Indian-American entrepreneurs Nidhi Jalan and Kapil Bawa have got the answers to desi kids who crave mom’s cooking and for anyone who loves Indian food but doesn’t know how to tackle cooking it.

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The Brooklyn-based artisanal food start-up Masala Mama foods offers vegan and vegetarian options for their sauces. They use fresh spices, no preservatives, additives or artificial flavoring. Jalan and Bawa have simplified Indian cooking down to saute, sauce and simmer.

Start by sautéing your choice of vegetables, paneer, or meats, then add the sauce of your choice. The sauces include options like Tikka Masala, Goa Coconut curry, and Vindaloo. Lastly, let it all simmer together to create the perfect dish.

Kapil and Bawa have essentially done 90% of the work for us with their perfectly crafted sauces.

“You literally can’t screw up,” Jalan told the Cornell Chronicle in an interview.

Jalan first noticed a pique in interest in Indian food within the food markets of Flatbush, Brooklyn, but the complexities of cooking desi dishes deterred many. Jalan and Bawa decided to develop a product to make cooking Indian dishes easier, so they began with spice blends.

The partners attempted to sell their spice blends along with masala tacos at Brooklyn’s popular food market, Smorgasburg, which happens every weekend all summer.

While customers loved the masala tacos, most were not interested in purchasing the spice blend.

“We started making masala tacos, and the food was really popular, but people weren’t really interested in the spices; they wanted the sauce,” Bawa told the Cornell Chronicle. “That’s when we realized, we should be doing sauces. Because once you have the sauce right, you can add anything to it, meat or vegetables, and it’s very easy.”

Thus, the idea for bottled sauces developed and with the help of Cornell Food Venture Center. The entrepreneurs were able to bring Masala Mama to life.

Today, you can find Masala Mama sauces nationwide at Whole Foods Grocery Stores. The sauces are also available on Masala Mama’s website along with a blog filled with easy to make recipes using the sauces.


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