The state of Rajasthan is a potpourri of magnificent architecture, deep-rooted traditions and culinary excellence. Located in the northern region of the state is the regal city of Bikaner. We celebrate the unique dishes of Bikaner that have managed to transcend borders and make a mark around the world. By Kumar Shree

The demographics of a region plays a pivotal role in shaping its local cuisine. That stands true for Rajasthani cuisine as well. The warrior lifestyle of its residents coupled with limited availability of ingredients in an arid region shaped the Rajasthani cuisine. Hence, the dishes made in the state usually last for several days and can be consumed without heating. That’s why we see a variety of bhujias and kachoris on a Rajasthani thali. One of the most famous bhujias from Rajasthan—Bikaneri Bhujia—comes from Bikaner, and that’s the first of many unique dishes of Bikaner to feature on our list.

Bikaneri Bhujia

 

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If it ever comes down to one food that puts Bikaner on the world map, it has to be the Bikaneri Bhujia. The savoury snack, though usually made from gram flour can also be made with moong and moath flour. Unlike other bhujias, this one also packs the strong flavour of black pepper. Cardamon powder, asafoetida, ground black pepper, and oil is mixed into the choice of flour. This mixture is then deep-fried after passing through a sev press. Once the desired light brown colour is acquired, the bhujia is taken out of oil, cooled, and served. It can be stored for months. Pair it with a piece or two of Bikaneri rasgulla and you’ll have the best combo. Get some from Chhotu Motu Joshi on Station Road.

Papad Ki Sabzi

 

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Papad Ki Sabzi is one of the most popular curries in Rajasthan but is best served in Bikaner. The dish is prepared with yoghurt, gram flour, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin seeds, asafoetida, solid red chillies, and coriander powder. Once the hot and spicy curry is ready, in goes the roasted moong papad and boondi seeds. Papad Ki Sabzi tastes best with rice or chapati. Sneak in some lahsan ki chutney and chhachh or lassi, and you have got yourself a drool-worthy meal. Indulge in a wholesome serving at Laxmi Niwas Palace—it is easily one of the best places that serve the dish among other signature dishes of Rajasthan.

Kesar Fini

 

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Next on our list is Kesar Fini, also known as Sutarfeni. It is a sweet dish made of rice flour, semolina, and saffron. The deep-fried dish is topped with pistachios and almonds before serving. While mostly consumed as a dessert after meals, it also works well as an afternoon snack or in combination with Bikaneri bhujia for your evening tea. Kishan Sweets on Dhanpat Rai Road has some of the best Kesar Fini in Bikaner.

Honorary Mention – Bikaneri Rasgulla

 

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While Bengal and Orissa have always fought over the ownership of the ever-so-favourite rasgulla, Bikaneri rasgulla, away from all the limelight, just does its work quietly. Bikaner also does many variants of rasgulla. You can try them at Chappan Bhog in Rani Bazaar.

Rajasthan has a great variety in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, and that has a rather interesting backstory. The Rajput population of Rajasthan is inclined towards non-vegetarian dishes. The Brahmin, Jains, Maheshwari, Vaishnavas, and Marwari folk, on the other hand, are big on vegetarianism. And hence, Rajasthan has the best of both worlds.

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