Jaipur Kitchen: Homestyle Rajasthan Food in Jersey City

“We are another business that was born during the pandemic,” S.P. exudes energy and pride even on the other side of the phone. She and her parents run Jaipur Kitchen, which delivers homestyle Rajasthan meals to eaters around North Jersey. And they are enjoying it. Read on to learn more about Jaipur Kitchen, a food delivery service in Jersey City.

The Journey

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

Jaipur Kitchen was born “because of” the pandemic. Last spring, when the lockdown descended, her parents, both working corporate jobs, found themselves with a lot of spare time. As cooking enthusiasts — both of them grew up in households passionate about food and are known as the best home cooks among their circle of friends —  they started meal prepping for their daughter.  

Every weekend, they would cook a variety of dishes that could last for a week, and deliver them to Hoboken, where S.P. lives with her husband. The food — daals, vegetables, curries, and whole wheat rotis — hail from the most essential home cooking in Rajasthan, where the family originally was from. 

A few months later, when the lockdown was relaxed, both parents and daughter thought, why not continue doing it. There must be other young families who crave homemade Indian food but are too busy to cook themselves. That’s how a home meal delivery business, later named Jaipur Kitchen, took shape.

A Unique Cuisine

Jaipur Kitchen

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

Homestyle Rajasthan food, to put it mildly, is not something American eaters encounter every day. The cuisine itself is “simple and decadent at the same time”, as S.P. puts it. The ingredients draw from the region’s traditional agricultural produce — a lot of lentils, legumes, and green vegetables. Simple as the basic ingredients are, delicacies such as nuts, dried fruits, ghee, and natural sugar are used copiously in cooking, owing to Rajasthan’s royal heritage.

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Jaipur Kitchen

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

To some extent, the simplicity and delicacy of the cuisine are best showcased in home cooking. Cream and oil are used with restraint; whole grains and fresh vegetables are plentiful. It’s wholesome and nourishing, simpler than typical restaurant Indian food, which is creamier and more intensely flavored which we also love, but delicious in its own way. 

Niche as the genre may sound, Jaipur Kitchen became an instant hit after it was launched last August. It is popular among Indian Americans who miss the homestyle Indian food they grew up eating. Curious non-Indian eaters, some having traveled to India themselves, are also intrigued by the unique concept.

Jaipur Kitchen

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

S.P. told Hoboken Girl that the original plan was to deliver only in Jersey City and Hoboken, but inquiries soon began to pour in “from every town”. Now its delivery area covers most of North Jersey and is still expanding.

How It Works

Jaipur Kitchen

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

The weekly menu released every Sunday hails from both Rajasthan specialties and north Indian essentials. It features a vibrant vegetarian selection, which typically includes daal, different stews with paneer, legumes, or sturdy vegetables, and one or two flavorful no-gravy items. Meat dishes are more decadent, featuring many Punjabi or Kashmiri classics with nut-or yogurt-based gravies. 

Orders can be placed by Thursday — through Jaipur Kitchen’s sleek website — and the food is delivered on Sunday during an assigned two-hour window. Most of the dishes travel well and reheat beautifully.

On a recent order, Hoboken Girl tried — incognito — a cauliflower sturdy on the outside and tender inside, coated with a zesty tomato-garlic sauce, a paneer stew aromatic, with a hint of heat, a Kashmeri chicken curry with cashew-and-almond-based gravy smooth and rich, but not heavy or spicy at all, and a deep-fried pastry stuffed with spiced vegetables for snack flavorful, good for mopping up the gravies as well. Bread is fangereek-flavored whole-wheat paratha pan-fried flat bread. These lasted two meals for two people, and both meals were very fun.

Having Fun

Jaipur Kitchen

Photo credit: @jaipurkitchen

For customers, Jaipur Kitchen might be as much about food as the fun experience itself, be it revisiting old memories, trying new cuisine, or the simple joy of home-cooked meals. S.P. and her parents are also experimenting and having fun too. 

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Every six or eight weeks stay tuned, they would throw a daal-bati-churma tasting menu, a very traditional feast featuring sumptuous daal cooked with five lentils, hearty wheat dumplings dipped in hot ghee baati, and delicate whole wheat pastry baked with cardamom and saffron churma, along with other savory specialties.

“Very laborious to make, and very delicious,” S.P. said, explaining that the form of the meal is intrinsic to Rajasthan’s food tradition that “brings warmth to people”. 

For her parents, S.P. said, the happiest moments are when they receive messages from customers with raving feedback. “It’s their biggest joy to know that they really eased someone’s life, and gave them the option to eat healthy, authentic Indian food. This really warms them up.”

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Written by: Yiwei Gu

Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken’s coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.