My Gastronomical affair with Jaipur

22.10.2017:

It was noon by the time I completed my visit to the City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal. Am hungry! Jaipur is not only famous for its palaces, architecture and bazaars, but also for its rich cuisine and hospitality! The streets are filled with roadside ‘tapris’ selling hot chai and doodh-jalebi and the restaurants selling their famous kachoris and ghewar. The other day when I asked my auto-wallah to suggest me a good place to have my lunch, he asked me to go to ‘LMB’. Frankly, I don’t know what this LMB stands for! :-p

When searched over the internet, the search will throw a list of famous restaurants of Jaipur likeΒ  Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar (LMB), CM Karodia Namkeen and Gopi Kwality Sweets at Raja Park, and bars and cafes like Anokhi CafΓ©, Polo Bar at the Rambagh Palace hotel and Chaandi at the Hilton Jaipur. This is from where I recognized that LMB stands for Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar :). Soon after coming out from the Hawa Mahal, I saw a street hawker selling hot pakoras on his cart and I bought some pakoras. They were served hot with a spicy green chilly and mint chutney. I strolled through the market lanes surrounding Hawa Mahal eating those hot pakoras! πŸ™‚

The streets around Hawa Mahal are also good for shopping. And to my relief, LMB is also near to this Johari Bazaar. I took a tuk-tuk to get dropped at this famous eatery and the tuk-tuk wallah charged me Rs. 10/- from Hawa Mahal. The entrance leads us into the sweet section of this franchise and a further doorway leads us into the restaurant. The restaurant was dimly lit with moderate furniture and the staff are in their traditional headgear! They gave me a warm welcome and placed a high priced Menu Card. The restaurant is a vegetarian one and they serve the typical Rajasthani food along with continental dishes too!

Ofcourse I know that no trip to this beautiful city would be complete without having an elaborate Rajasthani meal and LMB offers one such incredibly authentic meal. Also equally famous is the Marwari thali, which includes bajre ki roti, dal bhati churma (which is composed of a lentil curry, mopped up with a bhati – a roundel of stuffed flour that’s baked in a charcoal fire or oven), pyaz kachori and other local varieties. But the quantity would be too much for me. So I chose a simple menu – Bajre ki roti with paneer makhani.

There are few other restaurants like the Chokhi Dhani, a village a little outside the main city, which offers an ambience akin to a typical Rajasthani village and fair, complete with thatched roof huts, bangle and jewellery sellers, camel rides, elephant rides. Customers are served traditional Rajasthani recipes prepared in pure ghee in a manner similar to the locals and make the guests feel the true heritage hospitality. Though the people at my hotel suggested me this option, I dropped this from my list as I was running short of time! 😦

Having had my lunch, I returned to the sweet shop πŸ™‚ The first dessert which I picked up was the Rasamalai – it’s yummy! The others to follow are the raj kachori and mawa kachori. Finally before leaving the place, I got some Rasa Malai packed πŸ™‚ I have left out a lot more stuff which I would be trying the next time I visit Jaipur! πŸ™‚ My bus is waiting to drop me in Delhi!!

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The staple snack of India – Pakoras

What if it starts raining on an evening? What if I didn’t prepare the dosa batter on a holiday? What if there is no upma rava in my kitchen on a holiday? What if some guests turn up at my place on an evening when I don’t have much to serve them? Simple.. I will rush into my kitchen and return with a plate of piping hot aloo pakoras or onion bhajiyas πŸ™‚ , the savory fritters that are a very popular component of the Indian chaat.

Rich in calories, pakora is a deep fried snack available all across the country. Vegetables like onions, potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, raw plantain and green chillies are dipped in spicy besan (gram flour) batter and then are deep-fried. Pakoras are all-time favorite snacking option for Indians and perfect for a rainy day. These crispy treats are delicious when teamed up with a cup of hotΒ coffee or tea.

Majority of Indian population relishes vegetarian pakoras and bhajiyas like palak pakora, bhajiyas like palak pakora, pyaz bhajji, bread pakora, paneer pakora etc. But the trend to savor non-vegetarian options like chicken pakora, fish pakora is also on rise.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 – 20 minutes

Serves: 2

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Ingredients: Any one of the vegetables – Potato, Raw Plantain, Paneer, Capsicum; 1 cup Gram flour (besan); 2/3 cup of water; 1 tsp Asafetida, 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder; 1/2 tsp Red Chilly powder; 1/4 tsp Garam Masala; A pinch of Baking Soda or you can use Soda too; Salt to Taste and Oil to deep fry.

Preparation:

In a mixing bowl, take the gram flour, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt, asafetida and garam masala. Add 2/3 cup of water and mix it into a smooth batter without any lumps. Peel off the potatoes or plantain and slice those thinly. Dip the slices in the batter evenly and gently place in the medium hot oil for frying in the pan. Turn over when one side is cooked partly; flip them and fry the pakoras till those are golden in color and crisp. Take them in a bowl covered with paper kitchen towel to remove the oil. Serve them hot with some mint chutney or tomato sauce.

End of an awesome trip..

14.11.2016:

11.00 hrs – We were back from Shani Shingnapur to Shirdi. We headed straight to our resort – Sri Sai Athidi Resort, which is good and comfortable and worth the money we paid. We opted for a brunch, but as it was already 11.45 hrs by the time we reached the adjacent restaurant, when they told us that the lunch was ready, we ordered for two North Indian thali (plate). Food was served hot, and the thali consisted of a roti, some hot rice, paneer butter masala, Chole masala, dal and dahi (curd). The food wasn’t that great.. panneer way too far sweet, roti is made of maida, rather atta.. But, we should eat something or other to gain some energy, isn’t it? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

12.30 hrs – Back in our room which was too cool though the fans were off, we slid ourselves under the warm blankets and slept off. Our train from Shirdi to Hyderabad is at 16.30 hrs from Shirdi station, and remember that I told that this trip would always be a miracle for me? It’s because we booked these tickets under the Tatkaal scheme the other day, where the chances of the ticket getting booked will be like 30% and that too from a place like Shirdi!

15.30 hrs – We checked-out from our resort and headed to the railway station. 15.45 hrs – Into the waiting hall. 16.15 hrs – We were into the train, the berths being Side Upper and Side Lower. 16.30 hrs – The train started. We too started chatting with each other, mostly of our demonetization experiences and how we used our brains in the most tricky situations πŸ˜‰ , about our friends and school times, watched the sunset together and also the supermoon πŸ™‚ . Though we couldn’t make much difference, we kept on watching it as the moon was at it’s best πŸ™‚

19.00 hrs – Our train reached the Manmad junction. We got down and picked up some food from a tapri (make-shift place), who is selling hot mirchi Bhajji, masala dosa and idli. Idli for mythri, a masala dosa for me. I suggest everyone to try food here, as it was fresh, good and tasty. 20.00 hrs – I occupied the upper berth and bid a good night to Mythri.

15.11.2016:

07.30 hrs – I woke up and got down, while Mythri was still sleeping. 09.00 hrs – Train reached Secunderabad Junction and I gave away the rest of the money which was there in my wallet to Mythri so that she can get a cab to her apartment, while my brother Srinu was there at the station to pick me up. First to our uncle’s home and then to Trivandrum..

The End of a short and sweet journey.. πŸ™‚

Stay tuned for my upcoming adventure trip.. πŸ˜‰