What Dhokla is to Gujarat, Daal Baati Churma is to Rajasthan! And yet, when it comes to tracing the history behind this savoury masterpiece – the dish is a meal in itself carrying the perfect example of Mewar culture!
So where and how did this Daal Baati Churma really originate? The answer lies in the history of the kingdom of Mewar-
The Baati (little dough balls made of wheat flour, ghee and milk) is considered to have originated amid the time of Bappa Rawal who is the founder of the Mewar Kingdom!
Amid wars, the enduring food was a major necessity for the Rajput Soldiers. With accessible ingredients in desolate grounds of Rajasthan and shortage of water, one of the most attainable solutions was to bake doughs of wheat in mass.
It is also believed that the Rajput armies would break the dough into lumps and leave it covered under thin layers of sand in order to bake under the scorching sun. On their arrival from the battlefield, they would uncover the consummately baked chunks of doughs.
These baked wheat doughs were then titled as Baati and later additions to them included Churma (sweetened grains) and also Daal ( the blend of lentils). Thus baati was the preferred war time meal for the armies.
Later, the blend of dal and baati ended up being noticeably famous with the settlements of the Gupta Empire in Mewar. The panchmel Daal was a much-loved dish in the regal court of the Guptas. The panchmel dal contains nutritious combinations of five lentils – masoor dal, toor dal, moong dal, chana dal, and urad dal and is made with a strong fragrant of cumin, cloves and other different spices.
Churma, then again, came into being when a Mewar’s Guhilot tribe’s cook mistakenly poured sugarcane juice into some baatis. Understanding that it had made the baati softer, the women of the group began soaking the baatis in sweet water (produced using sugar cane or jaggery), in order to keep the baatis fresh and delicate. This inevitably evolved as a churma, a sweetened and ‘cardamom-essenced’ mix of smashed baati.
So, as the dish wounded up to be well known all throughout Rajasthan, lastly, through Akbar’s queen, Rani Jodha Bai, DAAL BAATI CHURMA reached the Mughal court as well.