This perfect pairing comes from Anita Jaisinghani, chef/owner of Pondicheri in both Houston and New York City. The first stop she recommended was Parivar Grocers in the Mahatma Gandhi district for Nirav brand pickles and ghee.
The Sweet Lemon Pickle and Extra Hot Methia Lemon Pickle are sweet and spicy respectively; two different wavelengths of sour, both LOUD. While initially in search for Nirav lime pickle, I could only find lemon. She explained they're very similar, but lemon pickle is more common because they have a larger rind, and for those who enjoy this treat, it's all about the rind.
The gentleman at Parivar Grocers recommended the brand Amul Ghee, which comes in a can. Jaisinghani also confirmed that while she makes her own, this was a good brand and in fact comes from her hometown, Gujarat.
Ghee is clarified butter; which means it's butter that has been cooked to where the milk solids evaporate or are strained out. When butter is thrown into a hot pan, it browns; that's the milk solids burning. When ghee or clarified butter hit a hot pan it smokes without burning; i.e. the most flavorful way to sear things.
One of my favorite parts about the Indian, Ayurveydic culture is how they recommend a spoonful of ghee every day. Jaisinghani explained that as our bodies get older, they dry out. Ghee helps with that; she also said that many of her patrons in New York City will swing by in the morning just to buy a little portion of ghee.
I don't know what makes my heart thump more; that recommendation or the obscene amounts I spooned on top of the toasted slice of freshly baked loaf. If there isn't a small pool of ghee under your toast; well, there should be.
Remember, if you find the loaf of your dreams, get two so you can throw one in the freezer— it will come back to life in the oven. That was not a metaphor for dating.
But for real, keep your freezer stocked— you never know when the Roca brothers and their entourage are going to swing by your after party. You never know.
At Parivar Grocers,6655 Harwin, in the Mahatma Ghandi District of Houston, a one pound jar of Amul Ghee costs $7, and two pound jars of Nirav pickles cost $5 each. At Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop, 2400 Kirby/ Suite 240, a pre-ordered loaf of whole wheat sesame seed bread costs about $12.