The Spice Hut
Variety is the spice of life. We’ve all heard the saying, which by definition means that life is more interesting when it changes often and you have many different experiences. The same is true of spice itself.
The use of spices has been traced back to the dawn of history and been depicted in Egyptian tombs, hieroglyphics, and the Old Testament. Hundreds of spices are found worldwide and used for many reasons such as religious practices, medicinal benefits, and for flavoring bland foods.
For Mundir Sidhu, her love of cooking, teas, and a health-conscious diet inspired the opening of her store, The Spice Hut, now in operation for a decade. Born in India and raised in Canada, Mundir ended up in Bellingham raising her children and working in retail. She always dreamed of owning her own business.
What started as a dream to open an Indian foods specialty store turned into a tea and spice store when Mundir said she began falling in love with teas and the added health benefits of drinking them.
Providing clean, healthy foods is a value that The Spice Hut believes is parallel to that of the Co-op, and Mundir said that is why the relationship is a good mix. “What the Community Food Co-op brings into their store is the same that I would bring into mine,” said Mundir.
Tanvir Sidhu, son of Mundir and co-owner of The Spice Hut, said from the beginning the business grew as a result of their being conscious of the health benefits of what they put into their foods. “That carries through into all of our products—our teas and spices,” said Tanvir. “We don’t put something as simple as salt into our spice blends, so that people can control that for themselves.”
Both the Cordata and Downtown stores carry an array of The Spice Hut’s seasoning blends. Varieties include Creole, Garam Masala, Chinese Five Spice, and Italian, to name a few. Their spice blends are made with whole spices that are packaged immediately after grinding to preserve the peak of freshness. They are free of salt, coloring, and anti-clumping chemicals, said Tanvir.
Later this month, the Sidhus are proud to be able to add the 100 percent organic label to their packaged spice blends, and by the holiday season they will likely have finished the six-month process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified.
On any given day you may see a representative from The Spice Hut at the Co-op handing out samples and demonstrating easy-to-make, flavorful recipes using their spice blends. As a result of these in-store demos, The Spice Hut has experienced a rise in sales, said Michael Elkins, Cordata grocery department manager. “They have a real connection with their brand,” he said.
Over a nice cup of steaming “Twilight” tea, the Sidhus are positively passionate about the brand they have created. In the future Mundir would love to work with local cheesemakers and create a new line of products utilizing her spices.
No doubt, The Spice Hut will continue to bring unique foods to the people of Bellingham and to the shelves of the Co-op.
Mundir’s Berbere Chicken
- Place chicken breasts in a large pan and coat liberally with Spice Hut Berbere Seasoning.
- Marinate in refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
- Place chicken breasts into oiled casserole dish and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until done.
- Serve with rice.