The allure of Rajasthan is just like its Jodhpuri Mirchi vada. Once you visit it, you will keep coming back for more. Rajputana is a land full of stories of valor. It reminds you of brave-hearts who always fought invaders, to protect their motherland. Their romance like no other, their sacrifice supreme. You can still feel their energy in the air flowing through Mewat(Aravalli) mountains. There is no place like it. None so colorful and endearing. The ravines are calling to me as I write this today. It is a place close to my heart.
What makes the desert mirage so colorful?
The bright reds and pinks of the odhnis' to the blues of Jodhpur. The yellows of the turbans to the greens of the colorful glass bangles. All this give the Thar desert, a fabulous contrast. The terrain is dry and arid. However, the hearts of the locals warm and pink. Due to high heat and the absence of water, the whole area has a unique cuisine too. Folk songs tug to your heart and the longing beckons you to visit your land. My earliest memory was dancing to a tune of 'Rang rangili dhari,mharo desh marwar' at school in Vizag, south India. It has always called out to me even before I knew why.My ancestors belonged there and migrated. It was only later that I found out and went back to my roots. All I can say is sometimes you see some pieces of the puzzle and somehow everything fits when you look back at the bigger picture.
Traditional cuisine of Rajasthan
I have been fortunate to visit it multiple times as my family belongs from the state. Traditionally, there is a use of more millets than wheat flour and rice. In the olden days, they had less vegetables. Hence ,the use of chickpea flour/besan and local herbs helped them survive. Also, chickpea flour is high in proteins which helped vegetarians. Indian street food changes with location.Our tea time snack is not just sandwich, it is a meal in itself. While Punjab is more about paneer, the arid region is all about millets and besan.
The recipes show the colors of the terrain. You can find curries & snacks in the shades of red and brown. Nagori mirch or dried red chillies makes up for the rich red color. Locals make curry out of dried herbs like ker (Dried berries) and sangri(beans).Snacks and street food made of gram flour batter like mirchi vada, pakode, childa etc. Curries like gatte ki kadhi ,breads made of millets like sorghum are used to make jowar jo doda and sweets like ghevar show the earthiness too.
What are the other famous Rajasthani starters
If you travel across rajaasthan, the most common snacks or starters that you will find include
- Pyaz wali kachori - onion stuffed in a spicy deep fried snack
- Mirchi vada - Potato Stuffed chillies,deep fried
- Samoa - Potato stuffed pastry - deep fried snack
- Dal wali kachori - lentil stuffed in a deep fried snack
Ingredients for the mirchi bada recipe.
- Potatoes boiled
- Green bhavnagari chillies/jalepanoes
- Baking soda
- Besan/chickpea flour
- Turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder
- Amchur/ dry mango powder
- Salt as per taste
- Oil for frying
How to make mirchi vada?
1.Steam the chillies for few minutes, slit them from one side to make the Rajasthani mirchi vada. You need to ensure the head stays. Remove the seeds.
2. Use the mashed potatoes to fill the chillies and cover them as well.
3. Roll the mirchi bada in the dry flour first.
4. Then dip them into the batter.
5. Deep fry the stuffed mirchi in medium hot oil.
6. Take out once golden brown.
Read the Mirchi vada recipe below:
Mirchi vada recipe
- air fryer for low oil option
- kadai/frying pan for traditional frying method
- 2-3 potatoes boiled
- 5-6 green bhavnagari chillies/jalepanoes
- pinch of baking soda
- 1 cup besan/chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon amchur/mango powder
- Salt as per taste
- oil for frying
- Mash the boiled potatoes with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder,½ teaspoon red chilli powder,½ teaspoon amchur powder& salt.Keep it aside.
For the mirchi bada:
- Steam the chillies/jalepanoes for 5-10 mins and slit them from one side.
- Add potato filling in the chilli and around it, keep it aside.
- Mix all chickpea flour with salt,turmeric powder & chilli powder,keep ¼ cup aside in a plate.
- Mix water with ¾ cup of chickpea flour and baking soda to get a a thick batter.
- Roll the mirchi bada in the dry flour first, then dip it into the batter.
- Fry in medium hot oil until cooked.
- Kadai or Air fryer if you want to avoid deep frying them.
- Steamer/ pressure cooker/ instant pot
You can make it extra spicy as per your taste by adjusting the red chili powder. If possible, make it with Bhavnagari mirch. You can also use sweet capsicum for this recipe if you want a milder version. This recipe has a south Indian counterpart mirchi bajji or Andhra style mirapakaya bajji/ mirapakaya bhajji, mirapakaya meaning chilli, bajji means bhajiya. However, this mirchi bhajji recipe, is without the stuffing masala.Instead of stuffed potatoes,we use finely chopped onions in garnish. Green Chillies are fried in a batter of besan and spices. Both the north Indian and south Indian style bada recipe are a treat for foodies. Deep fried snacks are always welcome! You may add a spoonful of fennel seeds and coriander powder as per your taste.
What are the places to visit in Rajasthan?
Most tourists head to Jaipur first. LMB and lad bazar is a treat. Alwar calls you with its special Thakurdas milk cake. However, my favorite memories of foodie vacation is of Jaisalmer. Simple people and great food makes its own special place in your heart. While people remember Jodhpur for Mehrangarh fort and Umaid Bhawan Palace. Foodies remember it for the Ghantaghar makhaniya lassi, tangy mirchi vadas and kale boondi ke laddoo. Bikaner is the home of all fried snacks one can say. You will get sev of all types and flavors. Rasmalai,rajbhog and Kulfi while Karni Mata temple and Nathdwara is a place which you go back with faith time and again.
How many types of Vada are there?
There are many types of Vada in India. See our favorites below.