Classifying the regionally diverse, expansive cuisine of 1.2 Billion people as “Indian Food” is about as descriptive a blanketing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as “noise”. So is this authentic? Probably not. But we tracked down 5 artisan makers capturing at least a sliver of the vibrant, aromatic and flat out electric flavors of India stateside. Put the take out menu back in the drawer and have at it.
Tipu’s Chai // Missoula, Montana
You mention Montana and most people think Marlboro man-esque characters on sweeping cattle ranges and A River Runs Through It. Well, Bipin Patel has been on a one man mission trying to make big sky country big chai country ever since he set up shop in ’97 and started churning out authentic indian goodness in Missoula. Patel creates spicy bold blends along side his Nestle Quik-ified version that doesn’t skimp on quality but packs pure convenience. Take a cue from a nation that knows a thing or two about quenching thirst, just follow the instruction on the side of the bottle and get swept away to Montana or Mumbai, wherever you prefer.
Tamarind Fusion Granola // Granola Lab // Brooklyn, NY
Granola is no stranger to the usual suspects of birkenstocks, brown sugar, maple syrup and dried fruit. But Granola Lab stirs things up with Tamarind, the sticky, sweet and sour pod like fruit found throughout India. We recommend topping off a dollop of greek yoghurt with granola, pistachios, fresh grapefruit and a drizzle of honey, wash it all down with an iced Tipu’s Chai to spice up any rise and shine ritual.
Carolina Plantation // Aromatic Rice // Darlington, South Carolina
Rice? Yes we sent rice. One of the most understated and unappreciated aspect of Indian meals. Good rice and bad rice exists …. and the gents down at Carolina Plantation are growing as good a crop as anywhere in the country. In 1997, Campbell Coxe had a rice day and planted 20 acres on his family farm near Darlington, South Carolina. Boasting the highest rating on the aromatic scale, the rich soil, climate, water and northern latitude makes Carolina Plantation Rice the perfect landing pad for Calcutta Kitchens sauces.
Calcutta Kitchens // Coconut Coriander Simmer Sauce // Norwalk, CT
Aditi Goswani packs 20 years of travel and tutelage into her small batched sauces. Short of jumping a flight to the bustling back alley’s of West Bengal she wings you on crafting Calcutta in your own kitchen. There’s no shame emptying the contents of a jar especially when few people have a chance in hell of replicating the delicate, aromatic nuances of these sauces. We recommend firing chicken into the Tikka and prawns to the Coconut Coriander Simmer Sauce, just don’t forget to nab some naan bread to sop up the leftovers.
Curry Salami // Chop Butchery & Charcuterie // Portland, OR
Don’t look now, but a new frontier of old world style salami slingers are butchering, hanging and curing meats all across America. At Chop Butchery, located inside City Market in NW Portland, Eric Finley cranks out top-notch salami in limited 50 lb batches to ensure optimum quality. His Curry infused stick is a no brainer with an IPA or any ice cold brew.