada’, says Chef Vinay Nigam, is taken straight from the Maharaja’s kitchen. Cooked in tomato gravy and topped with a generous sprinkling of cashew nuts, the curry is a sure-shot hit. The ‘makai ka saweta’ made of American corn in onion gravy, is another speciality, which the chef urges you to try.
The main attractions on the menu, however, are ‘bati bharwa’, dumplings made with white flour, Bengal gram and rava, stuffed with paneer and nuts and fried in oil and the ‘plain bati’, which is cooked in dry heat (charcoal). You haven’t tasted it all, unless you have tried the ‘ghee bhati’, which is cooked in dry heat (charcoal) and lavished with ghee. The best thing about ordering the batis is that they come with special Rajashtani dal and dry potato preparation.
Every state has its peculiar cuisine because the availability of resources differs greatly, says Nigam. Rajasthan, for instance, has very little fresh green vegetables hence; most of the dishes are made of ingredients that can last for many days. The Ladies’ Finger, however, appears as the ‘bhindi jaipuri/kurkure’—a delicious dish made of marinated Ladies’ Finger with ginger garlic paste and deep fried.
Now for some gulab jamun! Wait. This one’s not the usual gulab jamun you are used to. Here, you have them dunked in a thick white gravy. “This dish is a popular kofta in Rajasthan and it is made with flour, dried fruits and khoya,” says Nigam. It is semi-sweet and the gravy is made of cashew.
The ‘churma laddoo’ is the authentic sweet dish, which is a must-have. If that is not all, try the ‘moong dal ka halwa’, a yummy preparation with moong dal and ghee.
The festival is on for lunch and dinner at Cilantro and is on till March 24.