Masala Mahal… The palace of spices


Once upon a time spices were used as a currency…

In contemporary Indian cuisine a huge variety of edible spices is still used in order to cater not only to taste but also to many aspects of health.

We had various encounters with many spice vendors and their products during exploration trips to Old Delhi, in particular Khari Baoli, the spice market, which inspired us to create our own ‘library’ of spices and herbs. The spice collection should speak about their origin, look, taste and effect as well as their use for cooking.

Masala Mahal means ‘palace of Spices’ and depicts our view of Delhi and its many road side dhabas ( street restaurants) in which one can enjoy the most delicious food in India.

The spice-boxes – including the recipe booklets and relevant spices – represent a handy size treasure box for everybody with wanderlust as well as for the traveller who likes to carry home a tangible reminiscence of India.

We took all pictures in and around Delhi, India, Thailand and Africa. The photographes show examples of how uniquely food is prepared, displayed and served in India, Thailand and Africa – from neatly arranged vegetables sold on mobile carts by subzi wallas (vegetable vendors) to creatively hand painted advertisements for food stalls. Some sign-boards even prohibit the parking of elephants…


Bernd Singendonk and Cora Götemann

New Delhi

December 2004