Occasionally, I get an email that really changes how I do things in my kitchen. One such email came from Sandeep Agarwal earlier this year. He is the owner of Pure Indian Foods and wrote to tell me about his organic ghee. I was very interested but what really got my eye was his line of spiced organic ghee products. He sent me a small sample of the flavored-ghee and I simply fell in love. It is such a excellent and healthy way to add a touch of fat and a load of flavor to dishes.
I interviewed him about his lovely products and would like to share the interview with you.
He has graciously agreed to giveaway one 14-oz jar of Organic Ghee to one US-based reader of Life of Spice. Leave a comment here and a winner will be announced on Sept 17th at 4:00 p.m
1. Tell me a little bit about your self and your interest in food
I live in New Jersey with my wife and 2 kids. I have a bachelors degree in computer and MBA in finance. While growing up in India, my mother paid a great deal of attention on preparing fresh home cooked meals every day. This may sound very ordinary since every Indian family would do so. However, my mother is very careful in selecting the finest ingredients for the food and in the most cases, getting the raw food directly from the source. My wife is a great cook and she carries the same value system by cooking meals for my family. We do need to realize that it is not just the nutritional quality of the food that is important. It is the positive vibrations (or lack of it) in the food that impacts you as well. As such, eating home cooked meals from consciously produced raw material is paramount to our health and well being.
2. Tell me about your company and its philosophy around food.
My family has been in ghee business for the past 5 generations. I learned about health giving properties of ghee and also learned why it is so sacred in Ayurveda. I was inspired to continue the family tradition launched this business in the USA. We focus on the quality and not the quantity. We enjoy speaking with our customers, learning from them and sharing with them what we have learned.
3. What inspired you to create organic ghee?
I learned about the “factory farming” practices in the US where cows are not treated well. They are fed large amount of grains and soy (mostly genetically modified). This is a great way to produce inexpensive milk but only at the cost of quality of milk and health of the cows. I also learned about the difference between organic and grass-fed cows. Organic certification requires the cows to be on the pasture for at least 120 days in a year. However, we now know that you get the most nutritious milk when the cow is eating fresh green grass directly on the pasture. As such, we decided to make an exclusively grass-fed and organic ghee. This does increase the cost of the product as compared to the conventional products available in the market. However, we believe that small amount of such a high quality food will nourish you well instead of a large amount of a conventional food.
4. Please tell me about your line of spiced ghees.. which i LOVED. How many types of flavors, what are they? How did you come up with the idea?
I have an interest in Ayurveda where I learned about the concept of making medicated ghee (called Ghrita). In preparing these ghritas, a combination of herbs are infused into ghee through a process that is very elaborately described in ancient Ayurvedic texts. This process allows the lipid and water soluble active ingredients of these herbs & spices to bind with the ghee molecules. When you consume such a ghee, you get the maximum benefits of the added spices and herbs. We decided to give this concept a culinary twist by producing a line of herb/spice infused ghee products sold as food and not just as dietary supplement.
There are benefits to using such a ghee product instead of using plain ghee and adding your own spices & herbs. The infusing process makes the benefits of herbs and spices more bio-available to your body. It also saves you cooking time since the herbs and spices are already infused in the ghee.
Here are the six flavors:
1. DIGESTIVE GHEE- Ghee infused with organic cardamom, organic cinnamon and organic ginger. The flavor has a similar hint of spices used in Chai Tea; it is subtle but definitely adds depth. Great on toast. Tastes like a cinnamon roll.
2. GARLIC GHEE- Ghee infused with organic garlic. Perfect garlic tone – not too overpowering, but definitely mouth-watering. Great on pasta, stir fried veggies, bread roll, homemade pizzas (spread on the crust).
3. HERBES de PROVENCE GHEE- Ghee infused with organic savory, organic thyme, organic rosemary, organic basil, organic tarragon & organic lavender flowers. The flavor is similar to the fragrance of fresh herbs you find in the French countryside – Fresh thyme and lavender.
4. INDIAN DESSERT GHEE- Ghee infused with organic fennel, organic cardamom and organic saffron. The flavor has a slight hint of fennel and is subtly reminiscent of licorice with just a touch of cardamom and saffron. Use it on toast, hot biscuits & roasted nuts. Good for digestion and peace of mind
5. ITALIAN GHEE- Ghee infused with organic oregano, organic rosemary & organic Thyme. This is an Ethiopian recipe. The flavor is reminiscent of sautéing fresh Italian herbs from garden. Use on oven baked potato pieces, drizzle on veggies and add sea salt
amp; pepper. Fry onions and garlic in Italian ghee for your next savory Italian recipe.
6. NITER KEBBEH GHEE- Ghee infused with organic cardamom, organic cinnamon, organic coriander, organic cumin, organic Turmeric and organic nutmeg. Subtle curry flavor and aroma with just a hint of cumin. Perfect for lentil soup, rice, hot cooked peas and corn.