The mention of Indian food has always brought forth the image of thick orange-brown curry enveloping some sort of meat or vegetable inside it. But with the 29 states, eight Union Territories and countless regional and local variances, it is impossible to limit our idea of Indian food to just that. With a more generous heart and welcoming tastebuds, the regional food of India will be able to travel across the country, introducing us all to the marvel we’re overlooking.
In the early days of 2019, Richy Dave, a Mumbai based entrepreneur and Mischa Tropp, an Indian chef in Australia caught themselves stuck in the characteristic Mumbai traffic. What then began as a casual conversation of how Indian food is prepped in Mischa’s kitchen back in Australia is now Tulua, a range of authentic Indian meal bases, bringing the impeccable taste of Indian regional food to the forefront.
“Exploring food is an integral part of my travel itinerary. And I remember all my travels by the food that I’ve eaten in those places,” says Richy. With Mischa having the same experience, they both delved into the possibility of making this a product that would be available in the market. Within a couple of months of Mischa’s return to Australia, he had sent Richy the first batch of Ghee Roast, which is one of their final products now. Mischa made the move to India and after almost a year of ideation, setting up of logistical processes, manufacturing unit and even finalising the name, Tulua found themselves in a healthy space to begin their venture. However, right before their packaging material arrived, the Coronavirus-induced lockdown was put in place. With all the supply chains coming to a standstill, so did Tulua’s execution.
Having put everything they had into the company, the situation turned dire for Mischa and Richy. Unable to meet or spend any time together, the duo would question whether they should hold off on Tulua for longer. The possibility of Mischa returning to Australia till things got better also began to surface. The circumstances began to pressurise their mental health as bouts of anxiety became more and more common.
“If the lockdown had been pushed even by a week, we would have our product in our hands,” ruminates Richy. In May, after she was able to procure a pass to travel around the city, her and Mischa would walk 30 minutes one way to get to their place of work as no public transport was plying at the time, and Richy had recently sold her car for pooling resources into the company. With things hanging unevenly in the balance, Mischa and Richy found themselves making the best of the state of affairs. Tulua recently put up its three products – Butter Masala, Vindaloo, and Ghee Roast ready-to-cook pastes for pre-orders.
After all, what better time than now to offer people an easy way of cooking seemingly complex yet mouth-watering regional Indian food?
The aim of putting out regional Indian food to be recognised by the people of our own country is imperative to Tulua. “We live in India, why do we not know about our own food?” questions Richy. With plans to provide well-researched and accurate representations of food ranging from Kashmir to Nagaland, to Chettinad, Tulua is adamant to emphasise the beauty of typical regional Indian food.
“A simple chicken curry would taste so different in Amritsar, West Bengal, and Kerala,” says Richy. We are a country of diverse ingredients, but more importantly, we have the expertise of people from even the nooks and crannies of the country. The little tricks and trades of how to prepare a simple meal in the backwaters of Kerala could prove to be a Herculean task for someone in Jaisalmer. With this ideology in mind, Tulua attempts to package not just Indian food, but its stories and emotions along with it.
With even their packaging screaming out the use of local, fresh and clean ingredients, Tulua has kept ethically sourced products at the core of their values. From a trusted vendor to each masala being made from scratch, the team has its hands full with delivering nothing short of honest and fulfilling. Their idea of the usage of the pastes, however, is not limited just to the most obvious and straightforward dish. Tulua encourages people to for unconventional pairings as they did, with their cross of a humble aloo methi and ghee roast.
An undoubtedly precarious and overwhelming initiative so far, Tulua only looks forward to providing the love and attention the regional food of India deserves. They are hesitant to stop there itself however, the final aim being to allow everyone to experience the real India through its heart-warming food from the comfort of their home.
Capturing the essence of Indian food in a box, Tulua is here to eat Indian, feel Indian, and represent Indian.
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