You Need These NJ Spices in Your Cabinet

by Peter Candia
Floyd Cardoz Masala Collection

Floyd Cardoz was a renowned Indian-American chef and restaurateur. His innovative approach to Indian cuisine and flavors left a lasting mark on the culinary world. Cardoz’s profound influence is still felt today. 

In 1997, Cardoz gained widespread recognition when he opened the groundbreaking restaurant Tabla in Manhattan in partnership with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Tabla offered a unique blend of Indian flavors and techniques with Western ingredients and presentation, earning critical acclaim and establishing Cardoz as a culinary pioneer.

In 2011, Cardoz appeared on Top Chefs Masters and went on to win—using the victory to further popularize Indian cuisine and to challenge stereotypes that surrounded it. 

Barkha Cardoz, wife of Floyd Cardoz

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Throughout his career, Cardoz played a pivotal role in elevating the status of Indian cuisine in the West. He championed the use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and emphasized the importance of highlighting authentic flavors while adapting them to the modern palate.

Sadly, in March 2020, the renowned chef and Verona, NJ resident passed away, leaving a hole in the hearts of New York and New Jersey foodies and lovers of Indian cuisine. His contribution to the culinary world cannot be overstated. 

Now, years later, the late Floyd’s wife Barkha has taken over to offer home cook’s a line of spices dedicated to celebrating the life of her husband. This mission actually started back in the 2010s, when Floyd was working long hours in the restaurant and Barkha was balancing the duties of several jobs, from payroll to parenting and cooking, in their home. No matter how busy she got, dinner was always on the table when Floyd arrived home from work. So, she assigned Floyd a task: to create small batch spice blends that could easily enhance any dish she made. He complied.

masala spice

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In 2019, Floyd and Barkha teamed up with Burlap & Barrel—a private benefit spice company that champions equitable sourcing and the uplifting of farmers to bring these spice blends to market. The line was set to release in 2020. Sadly, Floyd passed away before the project could ever be finished. Determined to honor her husband and bring consumers the flavors he was so passionate about during his life, Barkha picked the project back up and completed it. 

The Floyd Cardoz Masala Collection from Burlap & Barrel features six spice mixes that were a crucial part of Floyd’s pantry. The box includes garam, kashmiri, goan, green tikka, vindaloo and chaat masalas—each one versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes and ways. The spices contain the flavor profile on the back as well as suggested dishes to use them in. 

The vindaloo masala, for example, is best utilized as a rub or in a marinade for grilled and stewed meats, while the chaat masala is used as a finishing spice, providing a burst of umami to any dish it garnishes. 


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Additionally, Barkha has embarked on writing a cookbook of her own as well as starting the Cardoz Legacy—a mission to teach home cooks the value of fresh ingredients and bold spices through a variety of recipes and ideas. “Our mission is to bring the joy and flavors of Indian cooking to your home kitchen. Preparing meals for friends and family has always been how I shower them with love, and I hope our masalas and recipes do the same for you,” says Barkha. Here, you can find recipes such as Spiced Beef Kebabs and even a Tamarind Margarita.

These spices and recipes are part of a lifelong mission by Floyd and Barkha Cardoz to bring the complex flavors of Indian cuisine into Western homes. Following her husband’s death, Barkha felt uneasy about becoming the face of the brand, but four years later, she has fully embraced this celebratory collection. Floyd Cardoz was loved and respected in the culinary world, but the New Jersey chef lives on through this intimately-curated collection of spices. Through honoring his legacy, Barkha Cardoz is able to move on. 

The Floyd Cardoz Masala Collection and recipes can be found at the Cardoz Legacy website. 

About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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