Known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur is often hailed as the gem of Rajasthan, in the country’s northwest corner. Unlike much of that immense, arid state, which encompasses the inhospitable Thar Desert, Udaipur is dotted by manmade lakes—the most beautiful of them Lake Pichola, its sparkling, peaceful blue waters reflecting many an ornate palace. There’s an undeniable romance about this city, and from the rooftops gazing out over the gleaming centuries-old havelis and their intricate carved balconies, the labyrinthine streets and the hilly horizon, you’d almost think you were in an old European city—until your eyes rest on the turrets or soaring temple behind you.

In Udaipur the pace is slow, the weather balmy, and the food, like everything in India, reflective of its unique history: Founded by the Sisodia dynasty in 1559 as the new capital of Mewar, the south-central region of Rajasthan, Udaipur still has a cuisine dominated by Mewari influence, which in turn was dictated by the area’s rugged topography and harsh climate. Expect interesting dishes incorporating hardy indigenous ingredients like legumes, wheat, gram (chickpea) flour, garlic, curd, and coriander in delicious ways. In this snapshot we examine three typical dishes of the region, beginning with its famous three-in-one signature meal, dal baati chorma.

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