Ceres Foods introduces liquid masalas aimed at capturing the flavors of traditional recipes for home cooks in a hurry
For me the only way to make one sorshe bata do, the popular Bengali dish of fish in mustard paste, is made by soaking and grinding carefully balanced proportions of black and white sesame seeds. I didn’t mind going through the undeniably tedious task of extracting the right flavors in this dish that reminds me of home.
So of course I was hesitant to try a ready-made liquid masala. How can slicing open a packet yield the same creamy paste that I get by grinding green chillies, onions and ginger together? However, when Ceres Foods, aiming to bring restaurant-style cooking into the home kitchen, launched its mustard fish liquid masala with the promise that even a novice cook could achieve the same results as a seasoned cook, I was intrigued .
Following the directions, I took out enough paste to make mustard fish for one person. (The entire pack is intended for 500-750g of fish or a vegetarian substitute). My curry was ready in 15 minutes, and the results were quite authentic, offering a fresh taste and a pleasantly spicy mustard.
Like many pandemic launches, this brand aims to simplify and reduce cooking time for complex dishes. Her latest collection includes the sorshe bata I also tried (mustard fish). nalli nihari, laal maas and kosha mangsho. All you have to do is buy the main protein (choose between meat, fish, paneer, etc.), add Ceres Liquid Masala and cook according to the package directions. The company, which works with chefs to create ready-to-cook curries, sauces, hot sauces and frozen snacks for Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, also offers a wide range of Middle Eastern “Moi Soi” sauces.
Ceres Foods founders Deb Mukherjee, Jagmandeep Singh and Amit Mange also bring their hospitality and food industry experience. As professionals working in the food and beverage industry, the trio decided to combine their expertise to create a product that made cooking easier, but also guaranteed consistent, authentic flavors with preservative-free blends of natural ingredients. “We’ve invested a lot in research and development to get the taste right, which is why many restaurants are choosing to use the brand’s ready-to-use pastes.” This is Ceres Food’s first foray into liquid masala for domestic use. However, the blueprints for these dishes have been refined over 10 years for the food and beverage industry.
Deb explains the advantage of using a liquid masala over the traditionally used powder version: “It saves prep time. You also don’t have to store all sorts of ingredients year-round. Our liquid masalas have a simple process that makes cooking easy, even in large kitchens without a specialty chef.” Ceres products can be stored at room temperature (up to 35 degrees Celsius) and have a shelf life of twelve months.
Deb adds, “The need for the take-home liquid masalas grew out of our personal need to be able to eat our favorite dish at home, whenever we wanted. As we already supply professional kitchens targeting the domestic market, it wasn’t a big challenge. “He says they started with the most popular liquid paste to test the market and the response has encouraged them to consider other dishes.