Almost 100 km away from Indore, Mandu tells the tales of Khorasani Imli's journey!
There is an ocean named after India and this feat owes gratitude to the fact that our country had established trade practices with faraway kingdoms, since ancient times! As a result of these trade exchanges, several exotic flora and fauna found their way into our country and one such gift, is a baobab tree planted in Mandu, located some 100 km from Indore. The fruit of this tree, called Khorasani Imli, is relished by localities and tourists alike. Tag along with us as we dish out more details about this eccentric fruit from foreign shores!
An ambiguous origin story!
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A giant cluster of baobab trees dot the landscape of Mandu, even today and you can spot one of these, if you are within the complex of Jahaz Mahal. The folklore attached with this specific baobab tree is that a visitor from Madagascar, gave a few seeds to Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, who planted them across his territory.
Some believe that the Caliphs of Egypt gifted the baobab tree to the Sultans of Mandu, who ruled the ancient kingdom of Malwa, sometime in the fourteenth century. Others believe that this tree came here from Persia, for its fruit pods are commonly referred to as Khorasani Imli, which literally translates to 'tamarind from Khorasan (ancient Persia)'.
After being deseeded, Khorasani Imli is sold in packets by street vendors here,along with other seeds and agro-based products. It makes for a good souring agent and is often used in curry recipes, especially imli ki kadhi. So next time you are in this locale, make sure you purchase enough Khorasani Imli to experiment with new recipes and eventually, give it a permanent place in your spice rack!