Saturday Farmers’ Market Vendor Feature: The Masala Shop
This week’s feature is The Masala Shop! They sell hand-mixed spice mixes that are sure to spice up your life (and your food)! We interviewed Susheela, the owner of The Masala Shop, and asked her some questions about how she started her business and how she makes her spice batches. Cumin to the market this week and chat with her about her favourite recipes and how to use different spices!
How did you start selling spices?
People would come over and eat at my house and then they would ask me for the recipe. When I started rattling off the list of spices, they would kind of glaze over and say that they don’t have those or that they haven’t heard of those. So, I started making little batches of spice so they can take it home and make it. Then people told me that I should start doing this!
How long have you been selling your spice mixes for?
I started in 2013 but I took a break because I was here at the UBC Farm Practicum at the time. I got sidetracked by farming but then people kept wanting my spices so I started again last year.
What are your most popular spices?
The two that I’ve got here: the Butter Chicken and the South Indian Curry because they’re the most versatile.
Can you give us a rundown of the different spices you sell?
I’ve got around 20 on a list I’m going to create at some point. But the ones I have now are the South Indian Curry (which can be used on anything), the Bengali Potato Masala, the Kofta Kebab (for meat like ground meat, grilling meat, etc), the Susheela’s Butter Chicken, the Jimmy’s Feast Biryani, a Souvlaki one, and Masala Chai (and even the chai has like 8 different spices within)!
What’s your favourite dish to make?
Right now, seasonally, we do green moong bean with dill (and we use so much dill we end calling it “dill vegetable” or “dill bhaji” or Shepuchi bhaji – Maharastrian Style instead of moong)! It’s soaked, cooked moong, dill with green chilies, lime- I’m salivating as I say this- and I use the South Indian Curry. It’s really nice for the summer because it’s hot and cool at the same time and it’s also vegetarian!
There’s more ways to use the spices on her website here as well!
Is there anything you want people to know about your shop?
It’s like having a Spice Mistress working directly for you! I roast everything myself and mix everything. Hopefully I’ll be growing a lot of these myself on my own farm soon but I try to source organically and make sure the spices are ground within a week of market.
How long does it take for you to make a batch of spices?
Sometimes it takes me a long time- I try to get whole spices as much as possible because it’s fresher. With things like ginger, I like to keep whole dried ginger instead of ginger powder so I can control how fine or coarse the spice is ground as well.
Where else can you be found other than the UBC Farm Saturday Farmers’ Market?
At Granville Island and soon to be online. I’m also hoping to set up a little business shop over on Granville Island as well!
For more details, check out their website, their Facebook, their Instagram, or shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! The Masala Shop can be found at the UBC Farm Saturday Farmers’ Market on the following dates: Sept 14, Sept 28, Oct 12, Nov 2, Nov 23. Remember to stop by before you run out of thyme!