JAIPUR : Food Serendipity – By Anuradha Gupta

Sometimes in life you don’t plan and let the universe delight you – for me Jaipur had been one such experience – zero expectations and delighted to the core!

Before visiting Jaipur- I wasn’t too excited about the food, I had this strange baseless belief that Jaipur is neither traditional and rustic like Jodhpur & Ajmer for Rajasthani delicacies nor urban enough for any cool cafes serving international cuisines.

For me it was just a ‘Wannabe’ tourist place! Well Jaipur has been a real shocker to me- and what a pleasant shocker it has been. Not only I ate some the most brilliant authentic traditional food but also visited some cool cafés which can give the Big Chills of Delhi a run for their money.

I happened to visit thrice in last 2 months and what an awesome time I have had.
So here is a compilation of all the places I ate and this is list will be updated soon as I am going back for more food.
Spice Court

Keema Baati : Well this was something I had never eaten at any restaurant my only experience of this was at a friend’s house. I don’t think so any other place even serves these – an exquisite heritage dish from the Achrol Thikana.  These were served with a very spicy mutton curry with lots of Desi Ghee on top. and the two wheat batties were huge, so crisp and dunked in Desi Ghee with that perfect crumbly texture as you break the batti with your fingers – what a pleasure these were. Oh so delicious earthy burnt smell you get when desi ghee is simmered on them! The filling was of coarsely minced lamb meat spiced with the very famous Rajasthani chillies and nutmegs. It also had some finely chopped and fried Cashew nuts. Multi sensual experience this was.

Keema Baati : Check out the stuffing and the crust.

Laal Maas : No trip to Rajasthan is complete without a hearty dose of Laal Maas. I have eaten different versions of Laal Maas in the past at various places in Rajasthan, but most of the times you will end up having the fake one. This was hot but not very hot. The meat was so well cooked and tender. Simmered with dry Mathania Red Chilly which comes from Jodhpur and whole species in mustard oil it had fiery and sharp flavors. Laal Maas is much more than overly spiced connotation of onions and tomatoes; it is a royal beauty on a plate with beautiful deep red hue. And no it is not like Rogan Josh – these are two legends which cannot be compared.

Laal Maans

P.S: I am already salivating. I have no idea how I will finish jotting my thoughts!

Spice court is superb value for money and I am for sure going back to try their Jungli Maas, Safeed Maas and Govid Gatte.
Taruveda
 
Classy, surreal and mesmerizing!
There are places where you walk in and immediately fall in love with life! There is something so mesmerizing and fresh about this place. They have a bistro with a wall painted with trees and birds and they also have a Al Fresco seating. Besides that they have a store in the complex which sells exquisite artifacts and organic products from Omveda. Entire place is so cosy and feels you are walking from one room to another! Right from the menu to the music to the uniform of the service crew, nothing is ordinary and boring. Everything speaks volume about the classy taste and the passion with which it has been made. I don’t remember when was the last time a place had a similar effect on me. The menu has lots of Crepes, Pannis, Pizzazette, Burgers etc to choose from. I ordeded my cold coffee and decided to have a look around at the store to pick some cute little nothings. Because I was so engrossed in looking around the store, they brought my cold coffee at the store! And yes they got brownie points for that! It was straight from the heaven – the after taste of coffee was just so perfect. It is so easy to go wrong with the humble cold coffee and so easy to win my heart with a perfect cold coffee!!

Epinard Crepe – The whole wheat crepe was soft and velvety and the filling of creamed spinach and feta cheese with the zing of the fresh basil leaves. The extremely delicate flavours something you appreciate in a city that loves its chilli so much. The Herbed Mashed Potatoes for the side were silky, light but not overly buttery and were topped with homemade baked beans. The pungent taste of the Pink Pony Sauce on the side added nice oomph to the somber flavors of the crepe.

Epinard or Spinach Crepe

For me the the sides are the single most important factor that transforms a nice dish into an awesome dish! And the sides here did the trick brilliantly.

Grilled Chicken Steak in Pomegranate Sauce – The Chicken Breast was superbly juicy, moist and tender and had that perfect smoky character. Where do I begin from to describe the super magnificent Pomegranate Sauce, it was sweet, tangy and so fresh, spectacular amalgamation of the contrasting flavors. The sauce had a perfect texture, neither too runny nor too sticky and toffee like which happens if a sauce is loaded with too much sugar!

Chicken in Pomegranate Sauce

There is so much on their menu that I am dying to eat! Taruveda now features in my list of favorite places in the world. Oh and the staff is so nice and friendly- nothing blows me over the way hospitality does.

Going back to try everything on their menu 

Chole Kulche : Who goes to Jaipur and eats Chole Kulche which is the trademark Dilli SadakChaap food! This was not something I had planned to eat, but after couple of days in Jaipur, I could not be away from my eternal love interest! I had my dose from the guy who stands on the left side of the south block World Trade Park. Being somebody who eats Chole Kulche thrice a week atleast and at every place possible, I have no doubts in saying that this is one of the best I have ever had. The heavy use of the nutmeg and mace is the sole reason of the brilliant kick that you can feel in the back of your throat, like a slow death and the smokiness of the red chilles made it extra special. These were also sautéed on tawa with some onion and tomatoes which lend a beautiful creamy texture to the chole.

Chhole or Matra
Matra being done on the Tawa

Rawat

 
If you ask anybody where to eat in Jaipur, without battling an eyelid they would say Rawat – irrespective of the fact whether they have personally tried and tasted or not. I had their Pyaaz Kachoris and Mirchi Vada before but wasn’t too impressed. But this time, the pyaaz kachoris were crispy and so flavorful – carried more than 2 dozen for family and friends. I am pretty sure they have consistency issues.
Sodhani Sweets
This is another super popular shop in Jaipur and they do crazy business! Their Pyaaz Kachori was extremely crispy yet so soft on the outside with a riot of flavors of Hing and Nutmeg inside! The Dal Kachoris were the best I have ever tasted, such beautiful use of spices like clove and mace in the filling! They say frying kachoris an art and I am yet to come across anybody who does better then Shodani Sweets! The locals tell me there are better players but I am yet to try does yet! Also the quality is top class and the kachoris and mirchi vadas lasted 3 days!
The Mirchi Vada was huge with an extremely hot and spicy filling of mashed potatoes.  Superbly awesome and leave a fantastic spice sizzle in your ears- top it with hot chai and you are on ride to heaven!
Kulfi : It had a fantastic creamy texture with lots of Pistas and looked beautiful with those tiny strands of saffron – a sure shot delight in this age when everybody uses food color and essence. It was just perfectly sweet and my savior in the crazy heat! Oh and the smell of the Kevera was adding so much charm to it!
Going back to have their Ghewar, Lassi , Rasgulla and ofcourse lots of Mirchi Vadas!!
Tapri

This is a cool coffee shop type of place where you can sit back, surf internet and gobble lots of food! Loved the earthiness of the place that was prevalent in the ambiance, presentation of the dishes and music! The menu is very quirky and innovative! Servers are friendly and very helpful!Vada Pao : The whole wheat Poa were soft, squishy and fresh! The Vada was very nicely flavoured with corieander seed and  black pepper among other spieces!  For just Rs.30, this was killer!

Namkeen Shots : These were golgappas filled with Dahi, Onion, Tomatoes and topped with bundi, imli saunth and sev! I would say calling them tiny raj kachoris wont be a bad idea! Very beautiful flavour!

Dal Pakwaan : was very flavourful and the base was crispy. Very light and very fresh!

Dal Pakwan
Pushkar Chai

 

Vada Pao
Namkeen Shots
Garlic Khakra
Chutney
Mirchi with Vada Pao

Poha : Found it on the one of the thela’s in the lanes of Bapu Bazaar. Super delicious, light and fluffy – the things that make Poha so appetizing! This one had perfect sweet & sour punch to it! For sure one the nicest ones I have had.

Poha in the streets of Jaipur

Disclaimer: Be careful when they ask about Spice level!

Author: Shashank

CFE – Cheap Food Enthusiast Entrepreneur by birth, hippie by heart he is here just because he loves to eat. This adventurous biker is constantly looking for new avenues to satisfy his insatiable hunger for food & life. Though he loves sugar dense food, there is nothing sugar coated about him- brutally honest with his words, he often ruffles feathers with his stark naked opinions about food, fancy restaurants & orthodox ideas.

6 thoughts on “JAIPUR : Food Serendipity – By Anuradha Gupta”

  1. Totally agree with most of it except
    1. The vada pao at Tapri is really sad. It sucks. Infact apart from the ambience that is good, the food is ok'ish and the service is bad.
    2. Kulfi at Sodhani may be good (never tried) but the kulfiwaala at Sarogi mansion serves really good kulfi.
    3. With the onion price going up, Rawat's onion filling is getting lesser. So the quality and the taste is not the same what it used to be. But the name lives on.
    4. What I really like in kachori's is Kota Kachori (tonk road) the typical taste of aesafotida is amazing.

    1. My experience with Rawat has been mixed. Once a friend brought some and the kachoris were really sad, I mean like Lump of under-cooked maida. It broke my heart and I thought I am not going to eat Kachoris from Rawat ever again, however then another friend made me eat it recently and that one was quite awesome. Worth all the acclaim I felt.

      That said, I love the Sodhani Sweets experience, I mean just have couple of those extra spicy dal kachoris and then BIG kulhad of Lassi and it sorts me like anything. The lassi itself is amongst the best I have experienced.

      Now I have to ride to Jaipur to try those Kota Kachoris. Slurrp! 😀

  2. Hi Dhiraj!
    Exremely sorry for the late reply!
    1. The vada pao wasnt the best but it wasnt bad either! Also the service was superb- I even tipped them heavily! Maybe they have improved recently! Do visit and let me know!
    2. Now I need to visit Sarogi and Kota Kachori! I going to be in Jaipur this weekend- any suggestions? I need to do a Rajasthani Thali- where should I go?

  3. My every summer holiday was spent in Rajasthan at my Nani's place, so this post brought all those memories back. The best kachori I had was in Kota..so spicy that brings tears. Try the thick namkeen called "sevde" from Kota. You wouldn't stop munching!!
    Gatte Ki sabzi, baajre ka kheechda, makke ka saaja n dhokla, bhutte ka kis..these you would find mostly in rajasthani homes

  4. Hi..

    Try the Mixture from 'Namkeen wali Gali' as I fondly say it… Its right opp to SBBJ main branch in Chaura Rasta…There are three big shops side by side and I generally prefer to take from middle one.
    Go ahead say 50m or so in the same lane and to your left is Sondhiya Halwai ask him for 'Gulab Shakri' or nicknamed by me as Peela wala Mawa… Its divine so to say.

    For kachori's going towards tripola on chaura rasta on the side of namkeen gali(approx 100m ahead) there is Sagar Sweets.. the chutney it serves with dal kachori is something to die for. Its said it has 32 different ingredients in it.

  5. thank you all!!! leaving tomorrow for jaipur and already hungry.. and best is i know what to eat and what not to eat. thank you again

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