Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Kayastha & Meat

Kayastha is a caste of Hindus. Kayastha means ‘scribe’ in Sanskrit, reflecting the caste’s traditional role as record-keepers and administrators of the state. During the many changes of Indian occupancy by Hindu Maharajas, Mughal and British, they continued to serve the rulers as administrators and Ministers. They are the descendants of Chitragupta Maharaj, who was according to Puranas responsible for recording the deeds of humanity (ref Wikipedia). Kayastha were ranked between Brahmins and Khatris. For the non believers of the caste system like I am, this history is only of interest so that we understand how Kayastha being almost Brahmins starting eating meat. There are regions in India where the Kayastha will not only, not eat meat, but won’t even let anyone cook meat in there kitchen – as happened at my mother’s family, yet other Kayastha - as was the case in my father’s family, meat was eaten everyday barring Tuesdays. Kayastha families, hailing from Delhi (Father’s family eating meat almost everyday) are very different in their eating habits from their brethrens in other parts of North India. I wonder whether this was due to the fact that Kayasthas from Delhi and surrounding areas were often in the employment of the Mughals when they were subjected to the non-vegetarian cuisines and method of cooking, and started eating meat. You will note from the forthcoming meat recipes of our family, we use a lot of spices and cooking methods used by the Mughals, which today is referred to as Mughlai food. In Delhi there are many restaurants which became famous and popular because of their Mughlai food. The current popularity of North Indian food dishes like Korma and Murgh Mussalam are just a few examples.

It is interesting and perhaps a topic for investigating that in the UK Korma is referred to a mild version of curry, where as in truth the Korma is a meat dish made with yogurt and nuts. In the recent years one is starting to see the true Korma even in the UK.

It is interesting that though my Ma never ate meat (my big sister thinks I am wrong as she believes our Ma started eating meat after her marriage), yet she started to cook for my dad. Whatever the truth, I am glad she was introduced to the non – vegetarian cooking as she made some legendary meat dishes. Unfortunately, she died at a very early age, before I became interested in cooking as a hobby. My sister has now become my biggest source of all Ma’s and indeed her own recipes, which in her family have in turn become legendary. Hopefully, I will be able to share most of these with you all in this blog!

The first recipe I will write is the everyday Kaliya. Kaliya is the term used in Delhi and UP for Goat meat; here in the UK of course it is difficult to get goat meat so we use lamb.


6 comments:

  1. hi rajiv i found this blog while google search for kayastha cusine and am feeling happy that you have shared a lot of knowledge please share a recipes without onion garlics as am going to be a bride of kayastha family and they expect that i make and know every thing about kayastha cusine...waiting for reply

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  2. Hi Rajiv,

    Roli Books has published a cookbook on Kayastha Cuisines. Its called The Courtly Cuisine: Kayastha Kitchens Through India by Preeta Mathur. Do have a look!

    Nandini

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  3. II कायस्थ समाज का आधिकारिक पृष्ठ II
    कायस्थ भाइयों और बहनों आप सभीलोगो का स्वागत हैं I

    KAYASTHA Community

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  4. I am glad you like it. Unfortunately, I have not written much even though I have prepared numerous recipes from all over the world and not only India, some of these are fusion of western and indian methods...

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