Rajasthan will always be special to me because this is the state we believe my great grandfather came from when he emigrated from India to Suriname where my grandfather and many of my mother’s 25 siblings were born. One day, I would love to visit and research my family and meet some Indian relatives that I am sure I still have there. Until then, the only way I have of connecting to my Rajasthani roots are by experimenting with the cuisine.
Rajasthan, located in Northwest India, bordered by Pakistan and other Indian states, is India’s largest state with a rich history. Many of India’s ancient princely states are located here, which gives Rajasthan its name “Land of the Kings”.There are many ancient palaces located within this state.
Jaipur, its capital, is known as the pink city because many of the buildings are made from pink and red sandstone, including the Hawa Mahal Palace. Known as the Palace of Winds, it is part of the City Palace. It has a unique beehive design on the windows so that the royal women were able to see outside the palace, without being seen.
Hindu is the majority religion, with small minorities representing Muslim, Sikh, Jain and Christians. Most Rajasthianis speak Rajasthani, Punjabi, Hindi and/or Marwari. Rajasthan is known for its folk dance, music and vibrant colors. Unlike the sari’s and salwars worn throughout India, a long skirt and blouse combination known as a lahenga chori is most often work in Rajasthan and a large shawl used to cover their head for both modesty as well as protecting them from the harsh desert sun. In fact, I even wore one once to an Indian wedding. So what better example to show you than me. Should I have been a model instead ? ; )
There is so much more I can talk about the culture of Rajasthan, but none of you would have the patience to read it when you are really dying to get to the delicious recipe, so let’s move on to the food…
It is home to the expansive Thar Dessert. Farming is a major occupation in Rajasthan and many grains are utilized like corn, millet, sorghum and buckwheat. One of the specialties of Rajashtan is the famous Dal Baati Churma, which is an explosion of flavors to the taste buds. Let’s explore more into their delectable delicacies.
Ever since I went on a search for mangodi aka wadi (sun dried lentils) and after much searching, I found them, I use every opportunity I can find to utilize them. They are used most often in Punjab & Rajasthan. I made this the same week I was doing all Rajasthani food as part of a BM theme in December. This rounded out my Rajasthani meal along with Khoya Matar & Khoba Roti. Other Rajasthani delicacies I’ve tried that you can also add to this meal is Jaisalmer Chana & for dessert, Bajra Ki Kheer.
|Rajasthani Meal – Khoba Roti, Palak Mangodi, Khoya Matar|
When I made it back then, I used Moong Dal Wadi. However, upon further research, I learned that Amritsari aka Punjabi Wadi is more popular in Punjab and Rajasthan.
|Moong Dal Wadi used the first time|
These are heavily spiced and are much more flavorful than the plain channa dal or moong dal wadi. Once I was able to locate these, I knew the recipe had to be done again with this more flavorful option.
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1 cup Armritasi/Punjabi wadi (sun dried lentils)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon red chile powder (cayenne pepper)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- salt, to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add wadi and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
Drain and set the mangodi aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add spinach and boil for 1/2 minute, until the leaves wilt. Drain and transfer to food processor.
In a food processor, puree the spinach with the tomato. Add 1 cup water and puree until smooth.
In a large skillet or wok, heat remaining oil. Add cumin seed until they splutter and start to turn golden. Add ginger garlic paste and onion. Cook for a few minutes, until lightly browned.
Add spinach puree, garam masala, chile powder, turmeric and salt. Boil on high for 5 minutes
Add boiled mangodi/wadi and cook for 1 more minute.
Serve with roti or paratha.
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