Back Story

On a passionate mission to empower everyone to cook delicious Indian cuisine with ease.

Harish with products

The Journey

The Seed: I come from a southern Indian heritage and grew up in Mumbai, the food capital of India, and my mom was an excellent cook. I was pampered with the best of South Indian home cooking and the best of street food. I came to the US in the year 2000 for grad school, with some survival cooking crash course from my mom. My occasional, much-anticipated visits to nearby Indian restaurants, on a frugal budget, always turned out to be a disappointment. Here is why…

I was caught by surprise when I was offered a choice: “How spicy I would like my order on a scale of 1 to 5?”. In India, you are never offered such a choice. The food in India is very flavorful with the perfect interplay of spices, taste, and texture. Spicy, or heat as it is commonly misinterpreted, is just one of the 6 fundamental tastes. Simply scaling one taste will only overtake every other taste and flavor the dish has to offer. Do you see the problem? If the very fundamentals of a dish are altered, the resulting dish will be off. I tried different dishes on a scale of 1 to 5 in many restaurants over a period of time. They were not true representations of the food I grew up with and love so much. The desire to do something about it grew stronger.

The Cultivation: The idea began to take shape in 2016 when I was volunteering in the kitchen at Ananda Ashram in Upstate NY. I spent my time recreating popular Indian dishes, chasing the tastes imprinted in my memory from India. Through this process, I learned the delicate interplay between seasoning spices (aroma) and fundamental taste spices, understanding how their balance can enhance the flavor of any dish. Guests were asking for recipes, I was on a roll, and I was enjoying every moment of it.

Vanlife cooking
The Bloom: The idea truly blossomed when I embarked on a cross-country living adventure, embracing #vanlife. I was cooking every meal from scratch every day, and juggling all the spices in the precise ratios I had developed at the ashram became very time-consuming. It was during this time that I decided to turn the spice ratios into ready-to-use blends.

The Harvest: I am thrilled to share the harvest of this journey. At Inner Flame, we sell these carefully crafted spice blends and meal kits so that everyone can cook delicious Indian cuisine with ease—better than what you might find in restaurants. Each blend is designed to bring the rich, authentic flavors of Indian cuisine to your kitchen, making cooking a delightful and flavorful experience.
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