Diamonds and spices have always been treasured by South Asians - often as a symbol of opulence, taste, and prosperity. South Asia's finest diamonds were historically mined in the ancient Kingdom of Golkonda (c.1518–1687) of Andhra Pradesh, India - the stunning diamond pair of Koh-e-Noor (Mountain of Light) and the Darya-e-Noor (River of Light) are both said to have been mined in the Golkonda mines.
War between emperors, kings, and colonial masters robbed South Asia of its diamonds trove - the Koh-e-Noor is now set into the crown of the English Queen and is on dtsplay at the Tower of London, while the Darya-e-Noor is now preserved in the Treasury of National Jewels in the Central Bank of Iran in Tehran. The jewels that South Asia did manage to protect and preserve were its spices. Millions of South Asian families have each guarded their secret spice recipesof turning the sublime into the exotic, from one generation to another.
In our quest to share only the most exotic spices from India, we scoured millions of neighborhoods and lanes, meeting many lovely people along the way. We built relationships with communities, sharing a bit of their culture by breaking bread (and spice) with them. Our experiences were humbling: we learnt to appreciate that South Asia's jewels are still its exquisite people and their most exotic spice recipes.