Indian Food Shopping 

Today, we went to India. Not the country of India, but a grocery store by the name of India Bazaar in Plano. Because we love curry and tikka masala from Masala Wok restaurants, it made sense to visit an Indian grocery store and pick up a few ingredients to prepare a few Indian dishes in our own kitchen.

After entering India Bazaar and walking around for a few minutes, we were perplexed. What ARE these products that line the shelves? We had no idea that we were missing out on such a huge group of fabulous cooking ingredients and made the following notes on a few items we wondered about.

  • Puffed rice. What is with the giant bags of puffed rice? What is puffed rice used for in Indian cooking?
  • Pickled fruits. How unique to see pickled limes and gooseberries. Are they to be eaten on the side, as an accompaniment, or to be added to a dish?
  • Dried beans galore. Are beans a part of most meals, and how are they generally prepared?
  • Eggs for sale — but no fish, chicken, or beef. We understand why no meat need apply to the dinner table.
  • Spices gone wild. A heavy emphasis on spices – some quite mysterious to us – and some heavenly smelling.
  • Bags of sesame seeds and cashews abound – each adds depth and protein to any dish – yet, how are they used in Indian dishes? By the way, fabulous prices on spices, nuts, and seeds.
  • Produce that was familiar, except…what are ‘paan leaves’ used for? [We later found out what paan leaves are used for and will tell you in our next installment]

We are going to prepare Indian-based recipes over the next few weeks and will post follow-up articles to let you know what we have discovered. Go ahead, and be green with envy about what we will be tasting, but there is a lot of work ahead for us.

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