SugarRoti — An Explosion of Flavor In Every Packet

A tuna sandwich to end all tuna sandwiches -- thanks to SugarRoti's Fish Nu Spice blend.
A tuna sandwich to end all tuna sandwiches — thanks to SugarRoti’s Fish Nu Spice blend.

I just ate one of the most delicious tuna sandwiches I’ve ever had — all thanks to Oakland’s SugarRoti.

This new, women-owned company that opened during the pandemic makes 15 different, single-use Indian spice blend packets of mostly organic ingredients.

The $8.99 packets are an especially convenient alternative to buying a host of separate spices that end up as half-filled jars gathering dust in your pantry.

The company was co-founded by Bina Motiram and Dana DuFrane, who met in the corporate world before deciding to join DuFrane’s passion for design with Motiram’s for cooking.

The spice blends, sold in compostable packets, are each designed to work with a specific ingredient, such as beef, chicken or eggs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match, according to your own whims. For guidance, each packet comes with a simple recipe on the back. More recipes can be found on the SugarRoti web site.

The spice blends come in one-use packets.
The spice blends come in one-use packets.

Just note that the spice blends need to be toasted or heated to fully bring out their flavors and aromas. They are not necessarily designed to be used as rubs on meats because many of the blends contain whole spices.

I recently test-drove some of the sample packets the company sent. That’s where that incredible tuna sandwich came from. I sauteed chopped spring onions with the packet of SugarRoti Fish Nu Spice, let it cool, then mixed that into a blend of both drained, water-packed tuna and oil-packed tuna, along with chopped celery, riffing on the tuna fish salad recipe on the company’s site.

What's inside the Fish Nu Spice packet.
What’s inside the Fish Nu Spice packet.

I heaped the tuna salad over a bed of spring mix laid over toasted slabs of artisan bread, then garnished with diced fresh tomato. I served the sandwiches open-faced to show off the tuna salad at its best. A blend of fenugreek, coriander, cumin seeds, ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne, the Fish Nu Spice made for a tuna sandwich that was redolent of chili-laced golden curry. With a fiery kick beyond the moderate spectrum, it transformed canned tuna from ordinary to simply extraordinary.

What's inside the Garbanzo Nu Spice packet.
What’s inside the Garbanzo Nu Spice packet.

I sauteed the Garbanzo Nu Spice packet with onions, tomato, carrots, and a little tomato paste, then stirred in into freshly cooked garbanzo beans, keeping them intact, rather than smashing them, as in the original SugarRoti recipe.

The delicious garbanzo dish made with the spice blend.
The delicious garbanzo dish made with the spice blend.

A mix of ajwain, asofoedita, whole bay leaves, cayenne, whole red chili peppers, coriander, cumin, dried curry leaves, fenugreek, garam masala, turmeric, ginger, the blend added warmth, moderate heat, and notes of pine to the nutty garbanzos that had been cooked in only water. The beans made for a delicious side dish for grilled chicken, then were turned into a boldly tasting soup the next day without needing to add any broth at all.

SugarRoti makes it a cinch to turn everyday foods into something new and exciting. The spice blends are sold on the company’s web site. SugarRoti also donates 1 percent of profits to organizations that educate and support communities.

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  • This is a really interesting idea! I used to be a purist when it came to flavoring my dishes — no blends! Had to combine all those spices myself. But I’ve been slowly ditching that notion in recent years. I’m using curry powder much more often these days, for example. The spices in these blends have to be much fresher than some of the spices on my spice rack — I should definitely give these a try. Thanks!

  • We loved and ordered products from Sugaroti for years. A few months ago I went to place another order and saw their site was completely gone. I reached out to them via email and no response either. Do you know what happened to them? What a shame they are gone.

  • Hi Stephanie: Oh, wow, I didn’t realize that SugarRoti was gone. I’m not sure what happened. I see that its Facebook page hasn’t been updated in a long time. And I saw on the LinkedIn page of co-founder Dana DuFrane’s that she took a new job in January 2023, and her involvement with SugarRoti was May 2020 to Jan. 2023. I think that SugarRoti must have shuttered early this year then. It’s not easy growing your own spice company, unfortunately. I, too, loved their seasoning blends and am sad to see their efforts end.

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