Chitra Agrawal's Main Ingredient for Home-cooked Indian Meals - Latest Global News

Chitra Agrawal’s Main Ingredient for Home-cooked Indian Meals

As part of Women Are Amazing Month (also known as Women’s History Month in the Food52 style), we celebrate outstanding women in the world of food and design. Is there a woman we should profile? Let us know.


As the child of parents from very different regions of India – a mother from Bangalore in the south and a father from Delhi in the north – Chitra Agrawal was influenced by two different culinary traditions during his childhood. She dabbled in South Asian cuisine early in her career, teaching classes, blogging and hosting pop-up dinners, but first she published her cookbook. Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklynthat she made the transition to full-time work in the food industry. Together with her husband, who has experience in food packaging design, she has channeled her passion and knowledge of India’s food into a range of high-quality Indian staples that you’ve probably seen on your supermarket shelves: Brooklyn Delhi. Her brand, founded in 2014, now includes 10 products, from Indian cucumbers or achaar to vegan simmer sauces and chutneys. Now her brand will expand even further this summer by moving into prepared foods. Here she shares her inspiration for making quality Indian dishes accessible and easy to prepare at home.

How has being a woman influenced your work?

Chitra: Being a woman has affected my work, especially my work as a mother, because I’m always thinking about how we can make it easier for mothers (and fathers!) to prepare a quick meal for their children want to bring to the table. That’s why I made our simmer sauces very mild. I feed my kids these simmering sauces, but I also have my spices to add more heat if desired. [Being a mom inspired me to think] about how to prepare a meal that is easily modified and can quickly feed a family.

Who is the most inspiring woman in your industry?

Jing Gao, the founder of Fly by Jing. She is a visionary and puts her best into the products she creates, from taste to packaging to branding. She is also an extremely generous friend, always willing to share her knowledge.

What is the hardest part of a creative career?

I have way too many ideas and want to pursue them all at once, so I find it hard to concentrate sometimes!

What are you most proud of?

What I’m really proud of at Brooklyn Deli is bringing the Indian flavors I loved as a child to a wider audience and also celebrating South Asian culture and its people through our brand.

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