Rajasthan is known for its delicious food ranging from the ghee laden dal bhaati churma to the tangy and spicy ker sangri to the sinful ghevar. Devouring this food during the winters is even more delightful. There’s nothing like a hot crumbly kachori and chai on a nippy winter evening. Some of this food is best had from local street food joints. Isn’t savouring local delicacies and flavours one of the best ways to explore a place? Here’s a mini culinary compass to some scrumptious street food in Ajmer. Calorie- obsessed folks beware! Tons of desi ghee (clarified butter) coming your way!
Kadi Kachori: Most parts of central and North India have their own variants of kachori (a puff pastry stuffed with lentils, onions or peas). Ajmer is famous for its ‘kadi kachori’- a fried lentil kachori dunked in besan kadi (a gram flour and tempered curd based curry) and garnished with tangy and spicy chutneys. This traditional breakfast delicacy marries the two famous items from Ajmer- kachori and kadi. For me the crunchiness of the kachori coupled with the spicy notes of the kadi is a big win. It’s best paired with a jalebi or imarti (an Indian deep-fried sweet pretzel of sorts) to add a dash of sweetness. Shankar Chaat House is one of the oldest and renowned food stalls dishing out heart-melting kachoris in Ajmer. The crunchy kachori with the eclectic mix of spices in the kadi is an explosion of flavours. Across the road is Anant Jain Lassi where you can have some creamy and thick lassi (yogurt based drink) flavoured with cumin or sugar to rejuvenate yourself.
Shankar Chaat House, Gol Pyau Naya Bazar, Near Akbar Palace and Museum
Gajak: We were actually on the lookout for Ghevar- a traditional Rajasthani disc-shaped sweet prepared with flour, clarified butter, sugar and milk and served with rabdi (condensed milk). Are you drooling already? Unfortunately, it’s available only during the Rakhi season (in July and August). So we made our peace with Gajak to pacify my craving for sweets- a winter sweet prepared using sesame seeds, jaggery and garnished with pistachios. We went to Azad Sweets for the Gajak. It was soft, flaky and nutty and just melted in my mouth. The other favourites at this sweet shop are Sohan Halwa and Karachi Halwa (toffees made with flour, milk and sugar).
Azad Sweets, Opposite Ghantaghar, Madar Gate, Ajmer
Aloo Tikki Chaat: A shout out to all the chaat lovers! How does the thought of hot aloo tikkis (potato patty) fried in desi ghee and served with some piquant and zesty chole (chickpeas) sound? It’s foodgasm all the way, and I can vouch for it. Head to Khandelwal Chaat and you will not be disappointed. Fresh and piping hot tikkis were taken straight off the pan and served to us with a flavourful chickpea gravy bearing a sharp taste of hing (asafoetida); very unlike the aloo tikki you get in Delhi paired with the spicy and tangy chutney.
Khandelwal Chaat, Kaisar Ganj, Ajmer
Fini: A traditional Rajasthani sweet, Fini is a disc of noodles prepared using flour, sugar and clarified butter with a dash of saffron. Alternatively, you can also have the plain fini mixed in a bowl of hot milk and garnished with dry fruits. I found it to be a little too sugary for my liking. But it depends on individual tastes and preferences. Do give it a shot and let me know if you liked it.
Shree Rajasthan Sweets, Diggi Chowk, Diggi Bazaar, Ajmer
Which street food joints in Ajmer have you visited?
This post is a part of the series- #12TravelTales wherein I plan to explore 12 new places in 2017- one every month and share my experiences on the blog.