Land of Princes, as Rajasthan is called, shows off, many a fine gastronomic both within the palaces and outside. 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. Some recipes were passed on to their descendants and the rest were passed on as skills to the chefs of semi states and the branded hotel companies.
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.
In the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks use a minimum of water and prefer, instead, to use more milk, buttermilk and clarified butter. A distinct feature of the Maheshwari cooking is the use of mango powder, a suitable substitute for tomatoes, scarce in the desert, and asafoetida, to enhance the taste in the absence of garlic and onions.
Generally, Rajasthani curries are a brilliant red but they are not as spicy as they look. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses pure ghee (clarified butter) as the medium of cooking. A favourite sweet dish called lapsi is prepared with broken wheat (dalia) sautéed in ghee and sweetened.
Perhaps the best-known Rajasthani food is the combination of dal, bati and churma(dal is lentils;bati is baked wheat ball; and churma is powdered sweetened cereal), but for the adventurous traveller, willing to experiment, there is a lot of variety available. Besides, each region is distinguished by its popular sweet - Mawa Kachori from Jodhpur, Alwar ka Mawa, Malpuas from Pushkar, Rasogullas from Bikaner, Ghevar from Jaipur to name a few. Contrary to popular belief, people of Rajasthan are not all vegetarians.
The unique creation of the Maharaja of Salwar is the Junglee maas. Junglee maas was a great favourite among the Maharajas and due to the paucity of exotic ingredients in the camp kitchen, the game brought in from the hunt was simply cooked in pure ghee, salt and plenty of red chillies. However, now this dish has been adapted to the less controversial ingredients like kid/lamb, pork or poultry.
The personal recipes of the royal KHANSAMA still rotates around their generations and are the highlights of regal gatherings. Each state of Rajasthan had their own style of the recipes, and are continued in the Rajput households. It was mainly the men folks of the family that prepared the non-veg. Some of the Maharajas apart from being great hunters relished the passion of cooking the SHIKARS themselves for their chosen guests and the trend continues among the generation.