If you’re the type to spend any time on social media, you might have noticed Diaspora Co. cross your feed. The bright pink and gold branded spices aren’t just eye catching, they’re made with a purpose. Founded by Sana Javeri Kadri, the brand’s ethos centers around ethically and equitably sourced turmeric, peppercorn, and more from small farmers across India. By cutting out the middleman, Kadri aims to get the freshest product into your hands before it goes stale and because of her devotion to doing so, everything is made in limited quantities, inevitably selling out quickly.
I managed to get the turmeric and chili peppers sent to me as a thoughtful gift. My spice cabinet was nonexistent, courtesy of my cross country move. While I may have devoted an entire extra large box to instant noodles, having to pack random, half empty plastic containers of curry powder, cumin, and coriander was tedious at best and a waste of space at worse. Instead of dragging them back to New York City, I tossed it all with the intention of getting what I really needed and used. So these glass jars came at the perfect time.
As a spicy food lover, I immediately opened the Sivathei chillies. They’re known as the seventh hottest pepper in the world but as someone who loved to douse her food with Carolina Reaper (the official hottest in the world) powder, how bad could this little dried guy be? Since I had yet to replace my bottle of crushed red pepper flakes, I decided to alternate bites of the Sivathei chili with a slice of pizza. Let me tell you now: don’t do that. When Diaspora Co. says that their spices are fresh, they’re not kidding. My mouth felt like it was on fire after the second (tiny) bite of pepper. A little went a long way and I wound up sheepishly tossing the rest into a tiny dish in my refrigerator, saving it for later.
Turmeric is something I’ve grown up eating in large quantities -- it’s a part of Burmese food and one of my favorite dishes is a garlicky, ginger turmeric rice that I’ll use as a basis for my mom’s rainbow salad. The richer the color, the better quality it is but my ultimate test for a good one is the slight tingly sensation that coats my mouth when I eat large amounts of it. Diaspora Co.’s version is a deep gold, which is already a good sign, but once I made the rice and ate a few bites, that mild tingle set in and I knew it was as fresh as you could get, short of getting the raw root itself.
Given how good the turmeric and chilies were on their own, they’re even better combined. I used them in a salmon curry, made in my Anyday microwave set and again in a different, vegan beet curry. Next up on my list? The brand has a pretty delicious looking laksa recipe and the hot chicken sounds good too.
Should you get on the waitlist? Well, the difference between these spices and the random ones I used to buy on the shelves at the supermarket is pretty drastic. The flavors are definitely sharper and more like the plants they came from. It’s worth extra few dollars and makes for a good gift for anyone who likes to cook. Just uh, don’t eat the peppers like I do.
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