• Sana Javeri Kadri's Pantry • 

 all photos by  Jodee Debes

all photos by Jodee Debes

Sana Javeri Kadri’s on a mission to build community by putting power in the hands of indigenous Indian farmers, and we’re here for it. She’s the founder of Diaspora Co, a spice company that’s disrupting and decolonizing an outdated system of commodification that profits only the traders rather than the growers. Her food style is an eclectic blend of her Gujarati-Jain-Muslim heritage with a side of Cali cool, plus a smattering of social justice. Like her life’s work, Sana’s pantry is v inspiring.

Check out this powerful, sun-soaked pantry with us:

Sana's pantry

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her style

  • "I grew up in Mumbai eating daal-bhaat-rotli-shaak pretty much everyday, which -if you’re not Gujarati, or raised by an austere Jain grandmother like I was - is just lentils, rice, rotis and vegetables, very simply prepared with minimal oil or spices. My parents spent the late 80s in Berkeley, CA before moving back to India so my mom was on the whole grain everything, tofu as cream cheese, hippie food train decades before I was. If memory serves me, I was the first kid at my school to bring tofu in my break box and it caused quite a stir. Since then, my coming of age and cooking years have been primarily spent in Northern Italy and California - so I’d describe my style as very vegetable heavy, globally inspired, pasta & cheese forward, with a side of California health nut and Mumbai-Gujarati aunty vibes. 

  • I photograph food and sell spices for a living so my whole world revolves around food systems, eating, food culture and agriculture. That being said, I do find walking through the farmer’s market and getting to know everything that the changing seasons brings in to be truly wonderful and never fails to remind me how lucky I am to live in California. That and being friends with farmers who are growing weird, wonderful, and important heirloom produce that you don’t see in industrial agriculture that they’re willing to share, educate and snack with you on! Befriend and support your POC/WOC/QPOC farmers!


markets & shopping

  • These days, it’s a mix of online via Good Eggs, Imperfect Produce and Thrive Market for staples, and then the CUESA farmer’s markets in Oakland and SF for seasonal veggies and inspiration. Ideally, I’d be able to take the time shop at the market and my favorite grocery stores (Monterey Market and Berkeley Bowl) all the time but that’s just not realistic when you work as much as I do.

 

fridge must-haves

  • Every member of the brassica family - kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, if it’s in there, we’re happy.

  • Good miso - currently working through a Good Food Award winning batch from Aedan Miso. If there is miso and kale in the fridge, there is always lunch.

  • Hemp or Rice Milk - nut milks are too heavy for me and make my coffee taste funny (except homemade almond milk, but I’d rather spend my time getting enough sleep than squeezing almond pulp with my hands), so I’ve come to love the creamy lightness of Hemp or Rice milk in my morning coffee/matcha

  • Chef Melissa King’s Gochujang Marinated Korean Short Ribs - probably my favorite treat to myself and the most luxurious thing to fry up on a hectic Wednesday and spend a few minutes savoring, usually just standing over the pan because why wait?

  • Cow Girl Creamery’s Red Hawk - this is a super fancy treat that we can inhale in a single weekend of heavy cheese eating but it is my all time favorite cheese and I wish I could afford it all the time.

  • I and Love and You’s Raw Lamb Dog Food - I have evolved into the obnoxious dog mom I once loathed but our 4 year old pitbull loves this stuff and I swear it has made her stronger and happier.

 

pantry staples

  • Bianco DiNapoli’s Crushed Tomatoes - they’re the very best and we use a tin a week! There are some things where you just gotta buy the good stuff and tomatoes is at the top of that list.

  • Curry Ketchup by Brooklyn Delhi - I grew up in Mumbai with Maggi Masala Ketchup squirted on everything, so this natural and whole ingredients version is my latest obsession! Also Chitra is a boss babe entrepreneur and someone I really admire in the food industry!

  • Just Date Syrup - my go-to sweetener! I no longer have a sweet tooth but I’ve still been caught on a few occasions squeezing this stuff straight into my mouth.

  • Bean Voyage or Red Bay Coffee - Bean Voyage is a women-powered coffee company that trains women coffee farmers to grow, roast and sell their own beans, truly decolonizing the coffee trade, whilst Red Bay is a black-owned, profit-sharing coffee company directly trading their beans. You really can’t go wrong with either.

  • Ancient Organics Ghee - This ghee is better than my grandmother’s ghee, do you have any idea how hard that is for me to admit? Like eating caramel butter.

  • Diaspora Co. Turmeric - duh, obviously. Usually eaten in some combination with the things above - ghee turmeric coffee, turmeric potatoes dipped in curry ketchup - SNAX. Not consumed in turmeric latte form, ever, because I’m just not that kind of girl.

  • Fafa Dumplings Chili Oil - Fafa Dumplings is a gluten free dumpling pop-up that makes the smokiest, umami-est chili oil I have ever encountered, I pour it on everything, including pasta.

  • Ryme Cellars Uphold Rose “For the Women” 2017 - a $15 aglianico rosé that is delicious, weeknight budget worthy and gives back to women’s rights charities, literally ticks all the boxes!


 

tools

  • I love my Vita-Prep dearly - it was inherited and is a little worse for the wear but since Indian food is often so heavy of grinding, finely chopping and blending, this thing brings me joy on the daily.

  • My handmade Japanese chef knife - I could not spend as much time as I do in a kitchen without it. Bought in a small knife shop in Kappabashi, Tokyo

  • My non-stick pan - this will sound super uncool because cast iron is so beautiful and hip these days but I can’t keep that thing well seasoned for the life of me. Call me uncool, I will stand strong.

  • A girlfriend that does the dishes - LOL. Probably the most prized kitchen tool of them all. I cook, she cleans, everybody’s well fed, everybody wins! *Thank you, Rosie* <3


 

cookbooks

  • Archana Pidathala’s Five Morsels of Love - literally the regional indian cookbook that Diaspora Co. turmeric was grown to be cooked in. Also so much beautiful family history and food culture preservation in this book! Tejal Rao of NYT Food wrote a great piece about Archana and the book that you can read here.

  • Julia Sherman’s Salad for President - a really fun book that I find myself flipping through for ideas all the time + Julia’s instagram is where I go for lots of weekend food project inspiration, she’s always up to something!

  • Chitra Agrawal’s Vibrant India - My go-to for her incredible dosa and sambhar recipe!

  • Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid Heat - this book literally taught me to cook and makes me so much better in the kitchen. I refer to it at least once a week, including this afternoon.

  • The Gjelina cookbook - so great for their sauces, oils and base pantry recipes. The most California cookbook I’ve encountered in a while and I love it.

  • Down to Earth’s First Food: A Culture of Taste - the book that taught me more about regional Indian cooking than any other.

  • Everything Indian from the genius and glorious archive that is Tarla Dalal - the Julia Child of India and my upstairs neighbor in Mumbai <3

  • Luz Calvo and Catriona Esquibel’s Decolonize Your Diet - an education in decolonizing foodways and some really wonderful recipes."

 

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To Sum it Up:

  • pantry item she can't live without: Ancient Organics Ghee! Without a doubt.

  • always in her fridge: Really good anchovies - thank you for this lesson, Alison Roman, and several bunches of kale because we’re those people.

  • her go-to inspiration cookbook: Archana Pidathala’s Five Morsels of Love

  • her most trusted kitchen tool: My handmade Japanese chef knife - I could not spend as much time as I do in a kitchen without it. Bought in a small knife shop in Kappabashi, Tokyo

  • adjectives that describe her pantry style: Women-powered and hot-sauce heavy.

  • her all-time favorite market: Bhuleshwar Market in Mumbai, Berkeley Bowl’s produce aisle with a quick snack detour to the onigiri takeout counter, the SF Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and Union Square Greenmarket in NYC in the fall when the apples are everywhere.

  • women she pines for: Sita Bhaumik of People’s Kitchen Collective, Aileen Suzara of Sariwa Kitchen, Kusuma Rao of Ruchikala, Tejal Rao of NYT Food, Abena Boamah of Hanahana Beauty and Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde.

  • women-made food products she pines for: Curry Ketchup by Brooklyn Delhi, Just Date Syrup by Sylvie Charles, Gluten Free Sourdough Loaves from Bread SRSLY!

  • her favorite music to jam out to in the kitchen: 90s Bollywood (bring on the Kajol + SRK duets) without a doubt - my dog wiggles her butt and wags her tail to the beat, too! THE CUTENESS.


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