Fill My Recipe LLC’s Ethnic Spicery
No Fuss Indian Cuisine
Partha Sabniviss (l-r) and Sara Parthasarathy, the
husband and wife team who established Fill My Recipe
about five years ago, the idea struck her.
“I thought about what my friends who don’t cook Indian food who really like Indian food and I give them recipes, what are they doing,”
Parthasarathy said. “More than likely, they are throwing out a lot of spices. Since Indian cooking is my specialty, what if I gave my friends
the exact amount of spices needed to make a particular dish. So when I make a dish and take it to work and they say, ‘Oh, this is really
good, give me the recipe,’ I can say, ‘Okay here is the recipe and here are the little packets of ingredients so that you don’t have to go to a
spice store and buy lots of spices. Indian cooking can be really overwhelming. If you do go to an Indian restaurant and eat, they are pretty
expensive and you don’t know what goes into it. This way, if I give them the ingredients, they know exactly what goes into it and they can
make it as spicy as they want it.”
And the concept for Fill My Recipe was born.
“The initial concept was, ‘What if someone sent me an Indian recipe that they wanted to try, they would send it to me and I would then give
them the exact quantities of the ingredients for the recipe,’” Parthasarathy said. “If it would call for a teaspoon of this and a half teaspoon
of that, I would put that together and send it to them. And then the packaging came as a secondary thing. People like to see a product in
their hands and then they can relate to it as opposed to sending me your recipe and I would fill it for you. The Fill My Recipe piece of
customizing the recipe for someone is also one the things we do in addition to the prepackaging.”
It was a great idea, but Parthasarathy didn’t have a commercial kitchen that was required to commercially produce their product. The idea
languished for about five years.
Then last October, they found a commercial kitchen on Williamson Street that they could rent by the hour. Fill My Recipe was almost in
“That worked out better for us because we didn’t know what the market was,” Parthasarathy said. “This is such a unique concept. We
didn’t know if Indians would like it. Would non-Indians like it? What is going to be the market? So we needed to test the market without
paying a monthly rental on a kitchen. When the kitchen got set, we were able to move on it quickly.”
Their plans got delayed for four months due to their son’s wedding in December. But by April, their website was up and their packaging
had been printed. Their brand name, Ethnic Spicery, was ready to be offered to the public.
Each package of Ethnic Spicery contains the recipe for a Southern Indian dish and the pre-packaged spices for the dish.
“The recipes are not regular recipes you find in Indian restaurants,” Parthasarathy emphasized. “Some of them are, But a lot of them are
South Indian because I am South Indian. They are very healthy. They are vegetarian and vegan. That is what our specialty is. We are
vegetarians. And 99 percent of out South Indian dishes are vegan as well. We serve both markets. We found people being more
interested in the vegetarian or the vegan because a lot of Americans are moving in that direction.”
What makes Ethnic Spicery unique is how it handles the spices, keeping each one separate.
“With Ethnic Spicery, since Indian cooking is not about throwing everything into the pot at the same time, it’s about introducing spices one
at a time during the cooking process,” Parthasarathy said. “Then the flavor of the spices is released along the way and you actually enjoy
the cooking experience before you start eating. You get the different smells as you are cooking. With that in mind, I decided to package the
spices individually and not mixing it up all together. And you even create your own curry powder, which is actually a mix of several
Parthasarathy performs cooking demonstrations at Metcalfe’s Hilldale and West on Saturdays when time permits and will have a booth at
the Isthmus Wine & Food Festival October 18-19 at the Alliant Energy Center. And Parthasarathy says that once people try the recipes,
they have to try it out for themselves.
Fill My Recipe delivers the smells and flavor of no-fuss Indian cuisine right to your doorstep. You can’t beat the quality and convenience.
Ethnic Spicery dishes can be prepared in under an hour, from the chopping of the vegetables to taking it off the stove. Ethnic Spicery
packets can be purchased at both Metcalfe stores and at Willy Street Coop West. They can also be ordered online at www.fillmyrecipe.
com. Please allow 6-10 business days for delivery.
By Jonathan Gramling
Back in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Sara Parthasarathy learned
the family recipes for dishes like kidney beans masala from her grandmother
and mother. Before she was married to Partha Sabniviss back home,
Parthasarathy had focused on her studies. But she eventually became a
master at Indian cooking by spending Sundays at her aunt’s house learning
Parthasarathy and Sabniviss moved to Madison, raised a family and stayed
busy at their jobs at American Family and State Farm — they don’t talk shop at
home Parthasarathy emphasized with a laugh. Parthasarathy would cook on
Sundays and try to prepare enough food to last the week.
Later on, there were some things that she wouldn’t bake, like cookies, until
her daughter came home from college. And Parthasarathy would have to go
through the kitchen cabinet and throw out some of the ingredients that expired
and go shopping.
And as she and others were sitting around the family table at Thanksgiving .