I didn't even know Ayurveda was a thing before I started making soap. I was peripherally aware of Ashwagandha and had always cooked with turmeric. But when you start making soap with roots and sticks and plants and herbs you start learning about all kinds of amazing things! And Khari Baoli was one of the amazing things I got to learn about because I've fallen in love with soap making.
Soap making is a blank canvas for my brush, and while I will always have my favorites in the signatures series soaps, I can't help but play with different colors scents and techniques. The Soap Travel Series was born out of the desire to go everywhere and the ability to go nowhere, when things were looking particularly bleak last year. Or maybe in 2020? Time honestly got a little mushy in the last 2 years. In any event, the soap travel series was born and it has been so much fun! For me and for you I think, as you've all been pretty wild about the varieties and have even helped pick some of them.
The idea of an Ayurvideic soap existed even before I chose the destination of India. I wanted to bring together all the spice and warmth I could with these seemingly older than time spices of Ashwagandha, Turmeric, and Cardamom.
So, I had the soap idea before I had the soap name. (Sometimes it's the opposite.) But this time I went hunting for a place in the world that made sense to match the soap. And I was delighted to find Khari Baoli. World renown as Asia's largest spice market located in Old Delhi, I found photos and chronicled visits from other travelers revealing a truly magical place to delight the senses with bright colors and delicious scents. What better way to celebrate those colors and scents than soap?! Or at least, what better way for a soap maker to celebrate. I can imagine a chef or a world traveler, or any manner of persons might choose a different celebration. But I challenge chef, traveler or otherwise to tell me this soap is a bad idea! Because it isn't. Its warm subtle spices are detectable but barely. I didn't want to use it and feel like I was in a kitchen. Though! Speaking of kitchens this soap also went an unexpected direction with the addition of eggs.
Eggs you ask? Yes. Why, you ask? Totally fair. Eggs thicken lather and add extra nourishing fat to the soap, making for a luxuriously creamy bar. Chicago winters are tough on skin! So I wanted a February release bar to feel like an extra hug in winter's chill. The eggs have to be whisked into the oil prior to adding the lye water, so temperature is super important or you will have scrambled eggs on your hands. A little whisking created a beautiful gold blend (our hens are spoiled rotten with kitchen scraps and grasses so their yolks are always a healthy orange) that I then added to the rest of the oils before combining everything.
So that's the story! If you're reading this in February of 2022 there might still be some left. If not these will likely forever be illusive as the work that went into them was a bit much! So truly once-in-a-probably-never-again bar that I am so glad I took the time to make but likely will never again.
Have you ever been to Khari Baoli? I hope to one day. I am spoiled in Chicago having access to amazing cuisine from all around the globe so I can often pretend I've traveled to so many unique and beautiful places. But what a gift it would be to see it in person. Maybe someday. In the mean time I'm going to go lather up with this magic soap and dream of warmer days!