Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan

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24909947_557661894592883_9215624292389628817_n.jpgThe Pashtuns (also known as Afghan and Pathan) are an ethnic group with populations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are generally classified as Eastern Iranian who use Pashto language and follow Pashtunwali, which is a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct1. Passing through a transition, Pashtun was a pastoralist community moving with their livestock around the year following clouds and foliage. Still almost half of the population of the Pashtuns are either pastoralist (Afghan Kuchi), agro-pastoralists, or small-scale farmers.

landi-meat
The meat is hung by ropes in the airy sunshine for drying.

They are inhabitants of the historical land (the Arya Warsha2) of Central Asia fortified with rich livestock keeping culture. They have their own culture/way of wearing, food production, processing & conservation and cooking etc. They are the custodian of nature and traditions of war and peace.

Landi meat
Dry Persenda meat. The meat is salted and spiced and dried. It is really very special and delicious

This article is about their unique and special food item, the dry lamb meat; called as Persenda. Sometimes this phenomenon is confused with the Landi (which is actually the process of making Persenda).

Persenda2 is commonly made from the lamb meat but occasionally can be made from beef, camel meat, and even goat meat. Among the sheep’s’ some native breeds are highly preferred than others because of the taste, easy in processing, juiciness, and muscle structure.

Process of Making Persenda

Selection of animal: The animal selected for Persenda meat is called the Landi Mazz. The sheep are usually selected/buy 3-4 months before the slaughtering. Free range grazing in the crops aftermath and additional amount of grains are provided.

1ST Stage of Persenda: In the month of December (dry and cold) the sheep is slaughtered, the wool is plucked by hands, and the viscera’s are removed from the abdomen. The cut of the abdomen is then sewn by a wooden stick from a green tree. The carcass is then singed by the flame of bushes.

Deboning and Salting Stage: Now the carcass is washed outside and inside to remove dirt, blood, ashes etc. The bones of the carcass are removed in a very artistic way that the meat remains in the carcass. Special care is taken not to puncture the skin which can result in drip loss (salt loss) of the carcass. The inside of the carcass is salted and stored in a shady, airy and dry place for 2-4 days.

landi

Cutting and Drying: The carcass is now cut in pieces and each piece is pierced by a wooden stick like barbecue stick but the pieces are quite big. The stick is then hung by a pole in the mid of the house which is called Landi pole. It takes 10-15 days to get completely dry. The pole is protected by thorny bushes to prevent cat etc. from eating Persenda.

Storage of the dry pieces:  The dry pieces are stored in sack /cloth bag usually woven of natural fiber. The bag is then stored in a cold dry room/place. The pieces are taken out according to the need of the family. The Landi is special cuisine and offered to the guests also. Afghan hospitality is very famous and special.

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Cuisine and cooking: The cooking method is so simple. Initially, the meat is put in hot water for a while to wash the additional salts used for preservation. Later on, it is cooked in a muddy cooker (Kataw). The meat is boiled in water and some herbs and spices are added. The soap (shorwa) prepared from boiling is used to soak the bread pieces in a bowel. The meat is eaten with bread after eating the shorwa meal.

cooked-landi-meat
Cooked Persenda meat,,,, Photo credit Malik Achakzai

References

  1. Pashtun Afghan; Available online; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashtuns
  2. Characterization and significance of Raigi camel, a livestock breed of the Pashtoon pastoral people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Raziq et al /Journal of Livestock Science 2: 11-19: http://livestockscience.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/slutversion_after_revision_av_Raigi_camel_till_J_Livestock_science.pdf
  3. Persenda Ark of Taste; Available online in http://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/persenda/

Note; for more details, one can contact directly;

Raziq2007@gmail.com

14 thoughts on “Persenda~Dry Meat Cousine of Pashtun Afghan

  1. Replies from some friends through Facebook are copied here.
    Abdul Raoof Khan
    Two type of dry meat , one is Landi and second is Parsanda, landi used after dry of meat within winter season and parsanda used all around the year……….. third kind is HUNDARA having high calories then remaining two types of dry meat
    It is also practice in Mongolia with goat and cattle flash and called as BORTS.
    According to Brahvi Baloch culture it is in the following lines written by my student Iqbal Mengal as;
    First remove bones from meat, then apply salts on meat it help in removing of water…then apply heavy weight on meat for 2 to 3 day. then check water completely removed or not………when water is removed then allow to dry on shadows not on sun light…….after 25 to one month then it will be ready

  2. It’s a delicious and a very famous food in Afghanistan used specially in cold winter season. I think the animal choosed for persenda is called landi.

    1. thanks for your feedback. Yes, the animal, the preparation, and phenomenon is called Landi but the dried meat is Persenda. There are some unique practices linked to the landi and persenda from processing to cooking.

  3. Very informative article indeed, i must say it is one of the most ancient dishes of world,Parsenda is called Khadeed in Brahvi language spoken in Balochistan and other parts of South Asia, process of making is same as described in the article, parsenda or khadeed is very delicious and has a unique taste, this taste might be develops due to the preservative technique of salting. Its mostly consumed in the winter Season as it is very protienous food and helps in sustaining the cold. Its often cooked in curry(Shorva) form.

  4. What some of you failed to state is that together with salt hing or associated is also sprinkled on the cured meat.this prevents it from flies and rot…delecious persanda😄

  5. What some of you failed to state is that together with salt hing or aesofetidad is also sprinkled on the cured meat.this prevents it from flies and rot…delecious persanda😄

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