Snapshots from India: Rajasthani Eats

In Rajasthan, as in so many parts of India, variety makes the meal. Thalis rule, and the large silver plate will often have several little portions of stews made from legumes, vegetables, and grains; bread; a sweet treat; and occasionally a meat dish, such as mutton or chicken.

The assortment of food in this region contrasts mightily with its monochromatic landscape, a study in brown-green scrub. A lack of fresh vegetables forces Rajasthani cooks to be particularly creative with the sangri (desert beans) and other edibles that do grow here, and this lack of verdancy has also encouraged the colorful saris, turbans, and traditional clothes Rajasthanis are known for. Traveling through India's largest state, we stopped over in the Great Thar Desert, Jodhpur (the blue city), Jaisalmer (the golden city), and Jaipur (the pink city). We ate in restaurants, in homes, and near camels; and we ate well.