25 October 2007

Dung Cakes

As well as for dairy products the cow is highly valued in this country for another of its products i.e. dung! Wherever the cow roams, sooner or later someone will come along and scoop up its dung from the roadway and make patties (as below) to be used as fuel for cooking. As a cow's diet is herbal, the dung's odour is in no way distressing, so don't be too freaked out with these photographs. In the below photograph, this lady is adding wood chippings and/or straw to the dung, shaping them into patties and then sticking them to the wall to dry.

When there is no wall handy, lining the patties up on the roadway also works!

From the old impressions on the wall, this particular spot looks like its a popular place for drying up patties.

The whole wall is covered and the patties will be left there until they are nicely dried-out ready to be used as fuel for cooking. Even when dry, when smouldering, the patties make alot of smoke and although the smell is herbal and aromatic, its definitely not good to be around burning dung cakes if you have asthma or bronchitis.

In the below photograph you can see a basket filled with patties ready to be used to cook the food on this open stove.

Not surprised this lady has chosen to cook outside her home, as the smokey fumes of the cow patties would drive her out quickly if she tried cooking indoors.


Eileen said...

I wonder how comparable the dung patties are to wood gathered from the forest? Do they last longer, burn hotter or have more/less smoke?

Arunachala Living said...

I believe the dung does last longer, and I expect gives off A LOT MORE SMOKE than wood. Wood probably fires up quickly and hot - rather like one's temper!