Peacocks, Fenugreek and Blue Pottery.
In exotic Jaipur, I am having breakfast after a short but wondrous visit and am feeling adventurous. After all, we have surveyed the city from 2000+ feet above it in a sunrise hot air balloon ride, entered the courtyard of the magnificent Amber Palace dating from 1592 on top of an elephant just as royalty used to do in the days of kings and maharajahs, and encountered peacocks who appeared magically in the garden outside our hotel room just after I verbalized my desire to see some.
So to accompany the elegant “western-style” breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon which I ordered, I go up to the “Indian” side of the buffet table and take a generous serving of vermicelli. When I take my first bite of the vermicelli, there is a divine explosion of flavor in my mouth. I can taste the onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilies, but there is something else I don’t associate with vermicelli and can’t identify. I ask the chef when he comes by what the little flavorful seeds are that add such a punch to the dish. “Coriander seeds” is his reply, and then we chat a bit about Indian food, including “fenugreek” which I say interests me. He asks me to wait a brief moment.
To my delight, he returns with a tasting of fresh coriander (“cilantro”), ground fenugreek leaves, fresh fenugreek, and fenugreek seeds (see the photo above). But that is just the beginning … When I finish my tasting, he asks me to wait again for a moment, and then returns with the herbs and seeds, each in a sealed package along with the famous “blue pottery of Jaipur” which I had previously admired.
I have learned in Jaipur — be careful what you wish for, or it may become yours. Luckily, I only wished to “see” the peacocks, not to bring them home.
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