Local Producer Spotlight: Maazah
To many, condiments make or break a dish. Imagine a plate of steaming, cheesy, garlic bread without a dish of warm marinara sauce. Or sinking your teeth into a Chicago Dog without the salty tang of relish to greet your taste buds… Or worse… dipping a French fry into what looks like a glorious dish of thick, vinegary, tomato goodness, only to find a crude imposter disguised as ketchup!
Condiments really do have an effect on our favorite meals and snacks and the types of condiments considered to be staples on tables and inside pantries and refrigerator doors across the United States has been painfully short-sighted. Until now.
From mom’s kitchen to commercial kitchen
Growing up in the kitchen, the Sajady family watched their mother regularly whip up the best meals they had ever tasted, sans measuring cups or spoons, without a recipe card insight. It took some time, but Yasameen and Sheilla Sajady finally realized what they’ve been enjoying their entire lives needed to be shared with the masses!
Cue Maazah Chutney, a Twin Cities-based small-batch, gourmet chutney company, wielding a condiment that will actually go with anything. The recipes are inspired by those created by Yasameen and Sheilla’s mother, Fatima, who helped her daughters find their love of cooking, balancing flavors using fresh ingredients and working as a team in the kitchen. Four years ago, Yasameen and Sheilla set out to bottle and share the chutney that they’ve loved since childhood with one big dream in mind. Their goal? Become the “next kick-ass condiment” besides ketchup and Sriracha!
Fatima’s secret cilantro and ginger chutney recipe features a mouthwatering blend of fresh herbs and spices and is the perfect addition to any meal. Believe it or not, six simple ingredients create this bright, flavorful condiment you can dip, spread, or drizzle. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, vegan, low sodium, paleo, whole30, and keto-friendly.
But what exactly is chutney?
To the Sajady family, chutney has always been considered Mom’s “Magic Green Sauce” that’s present at every meal. Though its origins belong to India, chutney has become a staple in other Asian and European countries – including Afghanistan, where Fatima and her husband emigrated from in the 1970s.
Naturally, given the many cultures that incorporate chutney into their dishes, creating a unifying description of it can be difficult. Chutney can be smooth or chunky, cooked or raw, served as a dip or a side dish, sweet or savory, tangy or spicy… the list goes on!
However, one all-encompassing feature of traditional chutneys is that they were originally made by grinding fresh ingredients together with tools like a mortar and pestle. Today, most cooks opt for a food processor for less labor-intensive results.
What do you eat chutney with?
Traditionally, chutney is paired with rice, korma (a Persian dish of meat or vegetables braised with yogurt or cream, water or stock, and spices to produce a thick sauce or gravy), and kabobs. Maazah Chutney truly can go much further than these traditional pairings. Think tacos, eggs, vegetables… Include a dish of chutney on a cheese plate, mix it into guacamole, added into a chicken, fish, or shrimp marinade… Drizzle a bit on a slice to invigorate even the most simple of frozen pizzas.
If you’re craving a simple, but delicious snack? Enjoy Maazah chutney with pita bread or chips — you can thank us later.
Where did the name “Maazah” come from?
For Yasameen and Sheilla, family is just as important as flavor. To honor their Afghani roots, they named their company Maazah (pronounced “muh-zah”) which means ‘flavor’ in Farsi.
In Farsi, ‘maazah’ is a word used to describe great tasting food or a beautiful summer night. According to Maazah’s website, it’s the word used to “express something that satisfies your soul or something that hits the spot. Just like our chutney.”
Maazah at Valley Natural Foods
Currently, Valley Natural Foods sells three flavors of Maazah Chutney – Original, Hot, and Aoili. You can find all three flavors in the refrigerated grocery aisle next to bulk foods.
Learn more about Maazah on their website.