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A trip to the spice shop


jogoode
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I've been meaning to start cooking Indian food, following some of the recipes posted on eG. But I keep telling myself that I need to wait until I can get some good spices. On Wednesday, I'm finally hitting the market. What spices will both provide a good basis for my pantry and allow me to cook a few Indian dishes without supplementing?

Thanks!

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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ok, here goes, as a guess

chili, cardamon (green and black), cinnamon, curry (actual curry leaf powder), cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, carraway, anise, fennel (that what i have)

good luck

Thanks to you both. I have a mortar and pestle, so should I buy cumin seed and coriander seed instead of the ground seeds?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I may have missed it, but I haven't seen a mention of tamarind yet. I recommend getting the paste. And you should have fresh ginger, though powdered is useful for some recipes (I believe I remember correctly that some of Copeland Marks' Kashmiri recipes called for it).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'd also add Fenugreek, definitley the seed, and the leaf if you can get it - in the UK Barts do a freeze dried version that is quiet passable.

One thing I use a fair amount which you don't often see listed is ajwain - I love it in lentil dishes. I think it is actually the indian name for lovage - but whether it is a different viariant I'm not sure (Be warned, it is powerful stuff).

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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One thing I use a fair amount which you don't often see listed is ajwain - I love it in lentil dishes. I think it is actually the indian name for lovage - but whether it is a different viariant I'm not sure (Be warned, it is powerful stuff).

I think I've seen ajwain described in recipes as "thyme seed" - but I've never seen thyme seed anyway in non-Indian stores... :unsure:

We (my family) use ajwain in matis - I don't think we use it otherwise. Matis are small, circular, crispy-fried, um, crackers (?) that just contain flour, water, oil, salt, and ajwain. Yummy. Are there other names for this treat? (The Punjabi side of the family makes them.)

Amy

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Thanks again, everyone.

I bought black mustard seed, black malabar peppercorns, hot chili powder ("reshampati aka lal mirch"), whole clove, green cardamom pods, ground tumeric, and garam masala -- 24 oz of spices in total for, yikes, $24. I guess that's not so bad. And I keep telling myself whenever I'm reluctant to buy some ingredient or pan that you can't cook without spending some money.

What should I make first? (Might be a topic for a new thread.) I already had ground cumin, cumin seed, dried whole chilis, ground coriander, and, strangely, asafoetida before today's shopping. (How do you pronounce asafoetida, by the way?)

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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I say "ass-a-fe-TID-uh."

On your next trip, get some cinammon sticks.

I'm not going to suggest what you make first. Your best bet is to decide what you want - Is it chicken? Is it eggplant? Lamb? Eggs? Fish? Spinach?

Then, we can talk about suggestions.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I say "ass-a-fe-TID-uh."

On your next trip, get some cinammon sticks.

I'm not going to suggest what you make first. Your best bet is to decide what you want - Is it chicken? Is it eggplant? Lamb? Eggs? Fish? Spinach?

Then, we can talk about suggestions.

Had some cinnamon sticks in my cupboard, too.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Thanks again, everyone.

I bought black mustard seed, black malabar peppercorns, hot chili powder ("reshampati aka lal mirch"), whole clove, green cardamom pods, ground tumeric, and garam masala -- 24 oz of spices in total for, yikes, $24. I guess that's not so bad. And I keep telling myself whenever I'm reluctant to buy some ingredient or pan that you can't cook without spending some money.

From what I understand hot chili powder and red chili powder are two different animals. You may wish to seek out the milder red kashmiri variety.

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Had some cinnamon sticks in my cupboard, too.

Then you're good to go!

One idea off the top of my head is that you might be interested in looking at Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Cookbook, which has recipes that feature various different spices (some of which you don't have yet but could get with another trip to a shop with a good selection of Indian spices). And of course, we have at least one published spice expert among us. :biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Just to add here. A good source to learn about spices, and an EXCELLENT book for great recipes too, is Monisha Bharadwaj's The Indian Spice Kitchen. A bonus is its beautiful and artful photos. It offers real value in many aspects, one being its explanations about a myraid of spices (plus legumes, rice varieties, etc. too). It is usually mentioned as one of the top "Must Have" Indian cookbooks here on EG. You will learn more about what to do with all those newly aquired spices in your pantry. :biggrin:

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JJ -- it's been ages since I've lived in Queens, but when I was in Astoria, there was a rather wonderful Indian market on Broadway and 36th Street (but is not there anymore). In any event, I recommend you get your spices at an Indian mart (places in Jackson Heights will do, although there's one in the East Village on 1st Avenue whose name escapes me at the moment). The place in Astoria for example sold a LARGE sealed plastic jar of turmeric for less than $1.50 and ground cardamom for $2.00. A pittance, compared to supermarket prices.

Soba

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