Indian spices are considered exotic throughout much of the world, especially in America's Heartland. But Chicago is precisely where award-winning cookbook author, health advocate, and television personality Anupy Singla opened Indian As Apple Pie in 2010. She now roasts and grinds 8 core Indian spice blends used in many classic Indian dishes.
Singla's primary mission is making her cultural heritage more accessible to the rest of the world. The pungency of her carefully roasted and ground blends including Chai, Chana, Tandoori, Pav Bhaji, and Chaat Masalas, as well as Sambhar and Rasam powders and Kala Namak (black salt) rival even those sold in bonafide Indian grocery markets. That's because they don't contain any added salts and fillers. "Growing up, we always made our own spice blends and the few we bought from the store never had added salt or food dyes. Unfortunately, these additives are now even found in blends made in India."
All of the spice blends Singla sells are from her own recipes which she developed over the years. "Gathering the right spices is the one thing that holds people back from actually cooking Indian food,” says Singla. “My spice blends provide the elements of Indian cooking to them in an instant making the cooking process simpler and more authentic."
I tried the Chai Masala, often incorrectly referred to as Chai Tea in the West, which is a balanced mix of cardamom, cloves, and other spices that add full flavor to Indian tea. But it's usage doesn't stop there. I sprinkled some on a fresh sliced peach and taste buds popped with the enlivened sweet fruit juices.
Looking ahead, Anupy just created a blend for Tandoori Masala and a blend for Pav Bhaji Masala (a traditional Indian vegetarian sloppy joe). Future introductions in the works include Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and Amchur Powder (dried mango powder).