Indian Grocery Stores

When I was first married, I was given many Indian cookbooks as wedding gifts and continued to receive them as Christmas presents, birthday presents, housewarming presents... Many of these cookbooks will try to tell you that certain substitutions can be made, and the recipe will be just as effective, and the food will be just as good.

These cookbooks lie.

Yes, you can try to make roti with half white and half wheat flour.

Sure, you can use those drab little brown lentils sold in every grocery store in America instead of whichever dal the recipe calls for.

Yeah, if you don't happen to have a spice on hand, you can omit it.

But I don't recommend it. No, no, no.

If you're going to cook Indian, find an Indian grocery store near you, and make friends with people who run it. It's very easy. If you are of the Indian persuasion, you will be immediately accepted and lauded for your embracing of Indian culture. If you are not Indian, you will be immediately accepted and lauded for your embracing of Indian culture, and you will also be regarded as something of a charming novelty. It's fun!

Now you may be convinced that there are no Indian stores within striking distance of where you live, but I doubt you're right. I live in Southern California, and you can't go anywhere here without being within ten miles of not just a good Indian grocery store, but a great one. But I've lived in Minnesota and found great Indian stores, I've lived in Utah and found them, my sister tells me there are even some good Indian grocery stores in Jackson, Mississippi. You can find a good Indian store near you. I promise.

Now, if you live out in the absolute middle of nowhere and never, ever make it in to the big city, or if you just prefer not to venture out of the house, there is, of course, the internet. All of the spices I mention (and so many more), are available at a truly niffty website, And let me just tell you, wow! I'd have trouble running down some of those things in India. (I once spent a whole afternoon trying to find oregano and thyme in Indore, India. Silly me, I should have asked my mother in-law first. She took me to the right place--a tiny little stall at a corner of some obsure street--in fifteen minutes.) All of the cooking utensils and tools I mention here are also availabe online. But it is so much more fun to buy them at the Indian grocery store.
Either way, and I wish someone had sat me down and told me this ten years ago, there is no excuse for not procuring the proper ingredients. Your tastebuds will thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment