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Recipes | Two Authentic Healthy Treats from Rajasthan – Time to Slow Down and Enjoy Life

14 May 2013 17 Comments


There are a few moments in life when you are truly & completely happy. My yearly visit to hometown in Udaipur, Rajasthan is one such occasion when I wish I could stop the time and live in those moments forever. Though many old familiar houses have given way to high rise apartments now and there are very few familiar faces to greet, but every visit is worth preserving the childhood experiences and keeping them afresh.

The old house I stayed, parks I played in and the streets I walked with friends, each one makes me feel so large and important. How true is the saying that ‘The mind looks for something new but the heart longs for the old.’ And the older I grow the more I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give.

I never miss my early morning walks in Udaipur, its enchanting and refreshing to walk alongside the lake before sunrise with just a few walkers and some noisy birds occasionally breaking the silence and serenity of the place.

Morning walks on the pavement of lake Fatehsagar in Udaipur conjures up the carefree childhood days where most of the evenings were spent with friends talking and eating street foods.

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

This beautiful Lake Fateh sagar is behind my house in Udaipur where I go for early morning walks at 5.30 Am with my camera to accompany me. How difficult it is now to even imagine climbing the temple ‘Neemach Mata‘ on that mountain top behind the lake, which we used to run and climb in just twenty minutes, once upon a time.

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

The joy of walking on a bright morning, smelling & breathing the fresh air…nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees…that concrete bench is my favorite spot to sit before sun rises and watch the world go by.

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

Fateh sagar lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan

One of the most favorite activities of the day is to stroll along serenely on the pavement forgetting everything…

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Gumberry tree or Gunda

Plucking fresh gum berries or Gunda on the way from morning walk to make yummy Gunda or Gumberry pickle.

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Kikar fruits

Favorite pastime for children is to pick fleshy wild kikar fruits during morning walks near the lake…Kikar trees are commonly found in the desserts of Rajasthan, the fruits are sweet and slightly pink in colour when ripe.

vacation in Udaipur

Children are exploring & loving the good old simple ways of playing outdoor. They are happily avoiding their internet games for plucking Tamarind pods, Kikar fruits outside our house, running behind goats, chasing birds and butterflies….

1. Savory Black Chickpea Snack or Chan Zor Garam

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Channa Zor Garam

The moment I land in my home both mom and my brother’s wife take turns to spoil me completely with their hospitality. I am not allowed to be in the kitchen for long unless I wish to take pictures of the food they cook. Each day starts with planning for the foods I miss after marriage, from authentic Daal Baatis to exotic Gatte ki subji filled with nuts and dried fruits…they leave no stone unturned to pamper me with their love and let me indulge in my favorite food.

Here are two such recipes they cooked for me during this visit.

Chana zor garam is a street food which is normally made with packed ready-to-mix black chickpeas which are flattened and deep fried in oil. But this version which my brother’s wife made is healthy and has all homemade ingredients in it.


(serve 3)

  • 1 cup black chickpeas
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • Sprigs of mint leaves
  • Salt as desired

black chickpea snack

Method; Wash and soak black chickpeas or kala chana overnight. Boil the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker for one whistle or in a vessel for 10-15 minutes.

Peel and chop onion, cut tomatoes finely.

Drain the black chickpeas. Take a few black chickpeas and flatten slightly with a rolling pin, repeat the same with all the chickpeas.

Heat oil in a vessel, add cumin seeds and flattened chickpeas. Saute for a minute and put off the flame.

Transfer the black chickpeas in a large vessel and add all the ingredients in it, mix well.

healthy black chickpea snack - channa zor garam

Serve the spicy Chana Zor garam in a paper cone or in small bowls as a healthy & filling tea time snack.

2. Baked Spicy Cornmeal Buns or Paanya in Gumberry leaves

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Mom makes these crumbly, spicy Baatis or Buns everytime I am in Udaipur. These are filling baked buns which are eaten normally during winter days. A very special ingredient called ‘Papad Khar‘ is used to bake these bun which is a kind of alkaline salt and gives the extra crispness to the dish. I don’t get this ingredient at my home in Chennai and I substitute the same with baking soda.


(make 4 )

  • 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp. semolina
  • 2 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Ajwan
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilly powder
  • A pinch of Papad Khar or baking powder
  • Salt as desired (1 tsp.)
  • Water to knead hard dough
  • Gum-berry leaves
recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Paanya with fresh tomato chutney is a delicacy..

Method; Take coarsely ground cornmeal flour, chickpea flour and semolina in a large bowl and rest of the ingredients except water and gum berry leaves. Pour a few teaspoons of water and knead into hard dough.

These whole flour buns are traditionally baked or cooked in earthen stoves called Chulha in Hindi which is lit with charcoal fire. You can use the conventional oven to bake the same. Preheat the oven to 230°C.

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Make small balls from the dough and fold each bun in Gum berry leaves if you are using it as shown in here. If you don’t get leaves, place all the buns in a greased baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes till the buns turn golden brown in colour.

recipes, healthy snack and baked wholegrain breads

Take out the baked buns, smear butter or ghee and serve hot with mixed lentils, roasted Brinjal and potato Chokha or fresh tomato chutney. I don’t need any accompaniments with these baked buns or Paanyas, these are a delicacy and a complete dish in itself.


  1. You can bake these buns using wholewheat flour also.
  2. The recipe of Paanya has Papad khar in it, which makes it crumbly and soft. But I use baking powder in my home where I don’t get the indigenous Papad khar.

Vacations are rejuvenating, it is that time of the year when one can slow down the pace of life, live, breathe, retrospect and simply be! And I feel blessed to experience the same year after year at mom’s home in Udaipur.


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  • aparna said:

    lovely one ! third photo that is tree alone ! is too good !

  • Hari Chandana said:

    Woww.. amazing recipes.. awesome clicks too!

  • Jayashree said:

    As always, stunning pics and a lovely write-up.
    Jayashree recently posted..Murud – a travelogueMy Profile

  • aarti said:

    Udaipur is such a lovely city to explore… And needless to say those recipes and pictures are WOW! am going to try making that bun

  • Nandita said:

    Wonderful post!!! Just loved the recipes and the photographs 🙂
    Nandita recently posted..Southekayi Hasi gojju- Raw food at it’s bestMy Profile

  • Mari @ Mari's Cakes said:

    Sanjeeta, this looks so tasteful, cooking it in a leave makes it even better. Your home town is beautiful.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  • Pallavi Purani said:

    We share the same hometown 🙂 Heard a lot about you from few fellow bloggers. So happy to see this post.

  • swetha said:

    nice photography and awesome recipes..

  • mjskit said:

    What a beautiful places and of course your pictures are gorgeous! Morning is definitely the best time for walks. I love it! Your family really spoils you went you go home. I think that’s wonderful! Both of these dishes are quite different from anything I’ve ever had and they both look delicious. I’m especially drawn to the Spicy Cornmeal buns. I could probably eat a few of those in one sitting.
    mjskit recently posted..A Festival of Strawberry Salad RecipesMy Profile

  • dassana said:

    udaipur is so beautiful. i have never been there, but just seeing a few of your pics, i want to go there. both the recipes look rustic.
    dassana recently posted..paan gulkand drinkMy Profile

  • Ananda Rajashekar said:

    quite right Sanjeetha, rare of those moments that we could sit back relax with content heart, glad you had a lovely time at your home town, i still remember you telling about your mother and your home town, would to visit once there….those baked corn meal bus is just gorgeous!….loved your presentation with that little cheery tomato and earthen plate, beautiful!!
    Ananda Rajashekar recently posted..Simple things! – Apple, orange in honey orange juice – BreakfastMy Profile

  • Charul @ Tadka Masala said:

    Your posts always make me nostalgic. Loved the chana jor garam recipe.
    Charul @ Tadka Masala recently posted..Spaghetti in Fire Roasted Bell Pepper SauceMy Profile

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com said:

    Everything about this post brings a smile on my face. Happy childhood memories are rekindled 🙂

  • vasudha said:

    Can I try making these buns in microwave ? I have just the microwave.

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Vasudha, you can microwave to cook these buns, but they will not get crisp and brown, for which you need an oven or a convection mode of cooking.

  • Deeksha said:

    Hey, thanks for the recipe. Are the flattened chickpeas crunchy in texture? I’ll try those paanyas, fortunately in Mumbai I managed to find papad khar in a marwadi shop. My MIL makes something similar called makke ke dhokle.we ads methi leaves to it and steam them. They taste veru good with tuvar/urad ki dal or even ghee n jaggery.

  • sanjeeta kk (author) said:

    @Deeksha, the chickpeas are not crunchy, if you want crunchy texture, you need to deep fry or dry roast the same.

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