Amanbagh in rural Rajasthan is introducing local Ajabgarh cookery lessons in a traditional village home in the grounds of the hotel. http://www.amanresorts.com/amanbagh/home.aspx Amanbagh is built in an oasis of mature palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees within a walled compound that was once the staging for royal hunts, two hours drive from Jaipur.
The traditional house or Gwaadi has been built to replicate a local home with mud walls and a straw roof with food cooked over a local mud stove, called a Chulha. Many of Amanbagh’s chefs come from the local villages and have brought with them recipes, passed down through generations of local families, who used to cook for the royal hunting party. Authentic Ajabgarh recipes often include game meat, with prominent use of yoghurt, chill and spices but not too many spices to overpower the food. Dishes that guests will learn to cook include Laal Maas, a fiery dish of any game meat slowly cooked and braised in Mathania chilies and yoghurt over a slow fire; chicken cooked in almond and cashew nut puree scented with green cardamon; a whole wheat dumpling traditionally baked on cow dung cakes and dried beans and local berries, similar to capers, with yoghurt and pickling spices. Inspired by the royal hunting expeditions, the hotel has also created an area, the Jhilmil Baada, where guests can enjoy a spit roast or marinated meat wrapped in leaves in a coal pit.
This style of slow cooking is called Khud cuisine and is still used in rural Rajasthan today. As well as roasted meat, bread and vegetables are also cooked over an open fire. At night guests can eat at both the Gwaadi and Jhilmil Baada which will be lit with candles and lanterns with fire-pits and charcoal heaters in the cooler months.
Amanbagh has been designed to evoke the palatial elegance of the Moghul era with forty suites with domed cupolas and private courtyards. The hotel’s organic garden is able to support nearly 80 per cent of the food requirements of the resort, with menus being adjusted to support seasonal growing.
A private guided walk through the organic vegetable gardens followed by a cooking lesson at the Gwaadi costs £68 for two people. Dinner at the Gwaadi costs £195 for two people and dinner at Jhilmil Baada costs £145 for two people. All prices exclude taxes. A suite at Amanbagh costs from £477 (US$800) per night.
For reservations visit www.amanresorts.com or call toll free on 00 800 2255 2626.