Spice market: Smorgasburg fires up again with two India-inspired hot sauces

Spice market: Smorgasburg fires up again with two India-inspired hot sauces
Feeling hot, hot, hot: Chitra Agrawal creates her Brooklyn Delhi achaar in a church kitchen in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Brooklyn’s outdoor markets are gearing up for an Indian summer.

Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg will open up their warm-weather incarnations for a seventh time on April 5. And a pair of new vendors will be adding a spicy taste of the Subcontinent to the mix, with two different takes on fiery Indian condiments.

At Brooklyn Bridge Park Smorgasburg, Downtown resident Ashwin Alexander will be slinging his own original creation, called Tayzz Hot Boss Desi Sauce.

The sauce came to be after Alexander discovered that a traditional Goan chili paste made for a great addition to a slice of pizza. This got Alexander wondering — why is there no Indian hot sauce? Finding no answers, he decided to invent one himself, and last December, the first bottles of Tayzz rolled off the production line.

Alexander’s sauce combines elements of Indian cooking with more conventional hot sauce ingredients. It is tomato-based, with vinegar, sugar, and cayenne pepper, but also incorporates ginger, cumin, coriander, and other spices typically found in Indian cuisine.

“I wanted it to be like an Indian Sriracha,” he said, referring to the California chilli sauce often associated with Southeast Asian cooking. “With a complex flavor.”

Alexander experimented selling small runs of Tayzz last summer, and is hoping his Smorgasburg outpost will open the product up to a bigger audience.

“We want Smorgasburg to be our coming out party for Brooklyn,” he said. “We’re really excited to be at a place with so many food people.”

Over at the Williamsburg Smorgasburg in East River State Park, a Crown Heights couple will be offering a more traditional Indian condiment — a sweet and spicy Indian relish called achaar. Achaar means pickled vegetable in Hindi, and cooks usually make it with sour produce such as mango.

Chitra Agrawal runs a blog and teaches cooking classes that focus on traditional Indian techniques using locally available ingredients — an ethos she brings to her product line, Brooklyn Delhi. Agrawal makes a version of her fiery relish with tomatoes and another with garlic. And when gooseberries come into season, she plans to make it with those too.

The aachar gets it kick from Indian chili peppers, and Agrawal suggests using it sparingly — but on almost anything.

“It’s super versatile,” she said, recommending it for soups, sandwiches, and even eggs.

Agrawal and her fiance Ben Garthus started bottling the piquant condiment in December, working out of Saint John’s Bread and Life, a Bedford-Stuyvesant social service group that provides meals to the needy.

The couple said they are excited about coming to Smorgasburg, because it will give them a chance to guide people through their first bite of the mouth-searing sauce.

“It’s important that we’re in front of people and educating about it,” Agrawal said. “People might be a little nervous until they try it.”

Brooklyn Delhi at Williamsburg Smorgasburg (N. Seventh Street at Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, www.smorgasburg.com). Saturdays from 11 am–6 pm, starting April 5.

Tayzz Hot Boss Desi Sauce at Brooklyn Bridge Park Smorgasburg (Joralemon Street at Furman Street in Dumbo, www.smorgasburg.com). Sundays from 11 am–6 pm, starting April 6.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Hot stuff: Tayzz Hot Boss Desi Sauce combines conventional hot sauce ingredients with spices normally found in Indian food. The owner says you can use it on anything — his favorites are pizza, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese.
Tayzz Foods

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