Zen and the Art of Cooking Outdoors!!

Zen and the Art of Cooking Outdoors

An age-old tradition amongst the women in the Rajput community of Rajasthan had led to a fine culinary practice in the region. The art of cooking meat outdoors by the Rajput men folk. In the kitchen of every Rajput household there would be a shrine of the Goddess and a newly married woman would spend a lot of time in the kitchen and was expected to do the daily rituals. It was because of this, Rajput women traditionally gave up eating meat once they got married, said an old Rajput friend of mine, Raj. It’s not that meat wasn’t cooked. When there were guests and meat needs to be cooked it is done in an annexe close to the kitchen where separate utensils are provided. You guessed it right, it was the menfolk of the family who would do the cooking. And the Banas, as Rajput men are lovingly called, are some of the finest cooks I have ever seen when it comes to meaty affairs. In fact I am yet to meet a Rajput man who is a bad cook. Talk about cooking and particularly meat and their eyes light up. During my stay at the 600- year old Fort Begu, the 70-year-old head of the family served me a different meat dish every day and shared stories behind these dishes with a lot of passion. He even cooked me a succulent lamb dish, the recipe of which he learnt from his mother. In fact it was his father who taught her this particular recipe when she arrived in Fort Begu as a newlywed bride. Since it was left for the menfolk to cook their meat, we Rajputs grew up watching our fathers cook, who would want us to run errands such as mixing the spices, pouring a drink while they cooked. Many a times I also accompanied our cousins who are elder to us for weekend outings, where they would cook meat outdoors in the countryside. I used to help and observe them. And as I grew up we started cooking outdoors with my group of friends, says Raj my friend.

By: Kuntil Baruwa

Kuntil Baruwa is our explorer-in-residence. He travels all over the Indian sub-continent to make friends with locals and use their recommendations to design unique experiences for the inquisitive savvy traveller.

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