Rajasthani Food on Great Taste this Week

  • Wed
    Apr 05
    7:00 pm -
    8:00 pm
  • Fri
    Apr 07
    7:00 am -
    8:00 am

Neerja Maheshwari

It turns out the LIVE Great Taste show on Tuesday, April 4 should have been billed as "The Ghee Show."  Neerja Maheshwari shared her love for the food of her native Rajasthan with the ethusiastic crowd at Green Building Supply, and during our discussion it became evident that ghee is one of her favorite ingredients.  Makes sense since Rajasthan is the land of the Maharajas, and ghee is the royal essence of butter.

Neerja cooked dal baati, an indispensable dish that she grew up eating in Jaipur.  Three dahls form one part of the dish-split mung, urad, and channa.  They are cooked together with water salt and turmeric until the dahls break down and the mixture looks like a soup that is on the thin side of thick.  

At this point, the critical tempering process (takda) takes place.  First, ghee is heated on medium high heat until just below it's smoking point (about 480 degrees).  Immediately add cumin seeds, fresh chopped ginger, green chiles, and other spices of your choice.  The heated ghee unlocks the flavor and nutritional properties of the spices and the mixture is poured into the waiting dahl. You can check out this article on tadka-temering by clickingHERE.

The baati is a typical Rajashani bread made from wheat flour (a little chickpea flour could be added, too),

Baatis

water, salt, ghee, and ajwain seeds that is mixed, kneaded until smooth, and allowed to rest for about 30 minutes.  It's formed into small balls, and baked in a 380-390 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.  Turn the balls over halfway through the cooking process.

How you eat these two delicacies is the fun, key part.  I'll bet what follows varies from household to household, but first, you poke a rather large hole in the top of the baati with your thumb, then dunk the entire baati in ghee.  On a plate or banana leaf, crumble the ghee-soaked bhati into small pieces and cover with dahl.  Eat it with your fingers, and you will hear heavenly music.

Gond Ke laddhus and chai rounded out the evening. As always, thanks to Green Building Supply, Everybody's Whole Foods, Jason Strong of Fairfield Media Center, and Julie Stumo for all that they do.  Special thanks to our guest, Neerja Maheshwari and her supportive family.

The next LIVE show is Tuesday, May 2, and the featured cuisine is Italian.  Mark it on your calendars now.

You can sign up for the Great Taste eletter.  It's free and arrives irregularly in your inbox.  Go to www.greattasteradio.com, and fill in the blanks.  Make certain to "Agree" when you receive a confirming email.