Few people would argue that Rajasthan is arid…
The Aravalli hills remind me of a much more compact version of terrain surrounding Cromwell, my hometown in Central Otago New Zealand.
They certainly don’t have scale of the Pisa and Dunstan Ranges, nor are they capped by snow in winter but the terrain underfoot is just as rocky and unforgiving.
Tasty Food: Few Ingredients
It is not surprising then, that beyond Rajasthan’s royal households – the nomads, the pilgrims and the hunters perfected cooking nutritious and incredibly tasty foods with few utensils and ingredients.
Get a Hands on Lesson
On our India: Fabric, Food & Fabulous Ladies Only tour we stay for 3 nights at Dera Mandawa, a boutique property on the edge of Jaipur’s Old City. Our hosts Durga Singh and his family are keen demonstrators of this resourceful cuisine and we as their guests not only get a hands on lesson but a chance to enjoy the company of the family over the relaxed meal that we jointly created.
Cooking with Cow Poo
Of course we receive the recipes to take home to recreate but there is one aspect of rural Rajasthani cooking that we most likely won’t be replicating and that is cooking with cow poo!
Vegetation is pretty sparse (and in some places almost non-existent) so fuel for the fire (as it is in many parts of rural India) is made from cow dung. As we travel the road from Agra in Uttar Pradesh to Jaipur in Rajasthan we will pass many villages with large stacks of circular dung fuel cells drying in the sun and we are likely to see women hard at work creating more.
It’s another way in which the Holy Cow provides
So when we get home we will be able to marinate our Gaj Ka Sula in sour yoghurt and masalas for two hours before barbequing and basting with ghee but creating the unique flavour of food cooked over the smoke of a cow dung fire?
Our families and friends will just need to use their imaginations or perhaps plan a future visit to Dera Mandawa!
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