Known for its rich cultural and historical legacy and for being a profound and courteous host, Rajasthan promises myriad attractions for tourists. Known for its historical monuments and friendly people, Rajasthan is also widely popular for its delectable and piquant cuisine.
And when it comes to the authentic Rajasthani food, one dish you cannot miss out on is “Dal Baati Churma”. As Chhole Bhature is to Punjab, Dal Baati Churma is to Rajasthan. Cherishing the dish as much for its simplicity as for its delectable taste, the state boasts of it as a prized possession. With Jaipur, Mewar, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Udaipur being the major sources of this savoury dish, almost every region of the state, large or small, has Dal Baati on its restaurant menus.
Although, this gem in the rich treasure trove of Rajasthani cuisine is quite famous for its taste and flavor throughout the country, what remains a little less explored about this “khus khus” savoury is the tale behind its origin.
As history suggests, the dish traces its birth to the Mewar Rule. The origin of this Rajasthani food is the famous Chittorgarh Fort in Mewar. Baati is dough of wheat dipped in ghee, a long-lasting food, which the Rajput kings of Mewar required for survival in adverse conditions during wars. Baati can be made with few ingredients and little water, making it suitable for the barren lands of Rajasthan.
Warriors under the reign of Mewar’s king Bappa Rawal used to put chunks of the dough under the sand in the battlefield so that it would get baked under the sun. On their return, they would find the dough baked and ready to eat with various accompaniments such as dahi or curd and ghee.
This culinary invention evolved into a delight with two other additions – Dal and Churma – over the years. The daal and baati combination started gaining popularity later, when traders from the Gupta Empire settled in Mewar. Panchmel dal, which is a simple and nuritious mix of five lentils – moong dal, chana dal, toor dal, masoor dal and urad dal – prepared with a fragrant tempering of cumin, cloves and other spices, was a much-loved favourite in the royal court of the Guptas.
Churma, the third and final ingredient, is believed to have come in by accident. If legends are to be believed, when a cook of Mewar’s Guhilot clan accidentally poured sugarcane juice into some baatis, the Churma was born. Realising that it had made the baati softer, the women of the clan started dunking baatis in sweet water (made from sugarcane or jaggery) in an attempt to keep them soft and fresh for their husbands. This eventually evolved into churma, a sweetened and cardamom-flavoured mix of crushed baati.
Owing to such long time associations of the dish with the state, the two are inseparable. However, with regular visits from travelers across ages, the recipe spread to other regions as well. Today, restaurants like Suruchi, Kathputli and Rajasthali serve authentic tastes and flavours of Rajasthan across the nation. Besides, the dish also adds to the export business. Many players in the market are venturing into the exports of ready-to-eat Dal-Bati-Churma to destinations like Hong Kong and China.
You can definitely try your hands on this dish at home but nothing beats savouring Dal Baati Churma in its hometown - Rajasthan!
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