We have been friends with the Nevatias for long – they are more like our family now – a Marwari extension of a Bengali family. My blog is inspired by people, places and memories. It actually started off with recipes created by friends or at our own humble kitchen. Lately, I have been writing a lot more on places and people that I have come across along my blogging journey. So, when our incredible dinner at the Nevatia household last night left such an impression on the Z-Sisters, I had to capture the moment immediately (another blogpost with smartphone pictures, like the earlier one on House of Curry. Hope I don’t get lazy and stop carrying my SLR completely!). It was an elaborate Marwari home cooked dinner, complete with the Rajasthani speciality – the Daal Baati Churma, transporting me to a different dining experience that no award winning fine dining or the most popular street food can replicate – the warmth of ghar ka khana or a home cooked meal. But first, a sip into the Indian styled nimboo pani spiced up with with slit chili (below).
An earlier post carries the legacy of my friend’s cooking through some of her recipes – the Gulab Jamun Rabri and the Anjeer Ki Chutney or Fig Chutney. The same dining table is featured in this post, making this the most *featured* dining table in my blog. However, this time, these are night shots taken scandalously by me as I stand up on the wooden bench that acts as the dining seat. My other friends disown me completely as I loom from above directing them to move or to serve or to eat or to stop eating. In my defense, I would say that, every day is not a Daal – Baati – Churma day. In fact, for my Bong soul who craves mostly for non-vegetarian food, obsessing over vegetarian food like the way I do at the Nevatias, is really an exception. It is here that I close my eyes and munch on vegetarian food with a satisfied smile, as each dish is always cooked with so much love and affection and dare I add – a lot of Desi Ghee (Indian clarified butter)!
Daal Baati Churma: Rajasthani food is incomplete without this famed trio. As my friend tells me, the entire process of making this dish is very cumbersome, but is an integral part of a festive or a wedding menu. Baatis are round balls of breads made of wheat flour, which are baked traditionally over firewood or a clay oven. My friend had put a potato filling in these Baatis, although that may have been her own addition to the recipe, for enticing us – the potato loving Bongs. Before serving, the Baatis are dipped into piping hot Ghee (yes, I can smell heaven alibi a cholesterol ridden heaven – but never mind!). A Panchmel or Panch Kutti Daal – a Daal prepared by simmering 5 different types of lentils in Ghee and spices. My friend served two variations of the Panchmel Daal – a spicy (the red Daal above) and a non-spicy (the yellow Daal above). What is Churma? The preparation of Churma is no less than building a space craft. Unsalted dough of wheat bread is shaped into small rounds – more like unsalted Baatis – and deep fried in Ghee. These deep fried Baatis are then crushed and mixed with cane sugar or jaggery (my friend uses a blender) to form a rough brown sweet powder. How do you eat Daal – Baati – Churma? This would be the second course of Rocket Science. The Baati is crushed into a bowl of Daal and is eaten along with the sweet Churma. Imagine the intriguing taste of the salty Daal and the sweet Churma along with the Ghee-dipped Baatis. Heavens, someone just screamed that Bengalis have sweet teeth. In our defense, I would say that at least, we eat sweets at the end of our meals, like the majority of the world’s population, and not during a meal. In case you want to know more on Bengali cuisine, here’s my encyclopaedic post on it. According to the Nevatias, in Dubai, the few restaurants that serve authentic Rajasthani fare are Manvaar in Karama and Rajdhani in Rolla Road, Bur Dubai (I believe it has changed its name recently). If you don’t have the fortune of having a Marwari friend who can cook all of these traditional fare with great elan – I do pity you. The only option for you would be to make Daal Baati Churma at home. Here’s the recipe from the legendary Tarla Dalal, the queen of Indian vegetarian food, who very recently passed away.
Our traditional Marwari meal didn’t stop at the Daal Baati Churma. The table was laid with different dishes – Baigan ka Bharta, Gatti ki Sabzi, to name a few. Only regret, the Gulab Jamun Rabri (below pic) was missing that evening. Indian cuisine can be overwhelming, with different states having different kinds of food and regional variations of the same dish. But definitely, Rajasthan is a different kind of sensory stimulation – it’s colours, sights and sounds are very different from the state of Bengal – from where I come from. While on Rajasthan, do read my other post which has a different angle – how a Dubai based organic food store and an award -winning restaurant, went all the way to Rajasthan to attend the farmers’ festival there and meet the farmers from whom they source their ingredients. Also, my blogger friend, My Custard Pie, went to Rajasthan recently (her first trip to India) and was so stimulated that she wrote 3 posts for the 3 days she stayed there… Jaipur – sights and sounds, Jaipur – shopping, Jaipur – eating, staying and getting about. I don’t blame her!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. Do catch my on my daily travel and food journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.