For this month’s International food challenge, Manjula of Desi Fiesta, had come up with several traditional Marwadi dishes. Marwad is a region in Rajasthan and she specializes in that region as it is her native. When I said she came up with several dishes I literally mean several dishes. I have made only couple of the many dishes that she had presented to us this month, but I am planning to try out many more in the future. Each and every dish was mouthwatering. If you want to see more of her dishes, hop on to her blog.
So, to tell more about the challenge, every month, a host ventures into a cuisine from around the world and comes up with few recipes. We have to choose at least one recipe from the challenge and present it. As Manjula puts it, Rajasthani Cuisine has a splendid array of unique, rich and colorful recipes. The style of cooking adapted in the region does not just portray the wealth and prosperity, but also reflects the warrior lifestyles and the availability of ingredients in the water deprived region. They specialize in cooking foods that tolerate the severe temperature and stay fresh for over a period of time. Many of the curries and vegetables when cooked the right way can be eaten over days and do not need refrigeration.
Rajasathani cuisine also uses ghee (clarified butter) in many of the dishes. This lends to the flavor and aroma of the cuisine.
Moong Dal Kachori – Deep fried dumplings with lentil filling
Preparation time – 15 mins plus 2 hrs to soak the moong dal
Cooking time – 40 mins
Difficulty level – easy
- Maida/All purpose flour – 2 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Water – as needed to make the dough
- Moong dal / Split green gram dal – ½ cup (soaked for about 2 hrs)
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Asafetida – ¼ tsp
- Chili powder – 1 ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Garam masala – 1 ½ tsp
- Dhania powder – 1 ½ tsp
- Amchur powder/dry mango powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 2 tbsp plus more for deep frying
To make the dough –
- Combine all the ingredients mentioned above (except the water) and mix well. Now add water little by little and make soft dough. Knead the dough well for few minutes and keep it aside covered.
- Soak the moong dal for about 2 hrs and drain it.
- Grind the moong dal coarsely into a paste and keep it aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and the fennel seeds. Let it fry for a minute.
- Then add the ground moong dal and the rest of the dry powders along with salt and mix well. Fry the mixture until all the moisture disappears and the filling appears dry and crumbly.
- Let it cool down to room temperature.
- Heat the oil for deep frying in medium flame.
- Divide the dough into 18 equal portions and flatten out each portion into a circle. I did this by hand and did not use a rolling pin. Now stuff about 1 o 1 ½ tbsp of filling into the dough and cover it entirely by slowly stretching the dough over and seal it well in the edge.
- Flatten this filled dough into a small puri using the heel of your palm. I again do not recommend using a rolling pin for this since it could tear the dough and the filling might spill out.
- Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the dough. It is very important to seal the kachori well, otherwise the filling might burst open when frying.
- Once the oil heats up, slowly drop in 2-3 kachori into it. Make sure that the oil is not very hot. The kachoris should fry in low to medium heat and puff up like puris. Fry them well on both sides until golden brown.
- Drain the kachoris on a paper towel lined dish.
- Serve hot with dates and green chutney or with ketchup! If storing, keep it in an air tight container to retain its crispiness.
Atte Ka Sheera – Wheat flour halwa
Preparation time – 5 mins
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – (makes about 20 small pieces)
- Wheat flour – ½ cup
- Boiling water – 1 – 1 ½ cups ( I used a little more than 1 cup)
- Jaggery – 1/3 cup (powdered)
- Ghee – 3 -4 tbsp
- Nuts – for garnish (optional)
- Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the wheat flour in it until a nice aroma comes and the flour changes to light golden brown color. Keep stirring all along or else the flour could burn.
- Add boiling water slowly until the flour absorbs all the water and forms a doughy texture.
- Now add the crushed jaggery and mix well.
- Cook until the halwa starts to leave the sides of the pan. This takes only about 2-3 mins.
- Serve it warm in a bowl or plate the halwa in a greased plate and let it cool down. Then cut out small squares out of it and serve!