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Explore the desert state’s cuisine, one dish at a time.

The Indian Premier League 2019 season has teams battling it out day after day for T20 supremacy. Currently, Rajasthan Royals, the champions at the inaugural edition, is struggling. With what doesn’t look like a bright start for the team, Ben Stokes English all-rounder and a star player for Rajasthan Royals was recently quoted saying that the team will now have to “treat every game like a final” if they are to make the playoffs. Founded in 2008 and owned by Manoj Badale, Rajasthan Royals are one of the initial eight IPL franchises.

Rajasthan Royals won the first edition of the IPL under the captaincy of legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne and now in the 12th season of IPL it is another Australian leading the team, legspinner Steve Smith. After donning a pink jersey only for one match in the last season to raise cancer awareness, the team decided to stay on with the pink jersey for the current season, representative of the Pink City of Jaipur. Lastly, as a brand with roots in the historic state of Rajasthan, Rajasthan Royals identify themselves with the distinguished qualities of elegance, style, valour and class which is also synonymous with the culture and people of Rajasthan.

Famous for its rich culture, the state of Rajasthan is also hailed for its cuisine. What sets Rajasthani food apart from the rest is that of the role of the region’s extreme climatic conditions, scarcity of water and vegetation. And while you Rajasthan Royals supporter prep for the match, here are some of the region’s culinary bests which you can prepare in your own kitchens:

Ker Sangri
This traditional Rajasthani dish is made with ker berries and sangri beans. While ker is a wild berry with tangy and peppery undertones, sangri, on the other hand, is a type of long bean native to the desert areas of Jaisalmer and Barmer. During harsh summer and droughts, sangri is a mainstay and is therefore a staple in most homes as it also a good and a vegetarian’s best source of protein. Back in the day, Rajasthanis would cook this dish with vegetable oil and spices due to the scarcity of water. Today some homes cook this dish with buttermilk or water. This dish is best mopped with bajra rotis. jwplayer

Dal Baati Churma
What salt is to food, dal baati churma is to Rajasthani cuisine. Scrunchy batis, dipped in ghee along with spicy dal and sweet churma – this three-in-one delight has a fan club of its own. Said to have originated as a wartime meal, this classic dish has come a long way since its inception. It is said that the Rajput warriors would leave some chunked dough buried in a charcoal pit in the sand before leaving for battle. They would come back to baked chunks or baatis which they would then lather with a generous amount of ghee and eat along with some curd or buttermilk. The other elements, that of the panchmel Dal and churma are said to have come in later.
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Panchkuta
As the name suggests, this quintessential curry made up of panch or five ingredients sourced mainly from the Thar Desert. The five ingredients that make the panchkuta what it is are sangri, ker, kumat (seeds from the pod of a deciduous tree), gunda (a kind of wild berry) and dry red chillies. This spiced curry is said to have a long shelf life and is typically relished off with puris or rotis. 
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Laal Maans
This delectable yet fiery mutton preparation whose name literally translates to ‘red meat’ is called ‘laal’ not because of the colour of the gravy but because of the colour of the meat. Think of succulent lamb or mutton pieces marinated in a variety of masalas with bursts of red chillies. Not everyone’s cup of tea, the mutton pieces submerged in a rich curry pairs well with hot bajra rotis soaking in the goodness of ghee.  Though today made with lamb or mutton, traditionally, this dish was made with game meat such as deer or wild boar.
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Also read: How to make traditional Rajasthani Gulab Jamun ki Sabzi

Ghevar
Unlike desserts which are had after a meal, Rajasthani sweets or mithais are typically had before, during and after every meal. While Rajasthan may boast of a variety of sweets, the king of them all ought to be the ghevar. A disc-shaped porous sweet that’s deep-fried and soaked in sugar syrup, the ghevar is crisp on the outside and moist in the inside. Best enjoyed as it is, modern variations include toppings such as mawa, malai, nuts or rabri. Besides, it’s not uncommon for the ghevar to be paired with some hot milk or kheer.
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Lead image by Vartika Pahuja 

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