The easiest way to sample Rajasthan’s range of rich culinary fare is to try it in a carefully plated thali. And where else to sample a Rajasthani thali but in Jaipur? In a feast fit for royalty, a traditional thal, served in silver or copper ware, usually features a bunch of vegetarian dishes such as the delicious ker sangri a tangy dish, made using dried ker berries (dried black berries) and sangri (dessert beans) and gatte ki sabzi, (chickpea flour dumplings cooked in a spicy yogurt based gravy.) There’s also Rajasthani kadhi, a spiced curd and gram flour based dish, particularly refreshing in the summer and the nutritious panchmela dal prepared with five kinds of lentils.
One of the most popular dishes in Rajasthani cuisine is dal baati churma, a platter of spicy dal, semi-sweet churma (coarsely ground wheat crushed and cooked with ghee and sugar), and deep-fried baati (little doughballs made of wheat flour, ghee and milk).
A non-vegetarian version of the thali will usually include laal maas, a fiery Rajasthani mutton curry made using Mathania mirch. Curd, milk and buttermilk usually feature prominently in a Rajasthani meal. The rotis (Indian breads) are usually made of bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sourghum) and makka (corn) as they are grown in the region.
Mini versions of the deep fried kachoris sometimes find their place in the thali too along with pulaos, raitas and a number of pickles and relishes. You end the meal with sweets! Mohanthal, a rich gram flour barfi stuffed with dry fruits is one of the most popular sweets in the state. There are also jalebis, gujias and many other traditional mithai that the Rajasthani thalis in Jaipur may sometimes feature.
Jaipur’s foodies tell you where you can get your perfect, Rajasthani thali fix.
Best Rajasthani thali in Jaipur
Suvarna Mahal, Rambagh Palace
“I have lived in Jaipur for 9 years and my favourite place to eat Indian cuisine is at Suvarna Mahal at Rambagh Palace. (Rambagh Palace, Bhawani Singh Road, Rambagh, Jaipur 302005. Call 0141 2385700) It’s perfect for me because the level of spices are in control. In addition to being a safe and hygienic place for foreigners, it has a charm, elegance and a royal ambience.” Marcela Baur, founder Jaipur by Marcella
Spice Court, Civil Lines
“Hands down Spice Court. (Jacob Road, Mysore House/Achrol House Colony, Madrampur, Civil Lines, Jaipur. Call 0141 2220202) I’m not just saying it because it’s my father’s restaurant but trust me any local would vouch for it too. I have grown up eating at Spice Court and they do a delicious thali. The kheema baati tops my list. The kheema stuffed bati with jhol on top is just out of the world. It’s an explosion of flavours in your mouth. It’s the right kind of spicy. If you are a vegetarian then try the thali with the gatte and ker sangri.” Tejasvi Chandela, founder Dzurt patisserie and co-founder All Things Chocolate.
Sharma Dhaba, Sikar Road
“My favourite place for a traditional Rajasthani meal is Sharma Dhaba on Sikar Road. (12, G-445 I, Sikar Road, Vishwakarma Industrial Area, Jaipur. Call 96600 26696) Over the years, during winter and JLF and I would take batches of 50 people and invade the place. It became a kind of ritual. There’s also Shri Shankar Bhojnalaya (Sindhi Camp, Metro station pillar no C, Sindhi Camp, Jaipur. Call 077930 28454) and a more recently opened Sri Moturam Prasadam (8th floor, UDB Corporate Tower, Jawahar Circle, Sector 8, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. Call 4137367378).” Mita Kapur, founder and CEO, Siyahi.