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Friday, June 18, 2021

Rajasthan’s Traditional Dish – Dal Baati Churma

Dal Baati Churma, a three-in-one treat is a traditional Rajasthani dish and is revered for its delicious and unforgettable taste.

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

INDIA. Rajasthan: When it comes to food, every region, every state in India has its own specialty. Punjab has Chole Bhature, Kolkata has Rosogulla, Bihar has Litti Chokha and Rajasthan has Dal Baati Churma.

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Dal Baati Churma, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Dal Baati Churma, a simple three-in-one treat (baked baati, i.e. balls of dough with spicy panchmel dal and sweet crumbly churma) is a traditional Rajasthani dish. This culinary masterpiece, a meal in itself is revered for its delicious and unforgettable taste. The delicacy famed for its wonderful taste can be literally broken down into three components: Baati, Dal, and Churma.

Baati is made with wheat flour which is kneaded with a little bit of salt, dahi (yogurt), and water. Round balls of the size of tennis balls are made and baked in wood-fired traditional ovens till the baati becomes golden brown in colour. Baatis is then greased and served dipped in ghee with dal, and churma.

Baati, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Dal is usually panchmel, i.e. a simple and nuritious mix of five pulses, namely toor dal, chana dal, moong dal, moth dal, and urad dal. The pulses are first boiled in water and then seasoned with rai-jeera (mustard and cumin seeds), cloves, and hot vegetable oil. Green chili, garlic, and spices including asafoetida, red chili, turmeric, coriander, and ginger are also added.

Dal, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Churma is a popular sweet delicacy and is the sweet accompaniment to the trio dish Dal Baati Churma. It is made by coarsely grinding deep-fried whole wheat flour dumplings and then cooked with ghee and sugar. Traditionally it is made by mashing up wheat flour baatis into a fine powder and then thoroughly mixing it with ghee, sugar, and dry fruits. The baati used to make churma is different than the normal baati as they don’t have salt added to the dough.

Churma, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Churma in itself is a delicacy by itself and is a standard part of a Rajasthani thali. It is very nutritious and a high-calorie dish for kids and adults as well. At various places, different types of flavouring are also added. Dried edible rose petals and rose essence are added to make Gulab Churma.

Rose (Gulab) Churma, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

History of Dal Baati

Dal Baati Churma originated in the kingdom of Mewar during the time of Bappa Rawal, a nomadic warrior and the founder of the kingdom of Mewar.

During those times, baati was the official wartime meal. During wartime, soldiers before going to war, will break the dough made of wheat, ghee, and camel milk into small chunks and bury them under the sand to bake under the sun. The dough used to perfectly bake during the day and after returning from the war, the soldiers used to dunk them into ghee and relish them with curd or buttermilk.

Panchmael Dal already was a regular Rajasthani delicacy, and along with Churma, it was later added into the regular menu by the upper caste to enjoy baati with dal.  

History of Churma

Churma was an accidental discovery in the royal kitchens, as a chef accidentally dropped baatis in sugarcane juice.  This made the baati sweet and also softened it. This sweetened baati was loved by everyone and this started the tradition of dropping batis in sweet juice, and later these sweetened baatis were served as crushed baatis with spicy dal.

Dal Baati Churma later reached the Mughal Court when Rani Jodha Bai married Mughal King Akbar. The royal chefs of the Mughal court did their own experiments and created versions of the dish; bafla and kheech. A softer variation of the baati, bafla is a baati that has been boiled before being baked, and Kheech is the normal porridge (daliya) made from whole wheat.

Whatever is the version, dal baati churma is deceptively delicious and loved by everyone in India.

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