This Rajasthani Khad Ka Pind Was A Slow-Cooked Saviour For Soldiers
Image Credit: A dug-out pit and chicken coming out of it.

The Indian sub-continent is home to a diverse range of fares. Each of these fares house an umpteen number of cooking styles and techniques. The distinctive features of these regional cuisines is most often, either related to the use of certain ingredients or the technique of cooking in a particular way. Take, handi cooking for instance. The earthen clay pot features in a plethora of dishes today but the essence of cooking and serving a dish in the same pot has ancient roots. Think of tandoori cooking now. Doesn’t a tikka baked in the oven or cooked in an air-fryer differ from the one grilled in an open tandoor in taste? It is definitely a yes. 

Traditional cooking styles and techniques have evolved into modern and more convenient forms of technology today. However, the flavours and tastes of the original cooking styles have been kept alive in certain remote areas of the country. One such dish prepared with an age-old cooking method is Khad ka pind. Also known as Khad Meat or Khad Khargosh, this traditional Rajasthani delicacy has its roots in the sandy deserts of the largest state of the country. The specialty of this meaty delight is the fact that the meat is cooked underground in a sand pit. Intrigued much? 

Digging Out Khad Ka Pind From A Pit 

From rabbits to mutton and chicken, any kind of meat can be cooked using this technique. The idea of digging a pit and cooking food underneath bears resonance with the Bedouin community of Arabia which practiced a similar method of cooking. Such a nomadic style of cooking food also finds links with the tribal communities who generally prepared their hunts in this manner. However, the origins of this Rajasthani Khad ka pind can be traced back to the time when soldiers would be on the battlefield. Once the day light turned to night, any kind of open fire would be an indicator for the enemies to spot the soldiers in hiding. 

In order to avoid attracting any attention and giving away their location, the soldiers would dig a pit into the ground and place the freshly-hunted meat, wrapped in a roti and stuffed in a jute bag, into the pit. This would then be layered with charcoal fire and mud and finally covered with leaves and stones so that it can be cooked in hiding. This cooking would go on for several hours, infusing the flavours of the rest of the ingredients of the marinade with the meat. 

This served as a feasible way of surviving during battles as well as providing adequate nutrition to the soldiers. The royal hunting community of Rajasthan dug out these local khad or pits and went through their everyday routine while the meat seared under the intense heat of the sand. This unqiue style of cooking gave rise to the delicious dish Khad ka pind. 

Today, you’ll find several other vegetarian dishes being cooked in a similar fashion like khichdi that finds mention in Parsi cooking as talked about in Parsi Food Customs by B.J. Maneckshaw.