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 Rarely has the world seen so rich a cuisine from so little that was available from the land. Rajasthani cooking was influenced by the war-like lifestyle of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this region. Preservability was the criterion and food that could last for several days was preferred. Scarcity of water, fresh green vegetable have all had their effect on the cooking. Minimum use of water and a preference for milk, buttermilk and clarified butter can still be observed. Dried lentils, beans from indigenous plants like kair, sangri, etc are liberally used. Perhaps the best-known Rajasthani food is the combination of dal, bati and churma but besides this there is still a marked distinction in what people of different castes prefer to eat.

Though the Rajasthani kitchen has to cater to different communities with their own traditional flavors. The Rajput warrior, for example, is not averse to shikar, killing game to put in his pot at night. The Vaishnavs, followers of Krishna, are strict vegetarians. So are Bishnois, a community known for its passion for conserving animal and plant life.

The Marwaris of Shekhawati, of course, are vegetarian too, but their cuisine, though not too different from the Rajputs, is richer in its method of preparation. And there are the Jains, who are not only vegetarians, but do not eat after sunset and their food is devoid of garlic and onions, otherwise, important ingredients in the Rajasthani pot.

Regional Specialties

All the princely states of the past, boast of their own regional specialties. Bikaner has its own savories, especially bhujiya and rasgulla, which has accounted for its fame and the quality of its papads remain unrivalled. Jodhpur has its makhaniya lassi and kachoris, puffed breads with stuffing those with mawa (condensed milk), while others have biting hot green chillies laced with a 'masala' that is also intended to titillate the palate.

In Bharatpur, milk sweets occupy a niche by themselves. Rajasthani delicacy linked with the monsoon festival of Teej is called Ghevar, consisting of round cakes of white flour over which sweetened syrup is poured. There are other notable regional delicacies to be savored like Ladoos from Jaisalmer, Malpua from Pushkar and Kalakand from Jaipur.