Nimbu Mirchi - Gastro Obscura

Nimbu Mirchi

These dangling decorations of lemon and chili peppers are meant to ward off a goddess of misfortune.

Beyond the gulab jamun and pokhara stalls selling their dishes in New Delhi, you can find the food that Indian vendors have created not for customers but rather for Alakshmi, goddess of poverty and misfortune. Walking along the crowded streets, you will often see seven chili peppers and one lemon strung together to form what locals call nimbu mirchi. As spicy and sour are Alakshmi’s preferred flavors, residents and shopkeepers hope that she will head to the hanging citrus fruit and peppers to satiate her needs rather than go inside and wreck havoc on their lives and finances.

If you look closely, you will notice that the peppers are hung just far enough outside the threshold to be close but not too close. One wouldn’t want Alakshmi getting too interested in what’s going on inside.

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