The people of Rajasthan are famous for their use of creativity in culinary preparations. It has allowed them to explore the versatility of different vegetables. Corn is one such crop that is extensively used throughout Rajasthan in varied forms. One can find a variety of delicious corn recipes throughout Rajasthan.
People of Rajasthan are famously fond of Makki Ki Roti (Flatbread prepared with Corn), Ghaat and Raab (Hot corn soup with a strong regional touch) and other foods that use cornmeal in versatile ways. Let us visit a Rajasthani Rasowada (traditional kitchen) and see the versatile use of corn:
Makke ki Ghaat
As a desert state, the winters in Rajasthan are bitingly cold. Hence, people generally prepare their bodies to face the winter challenge quite boldly. Among various foods used to ward off the ill effects of winters, is Makki ki Ghaat. It is a porridge that is enjoyed piping hot.
As opposed to many other recipes of Rajasthan this corn recipe surprisingly simple. The cornmeal is blended with water, clarified butter, salt and black pepper. One needs to boil them together for hardly 15 minutes and Voila! A delicious, thick piping hot soup is ready. Simple, isn’t it?
However, what brings the real magic is the cornmeal itself. The original recipe does not include any mixer or blender to make cornmeal. It requires you to ground the cornmeal using mortar and pestle. This technique of grounding results in a certain coarseness that not only enhances the grainy flavour of the soup but also lends it a rustic appeal. Secondly, the clarified butter also needs to be genuinely prepared. The readymade butter won’t be able to bring out the buttery taste of corn as effectively as a home-made or ingeniously prepared Ghee would do.
Makki ki raab
Makki ki raab is another corn recipe that is equally simple and delicious. The people of Rajasthan are known for their love for spices. But the corn has such a buttery and fine taste that mixing several spices would only deface its humble character. But then someone says “Love is not bound by any rules” and the same is applicable to the Rajasthan is’ love for spices. So, they invented Makki ka Raab.
The best thing about this corn recipe is that it does not offend the buttery flavour of make or corn as no bright spices are used. A one-day old chach (unsweetened buttermilk) is mixed with cornmeal and cooked on the heat. Then crushed dry roasted cumin is added to it. A small amount of cayenne powder and salt is used to add a pleasant vividness to the flavour. In fact even while enjoying the soup you can experience that sour buttermilk and mildly piquant cumin delicately caress the buttery flavour of the cornmeal without ruining its character.
Rajasthan being a desert state, one can see many opposite shades of nature in Rajasthan. While the summers can “melt the bones” with its intensity, the winters simply “jam the bones”. The same opposites can be seen in the food of the state too. On the one hand the people of Rajasthan are fans of sizzling hot spices that seem to char through the tongue, and on the other hand, they are also fond of some of the most delicate sweets. One such sweet is Jhajhariya.
Like other recipes mentioned here, the recipe of preparing this delicious sweet with a lovely name is equally easy. It gives a prominent identity to the sweet taste of corn. The corn is coarsely grounded using a traditional recipe. Then it is roasted in clarified butter. Sugar and milk are also added to it. The corn is roasted till the entire moisture content is dried. It can take several hours. Once the cornmeal acquires grainy form it is taken off the heat. Then almonds and raisins are added to it. If eaten as a breakfast the sweet can be enjoyed piping hot. To enjoy it as a dessert the cold version is the best. It is not only filling but is very delicious too.