Jaisalmer Ghotuwa – A Desert Dessert

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The memory of eating the Jaisalmer Ghotuwa unspools the memory of heard songs, which unheard sound sweeter

The peerless Jaisalmer Ghotuwa

The peerless Jaisalmer Ghotuwa

It’s like a laddoo. Its parentage and pedigree are laddoo-like. The ingredients that go into making it are the same usual suspects – gram flour, ghee, sugar. And dollops of goodness born of love and something nameless that is evoked only by the crisp winter air rent with the strains of Kesariya balam

With my first taste of Jaisalmer Ghotuwa, I had a brief out-of-body experience. I was at Suryagarh, that regal magnificence of a hotel of which I have written before. On my second morning there I was seated at a table set for many, gorging on a halwai breakfast — and this I must add — as a part of my work. Yes, really. All the eating I did in the last four years was a part of my work until recently.

Back to the ghotuwa.

This rotund roundness of a sweetmeat sat on the breakfast table along with kachoris and samosas and pickled ker-sangri and calabashes of fresh fruit. There were darkly tempting kala jamoons and succulently crispy jalebis (as only jalebis in Rajasthan can be). And there were curious condiments like pickled wild boar and chicken. Yet, it was the Ghotuwa that stood out — the tallest tree in a forest of salivary memories from that morning. If there was anything I craved to own, to eat compulsively for the rest of my living years, it was this.

A Jaisalmer winter landscape

A Jaisalmer winter landscape

On this wintry day in Bangalore, far removed from the Thar, I reminisce upon the Jaisalmer Ghotuwa, and the memory evokes music. So let me leave you with a live recording of a Manganiyar recital that I recorded at Suryagarh last year. This is the memory that the ghotuwa has imprinted in my mind.

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