Rajasthani Thali is a well-known and delicious combination of foods in all north Indian homes. Any mention of Rajasthani Food or Thali is incomplete without the discussion of Dal-Bati Churma. What started as warriors or nomade food has become a distinctive food of the region. Dal-Bati is itself a complete meal; however, when served as Rajasthani Thali, Dal-Bati is accompanied by various other Rajasthani exotic delicacies. If you are planning a festive get-together with your family or friends, this authentic Rajasthani thali menu is the perfect recipe combination.
What is the Traditional Food of Rajasthani Thali?
Rajasthani Thali consists of Batis, which are authentically cooked in the kandas(cow dung cakes) fire pit, but now the kandas has been replaced by an electric oven and a gas tandoor in urban lifestyle. It also consists of Spicy Panchmel Dal, which is a mixture of 5 different lentils, and Smokey Baingan ka bharta or chokha, where Baigans(eggplants) used to be roasted in the same cow dung cake fire pit where batis were getting roasted. The traditional Rajasthani Thali food also includes Gatte ki Subji, which is another renowned Rajasthani pride, and tangy Rajasthani Kadhi, which is slightly spicier and different from Punjabi Kadhi. Dum Aloo curry can be added as well to the Thali menu to make it even more elaborate.
Most of the food is rich in Ghee and spices, so for ease of digestion, don't forget to serve Pudina Chaas (Mint flavored Buttermilk) or Aam Panna for the drink.
Last but not least, complete the Thali menu with either Churma or Curma Ladoo, to make it a complete traditional Rajasthani Thali.
Food on My Rajasthani Thali Menu
While Dal-Bati-Churma itself is a complete meal for a Rajasthani Thali, you can make your menu even more elaborate by preparing a complete spread consisting of the following food dishes:
- Mattha / Chaas - Spicy Buttermilk
- Panchmel Dal - Five Lentil Soup
- Shahi/Govind Gatte
- Mangodi Papad Kadhi
- Baigan (Eggplant) Bharta/Chokha
- Pearl Millet / Bajra Khichdi
- Churma Ladoo
A Rajasthani thali menu is incomplete without including protein-rich food. In vegetarian meals, lentils most commonly serve this purpose. ‘Panch’ means five, and ‘Mel’ means mixing; hence, ‘Panch-mel’ refers to lentils made by mixing five different types of lentils. This not only gives lentil soup a unique flavor but it also makes it nutritionally complete.
Shahi Gatte is a royal dish of Rajasthan, which was often served in lavish royal meals. However, it is not very popular compared to other versions of Rajasthani Gatte recipes. It is a traditional but not common recipe served at Indian food gatherings, and it will elevate your Rajasthani thali with its rich curry flavor.
Mangodi Papad Kadhi is a yogurt-based light curry that has the benefit of adding more protein to the menu. This authentic Rajasthani Kadi is commonly served as an accompaniment with staple foods such as Bajra Khichdi, rice, or Indian flatbreads. Here, it serves the purpose of providing a light yogurt-based option and accompaniment for bajra khichdi. This differs from the more popular Punjabi khadi; hence, this would be a new experience for even those familiar with Punjabi kadi.
Chokha Bati is another popular food option since ancient times when merchant travelers traveled for months and often made this food at rest stops. Hence, chokha, which means Baingan Bharta, is commonly served for a Rajasthani Thali.
Baingan Bharta is an authentic Indian recipe made with smoky roasted eggplants and tempered with onions, tomatoes, and spices. For my Rajasthani Thali menu, Baingan Bharta adds a dry curry vegetable dish to the menu. You can roast your eggplants on the grill while you are heating it up and preparing the Batis. My version of this recipe has been enhanced by adding roasted red bell peppers, which adds a nice tone to the color of the recipe. Even though eggplant is a nutritionally packed vegetable, the addition of red bell peppers further enhances this recipe.
There are many recipes available online to make bhindi, but the recipe that goes best with this Rajasthani Thali menu is stuffed Rajasthani bhindi. While I have not yet published this recipe, you can find one online by searching for Rajasthani Stuffed Bhindi Recipe or using my bhindi masala recipe.
Rajasthani Bati is the main centerpiece food for a Rajasthani Thali. Well-cooked bati should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Traditionally, these were cooked in a fire pit over a low-heat simmer of cow dung cake. If you are grilling or using an oven, it can take some time to get these perfect, so making a little extra is a good idea.
Batis can be served plain as well as stuffed, which is known as masala bati. My bati recipe has been enhanced by adding different flours to the bati dough, which in turn yields a better texture, taste, and flavor.
Bajra (Pearl Millet) Khichdi is a wholesome meal during the winter season when combined with Rajasthani mango kadhi. Due to its soft texture, it makes a perfect kid-friendly item to be included in a Rajasthani Thali. Hence, this provides a light option for kids and grown-ups who are not able to eat other foods due to a restricted diet. My recipe for Bajra khichdi is nutritionally enhanced by adding different vegetables to the recipe.
A Rajasthani thali is not complete without a dessert option, and my Churma Ladoo is a delicious dessert addition to my menu. They are ball-shaped sweets made of crumbled Bati that are enhanced by using different flours, spices, and nuts. Churma can be served in crumbled form or as ‘ladoo.’ Churma Ladoo is much more convenient to serve, store, and eat in a portion-controlled manner, and they are perfect bite-size for kids to grab anytime to keep them fueled.
Table Decor for a Rajasthani Thali
Jazz up your authentic Indian Rajasthani Thali with a beautiful table setting, such as the warm copper fall table setting that I incorporate into my Thanksgiving table decor. Your thali food will be elegantly showcased when served on this thoughtfully put-together table setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bati is a popular regional dish of Rajasthan made from whole wheat flour and then either deep fried or baked, while Litti is a Bihari delicacy made out of whole wheat flour and is stuffed with sattu(roasted gram flour) and baked.
The Dal choices vary depending on the region. I personally prefer Panchmel or Urad-Chana dal with Bati.
A Rajasthani thali menu consists of a lentil or dal, one curry (probably kadhi), gatta or mangodi, one dry curry (mostly baingan bharta), and churma (a sweet dish).
Yes, bati can be easily baked. The oven temperature should be set to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, but the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the Batis and your type of oven.