When one talks about food, a lot of options come to one’s mind. Someone may go for North-Indian food while some for South Indian while others may choose international cuisine. But when we talk about traditional Indian vegetarian food, then one has limited options. Or, one can also say, many of the Indian food are still not recognized as they should have been. One such food is Marwari cuisine that mainly caters to vegetarians. Recently, Crowne Plaza, in Rohini, organised a Marwadi food festival, inviting all the vegetarian lovers to delight their taste buds.
The Marwad region falls in southwestern Rajasthan, partially sharing its region with the Thar Desert. The whole region is dry and known for its harsh climate and scarcity of water ~ no sign of vegetation at all and only vast barren lands. This harsh condition played a vital role on the people’s eating habits and almost moulded their cooking as well as eating style.
It may sound a little bizarre that most of their delectable dishes are cooked in such a way that it can be retained for a few days and consumed without heating. Other than this, their food habits are similar to the rest of the country, starting from snacks to main course and sweet dishes. Another difference is they start their food on a sweet note with desserts.
We had the same experience when we entered the Mosaic restaurant to sample their food. There were plenty of options, including Ghevar ~ disc-shaped sweet cake made with all-purpose flour and soaked in sugar syrup, Mohanthal ~ Mohanthal is a traditional sweet with the rich flavour and melt-in-the-mouth texture of besan, or gram flour, roasted in ghee. Another sweet, Imarti is made by deep-frying urad flour batter into a circular flower shape and soaked in sugar syrup. Then there was Alwar ka Halwa.
In the snacks, usually they start with the Puri Sabji like Mawa Kachori, Bedmi Puri with Aloo Sabzi or the most popular Daal Baati Churma. Another feature of their food is that each portion of these snacks is equivalent to a complete meal.
Chef Ashish Tiwari, executive chef Crowne Plaza Rohini informed why they serve such big portions in their meals, be it dessert, snacks or main course. It’s due to the region and profession they belong to. People in this region are more into physical work and this is the reason they keep their meals heavy.
Another feature of their meal is that it is rich with nutrients, be it Dal Bhatti Churma that is filled with lots of ghee and made of dal. Similarly, in their meal one could find extensive use of beans, dried lentils and legumes like gram flour, bajra and jowar. Not to forget, they use ghee liberally, in other words, dairy products like milk, butter and butter milk without any hesitation.
At the restaurant, they served Bajra Khichri, Gatte Ki Sabzi, Sitaphal Ki Subz and many others for their guests. Among them Khichri was most popular and tasted really good. Gatte ki Sabzi was also good. Overall, it was a wonderful experience tasting the meal from the desert. The festival not only gave one a tasteful experience but also insight into the rich Rajasthani food culture.