A guide to snacks and street food in Pushkar (India)
As a holy place for Hindu religion, in Pushkar the meat is banned as also eggs, so is easy to find delicious vegetarian snacks in the small local eateries as also in the many street food stalls, that at different hours of the day pop up along the Pushkar streets!
Kachori… crunchy and spicy
Kachori can be pointed as a gastronomic icon of Rajasthan snacks. This deep-fry dough fills with a mix of lentil (dal) and species can be found in many places in India. The filling can change a bit from place to place, but the hollow crispy dough is a must from any kachori…. yes!
These patties have a small quantity of dal inside and get hollow when are dipped in hot oil. When served, the kachori is slightly smash and topped with a big spoon of a sweet and spicy sauce with a reddish colour.
In Pushkar, the kachori can be found in many places, but my favourite one is a small eatery that only has this snacks and samosas (not so special) a couple of minutes from the square where every morning fruits and vegetables hawker gather.
Address: behind Sri Raghunatha Swamy Temple, in a corner about 2 minutes walk from the Market Square, walking in the opposite direction of the lake. Close around 5 p.m.
Poha… my favourite breakfast
My favorite street-food in Pushkar and also my favorite breakfast: light, spicy a delicious… without oil or much deep-fry stuff!
Poha is basically flattened rice that after gets dry looks like flakes. The poha can be cooked is different ways, as eaten in the morning as breakfast or during the day as a snack, and can be found a bit everywhere in India.
In Pushkar, a popular street stall serves poha cooked with an aromatic mix of cumin, chili, coriander seed, mustard seeds and curcuma that give the yellow color! Then, over this rice mix, is added fresh tomato, onion, cilantro and a big spoon of a creamy and delicious dal (lentil soup). The aloo bhujiya on top gives a crunchy texture to this tasty and healthy meal.
The phoa with dal is be served in a bowl, but if not the phoa can just be served over a newspaper or over a deep-fry cracker, crispy but oily. This wafer can also be cracked and used to top the poha and dal mix.
Address: “Pushkar Breakfast Corner” at main market square (a small where every morning fruit and vegetables hawker gather). Every morning until the food finish usually before 10 a.m.
Paratha… best paratha ever!
… thick, rich in vegetables, spicy and not too oily… yes, the best paratha that I ever try in India!
This treat can be found after 5 p.m. in the Lala Ji stall that only make parathas: from the classic aloo (potato) to cheese, onion, vegetable and paneer… but the one that wins is the cheese-vegetables! All are served with a green mint sauce and raita (a yogurt made sauce)
Everything is made at the moment so you may need to wait a bit, and you can eat just there on the street or ask for parcel.
Address: Lala Ji stays along Main Street of Pokhara (Main Market Road) not far from Nagar Palika Ghat.
This a typical Rajasthan bread, made from whole wheat flour, semolina, chickpea flour, seasoned with cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds and cooked in wood oven. Just before being served the bread balls are put over the burning coal to get a roast look and the grill taste, and generously soaked in ghee (clarified butter).
From this mix of flour results a rustic bread, dense and with a dry texture, so the ghee put over the warm baati give a more moist and soft texture. In Rajasthan, the baati is eaten soaked in dal, the so-called dal baati, but can also be a filling snack.
Dal Baati (or dal baati churma) is a typical Rajasthan meal: basically, a dal served with the baati, Rajasthan style bread. The dal is made with a mix of different kinds of lentil, resulting in thick gravy, where are visible tomato and onion finely chopped, aromatized by cumin, coriander, turmeric, cloves, bay leaves and ginger.
In Pushkar, at the Shree Karni Maa Restaurant, the dal baati is served with rice and some achaar (a salty and spicy pickle)… a very filling meal. The rice here is not the traditional way to serve dal baati, because in more dry areas, like in Rajasthan the rice is a rare cereal.
Address: Shree Karni Maa Restaurant, you need to walk a bit further from Brahma Temple, and turn left.
Thali… in Rajasthan style!
Thali means plate and is referred to a complete meal, that include, rice, vegetables, curries, dal, bread, changing from one region to the others, that is served in a metal plate.
To find a typical Indian food in Pushkar you need to find the local restaurants more focused on pilgrims and Indian tourists! The Shree Karni Maa Restaurant is one of my favourites that despite a big choice of food with some Rajasthan dishes have a very tasty and rich thali.
The thali comes with a tasty light curry, a thik and rich dal, sabji (mix of vegetables), curd (yogurt), achhar (a salty and super spicy pickle), papadum (crispy thin cracker) and a small bowl of rice… all the time are coming freshly cooked roti, roasted over the fire. Delicious!
Address: Shree Karni Maa Restaurant, you need to walk a bit further from Brahma Temple, and turn left. There you’ll see on both sides of the streets lots of restaurants side-by-side… the Shree Karni Maa Restaurant is on your left, and his for me one of the best thali in Pushkar… but not the cheapest! The thali costs 200 rupees, and have an unlimited refill, except the curd (yogurt).
Lassi, sweet lassi
If you going to visit India, you must try the lassi!!! Is a drink made from yogurt, thick, fresh and nutritious… unfortunately with quite some sugar! The lassi has the origin in Punjab state, but is spread all over the north of India as also in Nepal and can also be salted and seasoned with cumin.
There as many lassi places in Pushkar… on of my favorites is at L.M.B…. is creamy, topped with pistachio and served in clay pots!
Address: Hotel L.M.B. is not a hotel in the way that id doesn’t have a place to sleep, but in same parts of India, “hotel” means a restaurant. This place has the same name as a famous one in Jaipur but I think that has nothing to do with each other, as this one in Pushkar is a bit dodgy. Near Main Gau Ghat.
Chai, a tea mix with milk… and sugar, is everywhere in India, but in Pushkar you can find hawkers that walk along the street with their movable stalls. These stalls are something!!! In a fragile metal structure, a kind of tripod, there’s a shinny metal pan that is kept warm with burning coal, and around lays the clay pots. The chai is served in the traditional clay pots, disposed after used.
But for me, the best ones can be found just at the main square of Pushkar, in a small stall easily identify by some bamboo stools near the road where many travellers gather. The chai here is amazing! Dark, rich in spicy flavours and with a touch of ginger, this is more a masala tea than a chai, and is difficult to drink just one… just the location of the stall, near the road, is annoying due to the noise and pollution.
Address: Main Market Square, in a small stall, mix between grocery and chai shop, with some stool outside… when you pass by the owner will tell you to try the “best chai in Pushkar!”.