Rajasthani cooking was inclined to the war-like lifestyle of the medieval Rajasthan and the availability of ingredients of the region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred, more out of necessity than choice. Scarcity of water, fresh green vegetables have had their effect on cooking.
The royal kitchens of Rajasthan, the preparation of food was a very complex matter and was raised to the levels of an art form. Thus the ‘Khansamas’ (the royal cooks) worked in the stately palaces and kept their most enigmatic recipes to themselves.
Rajasthan is land where only handful of varieties of grains comprising of wheat, maize, millets, corn, a few pulses, beans and lentils grow, it is amazing to see such an exotic cuisine that has originated in the state of Rajasthan. Besides the above-mentioned ingredients, the other things used by the desert people mostly consist of dairy products, the spices and herbs, the hunted animals and dry fruits.
Diversity In The Type of Diet
Different communities of Rajasthan have their own distinctive style of diets that is in general high-protein and low-fat diet except for the Marwari cuisine, which is highly rich in its contents. Rajput community is a warrior class and loves hunting. They are not averse to enjoying the meat of their game though it is not cooked in their daily kitchen. The game is cooked outside the home and is headed by males who serve as the chefs for the non-vegetarian cooking. Most of the other communities are strictly vegetarians including Vaishnavs, the followers of Lord Krishna, Bishnois, who are for their love of conservation of both plant and animal life, Marwaris, who are known for having rich diet and most notably Jains, who are very strict with their diet rituals. Jains do not eat after sunsets and do not use garlic and onions in their food, which is otherwise very popular amon the other communities of Rajasthan.
Fishes and chicken are not very popular in Rajasthan. Colonel James Tod noted in his treatise, Annals and Antiquities of Rajputana, that “the Rajput…hunts and eats the boar and deer, and shoots ducks and wild fowl”. However, it is not uncommon to see that all the warrior-class learns to eat whatever is available as it is a necessity in the game of survival. Today, the government of India has banned such hunting as these wild animals are now in the list of endangered species. Kachri, a vegetable belonging to the cucumber family, is used to marinate the meat and imparts it with a distinctive tangy flavor. The meat is first basted in the spices and then roasted in a pot over a wood fire until it turns into gravy. It is commonly consumed with bajra rotis (type of bread of millets).