This one's for you!!
For your area, I find several stores listed in the directory below & you may know of more: http://www.indianfoodsgui.../alberta/edmonton.html
Let me help you decode some signals within names of stores!!
New Desi Bazar
And Halal Meat
All Pakistan And Indian Grocery
This means owned by Pakistani folk, so excellent cuts of meat for kebabs & biryani & very good packaged spice mixes from Pakistan. Insist on NATIONAL or LAZIZA brand BIRYANI spice mix, and others. Great advice for meat cookery & chickpeas and Punjabi style/Muslim cooking. They will be happy you asked. They will be able to get you fresh chicken, maybe, karahi cut, Boer kid goat, good lamb etc.
Spice Bazaar & the Spice Center:
No tell-tale marks of origin!!
There are 2 obvious Indian-owned stores:
Here you will find
Amul Ghee, 2lb cans, US$12-13 a good price. This is a good cooking ghee. Get 1 if price OK & you can.
Golden Temple ghee, check the price. Reasonably good.
New Vrindavan cow ghee. Ditto, good for eating on hot rice, ok to pay a couple of $$ more, but not exorbitantly more.
Useful to buy:
Nigella seed, Kalonji 4 oz
Fenugreek seed, Methi, small pk
Fennel seed, small pk,
Brown/black mustard, 4 oz pk
Cumin seed, 7 oz pk
Coriander seed, 7 oz pk
Turmeric powder, 7 oz
Aromatic red pepper,
[any type, not very hot. Korean Kochugaru type excellent, warm unsmoked paprika ditto, or New Mexico type. Flavor & color KEY, NOT heat. In Indian terms, BYADGI chillies or Kashmiri chillies. Whole best, you know what you are getting!]
Indian CASSIA leaves, can find at iShopIndian [ called Tejpatta, not to be confused with Bay leaves]
Mace, whole arils, much better than powder, called JAAVITRI, found cheap at iShopIndian or PatelBros. Not Much!
Nutmeg, if you can get 1-3 nuts loose.
Cassia bark, called cinnamon, at these places, in 3 or 4 oz bags. If larger bags, freeze them.
Black cardamom. optional, but useful.
Shahzeera, which is NOT caraway. Ask the Pakistanis, not necessary yet.
DRIED FENUGREEK LEAVES, Kasuri Methi
Dried Mango Powder, Amchur [purely optional souring agent]
LAXMI brand tamarind concentrate, the light brown one in the GLASS bottle, NO OTHER, seriously!!!!
Kewra water if you will be making biryani, 1 bottle. The stuff sold here is bad. Ask Pakistanis if they have ROOH KEWRA or KEWRA ATTAR. That is when you are an expert! Titanium mountain bike!
IF you buy saffron, get it from Vanilla Imports. Buy 1oz, Afghan, $80. Mine has lasted 10 years in the freezer, the same ounce!!! So strong.
Also buy a cheap coffee grinder to ONLY grind spices and I assume you have an Oster type kitchen blender.
Next I shall post actual recipes.
Please exhaustively query me and satisfy your smallest doubts. You are NOT supposed to know anything, and I am here to negotiate the unfamiliar.
Let me know what types of foods you like, e.g. vegetarian, meat, chicken, etc. & we can focus on those.
Note: Restaurant cooking, like Chinese restaurant cookery, focuses on Feast dishes, and is VERY RICH. HOME COOKING in India is VERY SIMPLE & spice free. Throughout Bengal & Maharashtra, home to 180 million people, for example, a staple meal & beloved comfort food is sada varan: a lentil boiled plain and eaten with rice, salt, a slice of lime and a drop of ghee. Nothing else! I eat this all the time, almost every afternoon! REAL Indians eat very simply: low fat, frugal meals that would astound you.
<message edited by pimple2 on Sun, 07/10/11 12:44 AM>