Indian food was just not my cup of chai, or so I thought!
An unfortunate Indian restaurant meal had turned me off for good. Then, ten years, and many Indian dishes later, I created Modern Day Masala, my own line of Indian spice mixtures. How did I get here?
1 Dinner 2 Favors 3 Dreams
My husband’s family is originally from India and moved to the US when he was just a little boy. When we first visited Ravi’s mother in North Carolina, she had spent days preparing traditional dishes (even though she had been warned I wouldn’t eat them.) Because I didn’t want to offend her, I tasted everything. To my surprise, I loved it all. That dinner completely changed my opinion of Indian cuisine, and I began learning as much as possible from my mother-in-law and husband about Indian cooking.
Because Indian food is prepared so often by taste, rather than by recipe, I spent many visits shadowing her in the kitchen, making notes, and tasting, tasting, tasting.
In the years that followed, I pored over Indian cookbooks, worked on my kitchen notes from cooking with my mother-in-law, and inherited a set of recipes that Ravi’s father had developed in hopes of opening a restaurant. I adapted them and cooked often.
When my daughter’s yoga instructor told me how much she loved Indian food, I offered to cook for her. She and other friends were intrigued with the idea of making Indian food at home, and they asked me to teach them.
Those two initial favors led to more requests. Word spread quickly, and soon my calendar was filled with teaching Indian cuisine classes from my own kitchen. As a group, we would select the menu, prepare it, and dine together. New friends were made over butter chicken, spicy coconut okra, carrot souffle, and creamy spinach.
One day, to be better prepared, I ground, toasted, and mixed the fresh spices needed for the next class ahead of time. When the participants learned what I had handy, they purchased them all!
I realized then that I could make it easy to create Indian food at home by selecting, preparing, and mixing the unique spice blends so that a cook only needed to add a few fresh ingredients to create a restaurant-quality meal.
More favors from family members who labeled bags, attached recipe cards, and sampled new dishes in hopes of an elaborate title in the company and I was now on my way to a business and a dream come true.
When I embarked on this journey, I didn’t know that my dream of creating a business built on my culinary passions was shared by both my husband’s parents. But it was. My mother-in-law hoped to share her food with others, without taking time away from her family. My father-in-law envisioned a way to take the labor and guesswork out of Indian spice preparation for novice cooks.
Today, I am doing what they had hoped was possible, with my family. My husband and our two daughters serve as recipe testers, providing input every step of the way. And my mother-in-law feels honored that the seed for Modern Day Masala was planted in her kitchen. Our dreams are being realized when we help others prepare healthy, delicious food that they can share with family and friends.