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A cuisine fit for the kings

Published : Feb 4, 2018, 6:31 am IST
Updated : Feb 4, 2018, 6:43 am IST

Udaipuri food has a unique blend of local, royal and Jain influences, as well as hints of the Gujarati palate

Lehsun ki chutney
 Lehsun ki chutney

Udaipuri cuisine is known for its rich history, seeped in royalty. And while Rajasthani cuisine is popular for its Rajputana dishes like the laal maas and khad khargosh, Udaipuri cuisine is inspired by seasonal produce, thanks to local communities like the Jains. Delicacies like papad ki sabji, lehsun ki chutney, mirchi bada and ghewar are quite well known. Since Udaipur is close to Gujarat, we also see a lot of Gujarati influence in the cuisine. At the same time, there are instances of Muslim influences, which has led to a new breed of Rajputana-Mughlai cuisine in the region.

The royals would love game hunting and till date, lamb is bred and eaten with a lot of enthusiasm. The khad khargosh or the khad gosht uses game rabbit or lamb, cooked in a pit. Lamb is highly revered in the non-veg eating communities. The Sailana Gharana uses lamb to make maas ka halwa, a dish peculiar to Udaipuri cuisine. Other more common cooking methods like frying, sautéing are also used.

Some other famous food items found here include pyaaz ki kachori, jungli maas, gattey ki subzi and a very famous rice preparation called kabuli, a cross between pulao and biryani.

Red chilli powder is used heavily in cooking a lot of non-vegetarian products. Amchoor is also added and gives a sharp tartness to the mirchi bada or pyaaz ki kachori. A lot of asafoetida is used as many communities living in and around Udaipur are strict Jain followers and don’t eat root vegetables.

A common myth is that Udaipuri cuisine is oily and spicy. People from Udaipur can stand the testimony of their food being not spicy, though their love of ghee is inevitable and they love to top off their lentils or rotis with a teaspoon of it.

Regional fare, in general, is highly unexplored in our country. But 2018 ushers a lot of hope with local cuisine being promoted and we hope the popularity of regional cuisines only grow from here.

Lehsun ki chutney
80 ml oil
250 gm garlic paste  
5 gm coriander powder
5 gm cumin powder
5 gm turmeric powder

In a non-stick pan, heat oil and sauté the garlic paste on low heat until there’s a slight froth formation.
Add all the powdered masalas and continue cooking until the mixture is soft.
The chutney is ready to be served with food.   
— Chef Roshan Seth

Papad ka Saag
4 plain papads
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
2 whole red chilli dried
2 cups of plain yoghurt
2 teaspoons finely shredded ginger
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander


Wash and soak fenugreek seeds for about five minutes, and change the water three-four times. This will reduce the bitterness from the seeds. Drain the water and set aside.
Break the papad into small pieces. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat the yoghurt until it is smooth. Add ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder and fenugreek seeds and mix it well.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. The oil should be moderately hot. Add cumin seeds. As seeds crackle, add asafoetida and whole red chillies; lower the heat.
Add yoghurt, mix and cook over low heat. Stir continuously. Let it boil for two-three minutes. Add about a cup of water and cook for four minutes after gravy comes to boil.
Add salt and papad, mix it and let it cook for three to four minutes. Turn off the heat, add coriander.
— Chef Alok, executive chef Goldfinch Hotel

Panchmel Dal

¼ cup of each dal equally:
toor dal, yellow moong dal, red masoor dal, chana dal and split green moong
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 large onion, chopped small
1 small piece of ginger, chopped or grated
2 tomatoes, chopped
3-4 garlic pods, crushed or minced
½ tsp asafoetida/hing
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ghee and 1 tsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies, chopped finely
1 tbsp kasuri methi
Salt to taste
A handful of coriander leaves to garnish


Soak all the dals together after washing thoroughly, for about 30 minutes. Rinse many times till the water runs clear.
In a pressure cooker, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add hing and fry for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and green chillies and cook for one min. Add turmeric, coriander powder, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Cook covered till tomatoes get mushy and spices get cooked, for around three-four minutes.
Add dals and four cups of water. This amount of water is required as the dal tends to get thick. Pressure cook for two whistles and open when the pressure eases off.
In another pan, heat ghee. Splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they crackle, add garlic and ginger and fry for two minutes on medium flame. Add onions and fry till brown for four to five minutes. Onions should be well cooked and light brown in colour, or the taste will not be absorbed by the curry.
Add red chilli powder and kasuri methi. Give it a nice stir. Pour tempering over cooked dal and combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot
—  Chef Alok, executive chef Goldfinch Hotel

The author is the brand chef of Tamasha and JLWA

Tags: lehsun ki chutney, gujarati palate