We found ourselves at the Serai as part of a private tour that Jennifer arranged for us to celebrate a special milestone. The Serai is a tented camp in The Thar desert in remote Western Rajasthan.
The camp is stunning, surrounded by indigenous vegetation with views of shifting sand dunes and far horizons. It is set against the purple and pink hues of the desert and the gold of the local sandstone, with endless skies.
Luxury tent at The Serai tented camp, Jaisalmer. Photo credit: Serai
It was a surprise to us to find that water is available in this part of the Thar. On the road from Jodhpur, farmers were growing mustard, sesame, wheat and fennel crops under spray irrigation. There is an aquifer supplying ‘sweet water’ below the Serai, and it supplies the water for the hotel’s organic farm, a stone’s throw from our tents!
The farm is bursting with life in early Spring, with hens sitting on eggs and a cow proudly watching her two-day-old calf. The farm grows almost everything we ate – vegetables, herbs, spices, peanuts (yes, we ate a lot of these with drinks before dinner!), and grains. All the eggs and milk are produced on the farm. There is a reason the yoghurt, curds, paneer, not to mention the icecreams, are so outstanding!
Fresh produce gathered from the kitchen garden at The Serai. Photo credit: Janet Ruby
We saw the wheat plots producing green wheat for desserts and salads, and ripe grain which is milled by the kitchen for flour for breads and baking (cookies with roasted cumin or coffee are not to be missed).
The chefs generously demonstrated Lal Maas and an eggplant dish, and in casual conversation, we discovered the goat is also raised and killed on site. Likewise, the spices are all homegrown and processed. I was pleased to learn how to use the turmeric roots which I can buy locally in Melbourne to replace the weirdly yellow and tasteless powder in the plastic bags in the spice sections.
Tray of spices ready for cooking, and the tandoor and pizza oven at The Serai, Jaisalmer. Photo credit: Janet Ruby
The kitchen includes a bakery, and just outside a pizza oven, a tandoor built in a 44g drum and kebab grill, all wood-fired.
India IS Incredible! Paddock-to-Plate in remote Rajasthan.
If you would like to know more about our trips to India, please take a look at our Journeys.