A Week of Indian Food: Day 5 – Trekking grub

When we were in Jaisalmer (our first destination, after Delhi), T-bone and I had the opportunity to go on an overnight camel trek. I’d gone on one years ago, and the romance of it was still emblazoned on my brain. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten how painful it was (like riding a horse x 10), and we spent the trip gimping around bow-leg style. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful trip, and included some interesting food.

No, not these camels. Wouldn’t eat these garbage sacks if I was starving to death.

We were served 4 meals on the trip – two breakfasts, one lunch, and one dinner. The breakfasts were identical, and the lunch and dinner were variations on a theme. Our first breakfast was served in our camel driver’s hut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The second was served in the dunes.

Feelin’ a little groggy before the massive sugar hit kicked in.

Anything tastes good when you’re out in the cold, but I have to confess that the breakfast combo was a little biased towards the carbohydrate end of the spectrum. On both days, we received no less than an entire loaf of toasted white bread, a package of cookies, fruit, fake jam, and sugar-bomb chai. Oh, and cracked-wheat porridge. Good thing I’m a pretty lazy soul to begin with, or this combo would have had me bouncing off the walls/dunes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bam!

Lunch included chappatis, a cauliflower/cabbage curry, and pickle (a spicy chutney).

This was the first plate. Our camel driver apparently forgot that he only had two clients, and cooked enough to feed six people. He force-fed us the leftovers.

Dinner was a beefed up (oops – shouldn’t mention beef and India in the same sentence) version of lunch. We had chappatis, vegetable curry, dhal, rice, and pickle. Our camel drivers cooked the meal over an open fire, where we all huddled against the cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Todd demonstrating a facial huddle.

The camels also had some tasty treats, including a sack of grain, twigs, and, when their buddies got too close, camel butt. Apparently, there’s nothing like a mouth full of filthy hair and faeces.

Camel butt? Where?!

When we left the dessert, protein was the first thing on the agenda.

Christmas Dinner(s)

It seems necessary to update you all on what we ate for our actual Christmas dinner. The pictures won’t do it justice, but if you really want to experience it with us, rub a mixture of oil, dirt, and curry powder on your hands, scent the air with a mixture of camel and kerosene, play a recording of cows grunting and digesting, and hunker down for a feed. Anyway, let’s start with breakfast:

25551227-160529.jpg

Toast, masala omlettes, and endless cups of chai on the roof of our ancient guesthouse.

25551227-160754.jpg

Lunch: Paneer tikka, Chicken tikka, and naan. It wasn’t turkey, but it was a smoky slice of paradise. It haunts my dreams.

25551227-161000.jpg

And finally, dinner. Malai kofta, aloo gobhi, and more naan. My face expresses exactly what I was feeling at this moment. The meal may have been followed with an Indian sweet – the perfect sugar bomb chaser.

Food wise, the day was a winner. On another note, it was actually really neat to experience Christmas in the dessert – the ancient buildings, dusty streets, and livestock made it easier to picture what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. I cannot imagine giving birth to anything in Jaisalmer, let alone Jesus. A fresh perspective, in between all the naan.