One of the greatest aspects of Indian culture is the importance of nuclear family dinners featuring fresh, homemade food. But how many of us completely took this for granted growing up? How many of us were once embarrassed by our all-too-fragrant leftover lunches in middle school only to begrudgingly share them in college? Now we can’t seem to get enough of our mom’s homemade cooking. But as our generation evolves, it seems that we sadly don’t have time to adopt this valuable heirloom. Instead, we rely heavily on meal kit remedies like Blue Apron & Hello Fresh that lack authenticity when it comes to Indian meals or those flavorful but sodium-overdosed packets from Indian grocery stores that questionably don’t need to be cooked. 🤔
Realizing the lack of healthier alternatives Seattle-native Mitra Raman started The Buttermilk Co: authentic, homemade, fresh, vegan, preservative-free, locally-sourced meal kit packets featuring Indian favorites like Kichidi, Daal, Rasam, Sambhar, and Upma. The best part about these packets is the essentially instant gratification. There is virtually no prep – you just have to add each packet to some boiling water.
Curious, we wanted to try some of The Buttermilk Co’s packets. We couldn’t decide on flavors so we opted for a classic pairing: Daal & Kichidi. As promised, our packets arrived within 2-3 days from ordering in a special thermal envelope with refrigeration packs inside to keep our goodies fresh. We wanted to test the shelf-life, flavor, and ease of the packets so we waited to cook our packets until the last day listed. As per the instructions, we add each packet to a prescribed amount of boiling water and cooked until our desired consistency was reached.
Pictured Above: The Buttermilk Co’s Kichidi
Immediately we were impressed with the packaging, presentation and clarity of instructions. Both the Daal & Kichidi were easy to prepare. It is important to note that each packet has a difference serving size, so be mindful when ordering as a pair. The packets were extremely fragrant, fresh and authentic – there were actual rye (mustard seeds) and currypatha (curry leave) in our Daal packet which tasted just like homemade yellow tadka daal. We could literally smell the hing (asafetida)! The kichidi was also really delicious but had a texture more similar to Upma which we weren’t familiar with. Nonetheless it tasted great and paired really well with the Daal. Overall, we cook almost everyday and often cook Indian food so to have a meal kit that tastes as good as what we make at home was exciting not just for our tastebuds but for our time! We will definitely be trying more of The Buttermilk Co’s varieties so that we can do more of our favorite things like Netflix & chill.
Pictured Above: The Buttermilk Co’s Daal
MEET MITRA RAMAN
We got a chance to talk with Mitra Raman, The Buttermilk Co founder, about everything from how this all started to her favorite Bollywood movie.
For our readers who haven’t yet been introduced yet, what is The Buttermilk Co?
MR: The Buttermilk Company is a direct-to-consumer business focused on bringing authentic and simple recipes from different cuisines to an American audience. We curate recipes from the local community and develop meal “packets” that are filled with fresh ingredients. All you have to do is just add water to make a healthy meal! You can order as many packets as you want online and we’ll deliver to you within 2-3 days. We launched in the Seattle area with 5 Indian recipes (+ basmati rice!) that are all healthy, vegan, non-GMO, and free of preservatives.
How did The Buttermilk Co come about?
MR: I had just moved back to Seattle after college (I grew up in the neighboring city of Bellevue) and was visiting home one day. I was telling my mom that I missed her rasam but didn’t know how to make it myself or have the ingredients to do it. She just packed up the ingredients into a Ziploc bag + told me all I needed to do was add water to make fresh rasam myself! I couldn’t believe it. My friends kept asking me for my mom’s rasam “packets”, and after talking to them I realized that their parents also made similar packets of their favorite foods. It seemed like all this knowledge & natural creativity was going to waste, and there was a whole generation of people who couldn’t get access to their favorite foods.
Where did the name The Buttermilk Co come from?
MR: As a South Indian, I grew up on eating tons of rice mixed with buttermilk. It’s a comfort food for many South Indians that’s usually eaten at the end of a meal or as a snack. My goal for the company is that it brings a sense of comfort & home to everyone who experiences it, so I couldn’t think of a better name to evoke the feelings of comfort & home for me!
Currently The Buttermilk Co is only available in Seattle, what cities do you hope to expand to next?
MR: Seattle is a diverse community super supportive of small businesses so we’re excited to launch our Beta here. Surprisingly (and fortunately!) we’ve already gotten requests to expand to other cities through our website including New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Chicago. We would love to expand to all of these cities & more as soon as possible! But I guess we’ll really make our decisions based on demand & research into the specific markets. So, keep letting us know where you want us to come next, we’re listening!
The Buttermilk Co currently offers Khichdi, Rasam, Sambar, Daal, Upma, and Basmati Rice. What are some upcoming additions?
MR: I wish I could say! We launched with these dishes because they evoked the simplicity + comfort of both South and North Indian cuisines and were widely well-known among other cultural communities. Soon we’ll not only be adding new recipes to our existing menu, but we’re hoping to also expand our offerings to include sides, grains, curries, and maybe even drinks (South Indian coffee, anyone?!)
When you were growing up, what was your absolute favorite dish your mom would whip up? You know, the one that makes you salivate just thinking about it, was requested on many a birthday dinners and hands down no one makes better??
MR: I love everything my mom makes (no joke) but my absolute favorite thing is her rasam and okra. Her rasam is actually the reason I decided to start Buttermilk in the first place! We’re using her recipe exactly so everyone else gets to try it + see why I love it so much 🙂
We like to ask every foodie this, but what are 3 ingredients/items that are always stocked in your kitchen or always seem to make your grocery list?
MR: Cilantro (I could eat a bushel by itself), eggs (currently obsessed for some reason), and chili powder (South Indians love their spice!)
American sweets or Indian?
What’s your personal favorite Buttermilk Co packet?
MR: Surprisingly, the sambar! I’m not a big sambar person to begin with, but I really love our recipe + how easy it is to make.
Favorite Bollywood movie?
MR: Ooh, this is tough. The 90s and early 2000s had so many classics I can’t possibly choose. But I’m always down to watch Bollywood movies or listen to some old-school Hindi songs!
To find out more information about The Buttermilk Co and their delicious packets check out their website here. Be sure to also follow them on Instagram & Facebook to stay up-to-date with their latest releases!