Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Should Have Known Better

I decided to prepare an Indian vegetarian meal for lunch today: carrot pachadi (with coconut, spices & yoghurt, one of my favourite recipes from Singapore Food); dhal; cucumber with yoghurt & mint;poppadums and Basmati rice. Why not improve the rice with some of the saffron I bought in a souk in Fes?
It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase from a general mini-grocery/hole in the wall while I was buying some argan oil, which works wonders on dry skin. At the time, it seemed to me a real bargain, saffron for such a cheap price!

If I'd bought it in Marrakesh in the wonderful specialty store with spices, dried rose buds, flower essences & nuts, I'm sure it would have been great.

Today, however, when I put a pinch of strands into a little warm water, the water suddenly turned pink. It should have been deep yellow, with a heavenly aroma. This fake saffron liquid looked like a pale version of Fanta Grape (one of Tiffany's childhood favourites) and totally lacked any fragrance.

It's not the second time I've been fobbed off with fake saffron in an exotic location. The first time was in Mapusa market in Goa, more than twenty years ago. A gramme of saffron is literally worth more than a gramme of gold — when will I learn?!

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