Born in Bombay, young Sumita studied her grandmother's strictly vegetarian cooking and her mother's Filipino-influenced styles. Her first dish was making a tortilla, which sadly didn't turn out round!
After graduating with a literature degree, she went into the hospitality industry for several years. But it was when she got married, gave up her job, and had two sons that "the doors flew open" in the kitchen. She spent many years cooking for her extended family, both in India and Canada.
In 2011, at her brother Ash's invitation, Sumita felt she was ready to come to New York City and open a restaurant with no formal training. The two siblings scouted locations and found the former site of the Gold Star Diner in Bayside, taking two years to finally open the venue.
"It's like I started my life all over again. I knew what I was doing. So I put it in front of my customers."
The masala box is the root to Indian cooking. These spices are the most flavor. Everybody has to have this. These are the basic spices of any dish that you cook. Then comes the other spices. But these are the mother spices.
I received my first masala box when I was 15. I've always had this with me. This is one is when I came to New York. I wanted a new masala box for my kitchen.
I bought it in 2011 at Patel Brothers. Where else? You don't have to go anywhere else. You name it, they have it.
I CAN BRING A SMILE TO A LOT OF PEOPLE'S FACES WHEN I COOK FOOD.
You can put whatever spices you want in there. You can put your Italian spices in there. It just makes it easier. When you're cooking, and opening bottles and all that... I can't cook like that. I need to have it right there.
With everything happening in this world today, I don't know how to put it in words... I feel with my masala box, I can bring a smile to a lot of people's faces when I cook food. It's very hard to express in words. It means everything to me.
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