A Foodgasmic Journey in Rajasthan

My Experience Of A Big Fat Indian Wedding

I recently visited Rajasthan to attend a close friend’s marriage. There, the breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner had an exorbitant menu. Every meal had a minimum of two sweets and savouries. The bride’s side was feeding the groom’s friends and families literally every hour. Some people brand this process as ‘superfluous’, some say it is ‘pivotal’, but it is a part of the Rajasthani tradition to treat the guests, and each family with abundant love and affection and make it conspicuous so people take notice of the same and appreciate. Some times, there are criticism despite all efforts made to have a happy environment but that is what marriages are all about.
A COOK FRYING POORIS AND PAPPADS

 

Indian Kitchen

 

Indian Kitchen
A cook preparing a dish

 

Indian Kitchen

 

MILK SWEETS

 

MILK SWEETS
Milk Sweets

 

KAJU BURFI
Kajju Kattli – My all time favourite sweet

What surprised me?? People eat everything and very often (every hour). There is no restriction when it comes to eating food. The amount of money that is spent during the entire wedding celebrations is phenomenal. Motto – Not a single guest must be disappointed. Being the Groom’s friend, I could demand anything to be prepared else can create issues for the Bride’s family. So, someone from the Bride’s side always remains by our side to constantly check if we need something or the other.

GULAB JAMUNS
Gulab Jamuns

 

BOMBAY MIX - Indian Snacks
Bombay Mixture

 

Romali Rotis Indian Bread
Romali Rotis

Cuisine in Rajasthan is as rich, colourful and diverse as its people and traditions. You will have your taste buds tickled with a flavourful spread of gastronomic delights. Rajasthan is known for its spicy curries and ingredients including lentils, pulses, legumes, milk products and even milk produce delicious dishes.

Indian Fruits
Indian Fruits

During the times of war, Rajput warriors were away from home for a copious amount of time and during this period only nutritious food that could last for several days were carried. And today’s diverse Rajasthani cuisine revolves around the same concept. The favoured spices are fenugreek seeds, kasoori methi, and aniseed. Gram flour is an integral cooking ingredient and is used to make delicacies and so are powdered lentils. In Rajasthan, millet bread and hot garlic paste combined with spring onions is the staple food of the locals as these are believed to safeguard them against the hot winds. Food is traditionally served in katoris or thalis.

Indian Sweets
Indian Milk Sweets

 

Best Indian Chaat
Papdi Chaat

 

 

Lack of adequate water and fresh green vegetables is the main reason behind the typical storage system of Rajasthani food. Though Rajasthani cuisine are simple but these cuisines need much spices as well as oil to cook.

Firstly, the menu is given prime importance when it comes to a wedding. Then comes the taste of your food, presentation of the food and finally the service. Catering compiles of everything. You just cannot have good and tasty food. It has to look very good and appetizing.  People today have become extremely picky and choosy about ingredients and taste. Since tastes and preferences change with every customers, caterers customise menus for each wedding. Quality control and food standards are taken care very carefully. Caterers taste everything that is cooked before serving. Sometimes, the family members are called while the food is being cooked to ensure every one is happy.

Despite the changing tastes and preferences of people today, caterers are predominantly asked to cook authentic and traditional Rajasthani food. Most caterers go to the market themselves and procure organise and fresh produce to ensure the quality of food remains topnotch. Some catering owners work really hard for each wedding and hardly sleep for four hours. Each wedding could last up to 5 days depending on the number of traditions. People spend colossal amount of money on weddings and food being one of the most vital things. Rajasthan is known as the “Venice of the East” and has become a favourite destination for foreigners. Wedding planners are also paid a fat fee for organising the weddings that include services like hospitality, entertainment, bridal wear, catering and booking venues et cetera. At weddings, when a guest arrives, he/she is served food in a proper manner. Self service concept is considered rude and thus it does not form part of the etiquettes of Rajasthanis.

I’d like to share another story. A month before my friend’s wedding, I was in London. My friend contacted me from India and asked how I would be travelling to his wedding. I requested him to arrange the travel and accommodation for me and was fine to travel even by train. So, he booked a train ticket for me and I had to travel with his friends and family to Rajasthan two days on arrival to India. On the health front, it was possibly the worst idea. It was a two day journey from Chennai to Rajasthan and nearly 30 of us travelled together. My friend’s mother took charge of the food segment and had carried lots of things to eat for the 2 day journey. It was my first experience travelling so long and far by train. After an hour into the train’s departure from Central Railway Station in Chennai, my friend’s mother opened a package that had Haldirams Aloo Bhujia. And every hour after that, she opened a package or two and kept eating and serving others too. Despite having high blood pressure and cholesterol, she continued eating all that she brought for the train journey. Kaju Kattli, Bhujia Sev, Pappads, Roti and Pickle, Biscuits, Juices, Bombay Mixture and the list went on and on and on. At one point of time, I started refusing to whatever she offered to eat because I was getting a bit pukish. Most of the times she served had either lot of ghee or oil. Both if consumed in large quantities is quite dangerous to health. Anyways, it was a lifetime experience for me but I doubt I would ever take a 2 day train journey in my life.
There were about 2500 guests from different parts of the country who attended the event. It was a grand celebration and there was music, dance, food, games, fireworks, alcohol, and entertainment in different ways. Some of the guests were even gifted dresses which were again very expensive. The bride and groom had to participate in every event on all those days. So, next time, you are visiting India to attend a wedding, be prepared to spend a number of days but most importantly be involved with the celebration as they are entertaining. And, never forget to taste and enjoy Rajasthani food.

Village Women Making Traditional Dali Bati over a mud stove

The food industry, which is currently valued at US$ 39.71 billion is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11 per cent to US$ 65.4 billion by 2018. Food and grocery account for around 31 per cent of India’s consumption basket.

Check out 20 Delectable Dishes From Rajasthan That Will Make You Drool Instantly

 

 

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