HomeFoodAkshay Mehndiratta Goes On A Spice Trail

Akshay Mehndiratta Goes On A Spice Trail

Akshay Mehndiratta Goes On A Spice Trail

Akshay Mehndiratta Goes On A Spice Trail

NEW DELHI, (ANI) – The spices in India underline the rich tapestry that describes the vibrancy of deep culinary richness, each narrating tales from ancient trade routes, cultural exchanges, and evolving culinary practices that have influenced global food.

Akshay Mehndiratta, a passionate food blogger, leaves no stone unturned in unraveling the stories behind India’s iconic spices. His journey takes him through the varied landscapes of India, from the misty cardamom forests of the South to the saffron fields of the North. These regions offer unique flavors and histories, connecting readers to the very soul of Indian spice cultivation through the tales of farmers, traders, and chefs who sustain traditional methods.

The Cardamom Saga of Kerala

The lush Western Ghats of Kerala frame the verdant cardamom hills, their air perfumed with sweet yet pungent aromas by what is often called the “queen of spices.” Sprawling estates inside these hills cultivate cardamom using practices perfected over centuries. Mehndiratta meets farmers whose lives are deeply intertwined with the rhythm of cardamom farming. They share the joys and challenges of planting saplings and harvesting pods, a delicate process done entirely by hand. Mehndiratta traces the history of cardamom along ancient trade routes from the Malabar Coast to Middle Eastern and European markets. He also meets local chefs, showcasing both traditional and innovative uses of cardamom in the kitchen.

The Red Chili Diaries of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, a hot yet vibrant land, produces some of the spiciest chilies in the world, painting the fields in bursts of red against sandy stretches. Cultivation here transcends farming, deeply etched in the culinary and medicinal heritage of the region. Mehndiratta visits farms to learn about innovative growing techniques suited for Rajasthan’s harsh climate, including water management and organic farming. He discovers the cultural significance of chilies, not just as crops but as integral parts of the Rajasthani identity and festivals. The region grows a variety of chilies, each with distinct levels of heat and flavors, from the fiery Ranthambore to the smoky Bhut Jolokia. The author participates in local chili festivals, tastes dishes cooked with these versatile chilies, and visits markets filled with bright red spice. His journey underscores the profound influence of chilies on local life and culture.

Harvesting of Saffron in Kashmir

The journey continues to the serene saffron fields of Kashmir, where the autumnal crocus blooms for only a few days each year, coloring the land in delicate lilac shades. Kashmir, hosting some of the best saffron-producing regions in the world, engages in an intensive harvest process conducted in the early morning hours. Each stigma of the saffron crocus is handpicked, a method used for centuries. Mehndiratta witnesses this painstaking process and understands why saffron is one of the most expensive spices. He explores saffron’s cultural importance in Kashmir, its use in famous dishes like Rogan Josh and Kesari Pulao, and its role in weddings and religious ceremonies, symbolizing purity and prosperity. Conversations with families reveal the trials and pride associated with this heritage. Mehndiratta reflects on the subtle notes of saffron and its use in dishes beyond Kashmiri cuisine, gaining new knowledge about its cultivation and cultural significance.

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