A sweet and savoury trip to Jodhpur

Shahi Samosa: No branches. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Shahi Samosa: No branches. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Rich in history, the centre of Marwar is one of the most vibrant places to explore. Music, food, art and language blend perfectly to give one a lively experience, distinct to this region. I have always loved the Rajasthani culture and food. In fact I am well versed with their culture as I have good Marwari friends.

I wanted to get furniture from Rajasthan to do up my room. We visited Jodhpur but the visit was too short. We barely managed to finish our work and have a typical Rajasthani meal at Umaid Bhawan Palace. We had gatte ki sabzi, ker sangria. Mmm, the taste still lingers.

This was more than 20 years ago. Ever since then Jodhpur was on my travel wish list. The wish was fulfilled recently when we planned a trip with family and friends.

We traveled by road and it took about six hours from Ahmedabad. We were welcomed by a family who also own a temple. The head of the family, a guru, is known as Bhau.

Jodhpur's kachoris. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Jodhpur’s kachoris. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Our first meal was a lunch prepared by the family members and it included pyaaz ki kachori, one of the most popular street foods in Rajasthan.

I love to try the street food in ever city I visit. Jodhpur was no exception. The place had carts selling all kinds of street food from all over India. Dosas, Chinese, sandwiches, vada pav, pani puri and so much more. The only stall that seemed different was one that sold ice gola. They drizzled rose syrup over grated ice and topped it with rabdi. It was definitely different from our usual chuski!

When my husband told our hosts that I was a food blogger, they made sure that my knowledge of Jodhpur cuisine was enriched. The very next day they took me to a very rustic dhaba. It sold kabuli pulao along with different Rajasthani dishes. One of them was gulab jamun kofta! Gulab jamuns fried and immersed in very rich gravy. I was told that they had a special masala papad, which turned out to be huge Bikaneri papad roasted and dipped in oil. The oil used is what floats over the gravy – enough to put all diet conscious people off, but believe me, the papad was absolutely delicious.

The making of Shahi samosa. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

The making of Shahi samosa. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

In the evening, when we went shoppingm we saw samosas and mirchi wadas being sold. These are available at every nook and corner, but what impressed me was the Shahi Samosa House. I was amazed at the crowd at this shop. The shopkeeper said they sold more than 3,000 samosas a day. Their staff of more than 50 people work non-stop to make these huge samosas. The owner, a very polite man, in true Rajasthani style, waxed eloquent about the samosa, gave me the recipe and also gave me a box full of samosas and kachoris to take back. Atithi Devo Bhava.

We did go out for dinner but the samosas and kachoris made sure I did not eat anything at the restaurant!

The next day we went around the city and tried makhaniya lassi and a sweet kachori sold at Mishri Lal. The place was so busy that the people working there did not have time to even talk to me about the lassi and the kachori. Since I am not very fond of sweet lassi, I had just one sip, but my friend loved it. I liked the kachori which had mawa or khoya filling, with syrup.

Sweet Kachori. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Sweet Kachori. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Makhaniya lassi. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

Makhaniya lassi. Photo Credit: Vaishali Sabnani

The famous Jodhpur Sweet House was next to our hotel. I, of course, wanted to taste all the sweets there, but it was not possible, so I confined myself to a few. The ghevar, besan ki chakki and makhan wada were amazing.

For dinner we went to a place called Gypsy Restaurant. Since the restaurant belonged to our hosts, we were well taken care of. They had all kinds of fast food, plus an elaborate Rajasthani thali. This was one time I wished I had an extra stomach.

Lest you think that I only eat when I go somewhere, I am also interested in the historical architecture of any city. Rajasthan has quite a few beautiful palaces. I enjoyed visiting the Umaid Bhavan Palace. Chittor sandstone has been used in the construction of this palace, which gives it a special effect. The main features of the palace are its beautiful balconies, green gardens, charming courtyards and stately rooms. The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel and a royal museum.

Mehrangarh Fort perched majestically on a rocky mountain, at a height of 120 metre overlooks the city. This impressive fort is one of the largest forts in India with seven entrances and a number of palaces within, all connected by courtyards.

Our trip to Jodhpur was a beautiful trip, more so because of how it satiated the foodie in me.

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