“I believe food should be delicious and that you should have a loving relationship with it,” says Supriya. “It should be aromatic, so your senses draw you toward them, and it should create vitality, so you have a sound mind and body.”

– Supriya Fraser

Over the course of the past eighteen months, most of us have become acutely aware of the importance of community. Of belonging, of shared experience, of connection. And many of us would be hard pressed to find a better connector than food.  

Supriya Fraser understands this so deeply that it has become her life’s work. That is, the creation of her delightful range of Indian spice blends – Kiraana – that allow us to connect to Indian culture and to each other. For those of us who grew up believing the pinnacle of Indian food was butter chicken, Supriya is also doing us all an enormous favour, by introducing us to real Indian food and its incredible diversity.

“Kiraana was born as a need to introduce the culinary richness of India,” says Supriya. “India is a vast country with its own unique culture and language of food, no matter which direction you go. So my aim is to bring this knowledge of its vastness, diversity and ancient food wisdom to Australian kitchens!” 

To do this, Supriya hand-blends delicious regional spice blends that we can use at home to create wholesome, easy, delicious dishes. While her original plan was to create an enormous range of 35 blends, Supriya’s realisation that she is a mere one-woman operation saw her reduce the range to ten. But those ten are something special. From Northern India’s holy chai blend, to Western India’s masala turmeric creation, there is something delicious for everyone to enjoy.  

“I believe food should be delicious and that you should have a loving relationship with it,” says Supriya. “It should be aromatic, so your senses draw you toward them, and it should create vitality, so you have a sound mind and body.”

So where should we start? If we really want to indulge in true Indian cooking, Supriya says we need to master a good daal. “This is something we eat every day in India. It’s so good for you, it’s so delicious and it’s so underrated. If you can master this Indian home cooking, then you have done very well!”

Supriya’s newfound career in food has come as a surprise for the trained journalist and former radio host, as Supriya was discouraged from cooking as a child. “I always enjoyed watching my mother and sister in the kitchen,” Supriya says. “But I was taught by my sister to stay away. She was ten years older than me and wanted me to experience more than being set up to be a housewife. She encouraged me to study to become a doctor, but little did she know that by watching her, she was sparking my passion in food.”

Arriving in Australia on a tourist visa in 2013 with her Australian husband, Supriya went straight to the NSW coastal town of Forster, where she found the community to be incredibly welcoming. “I was very surprised by how nice people were to me,” she says. “But I can’t deny that the first few years were tough, particularly when it came to finding a job. WIth English not being my first language, I had to push more and I had more to prove. I simply couldn’t do journalism here as I had done in India, and this is what prompted me to start thinking outside of the box.”

And aren’t we glad she did, because with Kiraana, we have the opportunity not only to experience this unique cuisine, but to support a small, woman-owned Australian business. Funnily enough, one whose name reflects the same type of business back in India. “In India, we have these little shops called kiraana shops,” says Supriya. “If you run out of milk or eggs or spices or dishwashing liquid, that’s where you will find them! They’re always family run, they’re small businesses, and they’re the backbone of the community.”

In creating her very own kiraana, Supriya is showing love and respect to those businesses India relies upon so heavily. It’s a Kiraana by name and by nature, and we can’t wait to try its delights.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer