…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
Repeat after me–the smells are not frightening. They’re just unfamiliar.
If you are lucky enough to live in a place that has ethnic markets, you really should utilize them. If you have ever been to an Indian, Middle Eastern, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, or Chinese restaurant and thought, “Man, I’d really like to be able to make this at home,” your friendly ethnic market can help you achieve your dream!
Currently, my favorites are the Indian and Asian markets. The primary aroma that greets you in the Indian market is incense. I rather enjoy it, because it feels exotic…and authentic. The Indian market here in Knoxville has an entire aisle dedicated to packaged snack foods, and I feel obligated to try one every time I visit. Many are lentil-based, so they’re practically health foods, am I right?
My store has a limited selection of fresh produce, but it seems to grow each time I venture in. The main attraction (for me) are the flours, daals, and spices. The flour I’m most excited about is gram flour–chickpea flour. There are so many applications for this flour ranging from Mediterranean socca, to tortillita, and fries.
And who knew there were so many kinds of daals? Red lentils (masoor daal), pigeon peas (toor daal), garbanzos (chana daal), mung beans (mung daal), and urad daal, which is sort of like a black lentil, but not exactly. The beauty of daals is that they are split, which is great because they require very little cooking time and just a short soak (some require no soaking at all).
And then there are the spices. So many spices, and so very inexpensive. Granted, many are whole spices which means you have to grind them yourself, either in a cheap coffee grinder or in a mortar & pestle–but they taste better that way, AND they’ll stay fresh for three to four YEARS. Also–get some asafetida—it smells a little scary, but your dishes will have sooooo much more flavor.
Check out your Indian market, get the ingredients for and then make these pakoras. (I have made this recipe many times, and it is SOLID.)
I’ll dedicate my next post to my favorite place in Knoxville, Sunrise Supermarket. I’ve been a regular customer of Sunrise since it opened, and I can’t say enough good things about it. For instance, when I pull into the parking lot, my hair involuntarily pulls into pigtails, a lollipop appears in my grubby hands, and the calliope music? Well, it’s deafening. The produce, the noodles, the butcher, the fish monger…
To be continued…