There are two things that Balochis take very seriously and those two things are sports and food. We Quetta walay are a bit jazbaati (emotional) when it comes to cricket, this jazbati-ness is translated into the brilliant performance of our home team, The Quetta Gladiators. They came and took the Pakistan Super League by storm and that is what the Balochi spirit is all about.
Courtesy: Balochistan, An undiscovered Paradise
The tradition of gathering around for events is quite an old part of the Balochi culture. You know what else is an old part of the Balochi culture? Sajji. Yes, now many of you who don’t know the real origins of this delicacy will probably object to this, but be assured. I am not lying here.
Cricket is kind of a religion among my family and friends. Whenever a match is announced we either make plans to gather around in our Baithaks (drawing rooms) or head out to the open areas just outside the city with our radios. Of course we never forget to include food in our plans. By food I automatically mean Sajji, its just the way its cooked and served that makes it perfect for a cricket snack.
One of the oldest Sajji places in Quetta is the Lehri Sajji House. These guys have been around for the past 100 years. They cook their Sajji in the most simplest way, whole chicken and lambs are covered with salt and cooked on slow heat radiating from coals for over 5 hours. And that’s not even the best part. The way the dish is served is full of the richness that is characteristic of the Balochi culture. The Sajji is served with tandoor ki roti, Pomegrenates, salad and Hari Chutney.
Remember the India vs Pakistan matches in 1978 and 1984 that were held in Ayub Stadium in Quetta? Well, during an interaction with the owner of the Lehri Sajji house, I learned that the Indian team had tried out the Sajji there and they absolutely loved it. Ah!! those were the good old days when the city was safe for International Players. Never mind though, I am sure the same days will come back again. Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy the Sajji with the PSL Playoffs, rooting for team Quetta to win!