Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson noted, “A few spices or condiments in the pantry can turn otherwise mundane dishes into culinary masterpieces.” Well, we couldn’t agree more. Spices do add that extra zing to a recipe making it drool-worthy. We take you on a spice trail across the city and point out the must-visit spice stores in the city.
If Maharashtrian cuisine is what you crave, then Market Yard is the place to begin. This spice haven has numerous stores and wholesale outlets that sell masalas pertaining to Maharashtrian cuisine. From your tambda and pandhra masalas to your goda masala, everything can be bought from here. In addition, you have the bedgi mirchis and CTCs powder (chill, turmeric, coriander).
Anand Chordia of Pravin Masale shares, “Our ambadi goda masala is a sure hit among other specialities. The kanda-lasun masala and red chillies also sell well. People come to us for our quality assurance and service.” Spices like cloves, akhha chillies, pepper and dhania are available here and the best part of shopping here are the low prices.
Ever wondered why the sambhar at a restaurant always tastes better than the one you make at home? We say it is because of the spices and powders used. Molaga podi, rasam and sambhar powder, paruppu podi and many other masalas define south-Indian specialties. Rasta Peth, Wanowrie and Khadki are the places where you can pick up authentic south Indian masalas and spices. Shukla’s Coffee House, Rasta Peth is famous for its filter coffee powder, sambhar powder, chutney powder, idli molaga podi, rasam powder and paruppu podi.
Rajan Shukla, owner of the place, says, “The masalas are made in-house and we swear by the quality. We started out with coffee first and eventually started selling southern specialities.” Patrons agree to the fact that this place has been consistent through the years. Prasadini S, a regular at the store, shares, “They haven’t hiked their prices irrespective of inflation. The staff are courteous and they guide you. I have experimented with many spices and masalas that they sell.” The next stop on the trail is Indira Foods which started operations around 40 years ago.
Narsimha Raichur, who looks after the store at Wanowrie, gets the products from Chennai and Mangalore. He says, “The authentic masalas, savouries and spices are sourced from the local markets of Chennai and Mangalore. We have groups there who supply to us.” The filter coffee powder available here is something you shouldn’t miss. It is made on order and you will always find it fresh. They also have a range of condiments which will give your sambhar or rasam that extra zing. Then there are other things like the roti which is a Mangalorean item eaten with chicken gassi, pickles form Hyderabad, banana chips from Kerala, tamarind and palm jaggery (ola bella). Also on offer are small bananas and ground rice-based snacks like rose cookies and papads.
Open since 1948, Chandan stores on East Street is currently run by the third generation of the family. The idea behind the store was to make typical Pakistani masalas available to Punjabis and Sindhis in the city. Over the years, the store has carved a reputation in the spice business and from what we hear; their masalas are ground at their own mill. With popularity, the store ventured into masalas for the Gujarati community too. The next time you are making chhole or rajma, this is where you need to pick up masalas from.
Know your spice –
A blend of roasted spices and lentils. Often eaten with steamed rice and dollops of ghee or sesame oil.
A dry spiced powder made from mixed dals and sesame seeds
Dahi Mirchi or Mor Milagai
An accompaniment with khichdi, dal-chawal and curd rice. They are soaked in buttermilk during preparation, so their pungency is minimum.