Indian spices

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martyn94
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Indian spices

Post by martyn94 » Sat 06 Feb 2016 17:32

I have a yen for a curry every now and then, and normally stock up on spices, dal etc when I'm in Paris. But inevitably you forget things or run out. I deeply resent paying silly prices for tiny jars in the supermarket, even if they had what you want. I've found a wider range in sensible sizes at good prices at La Jonquera, but their range only goes so far.

I found myself short of a few things (garam masala, cumin seeds and mustard seeds, for what it's worth) the other week. I tried some research into online sources on the interweb, but found nowhere in France which seemed any good, and some initially-attractive offers from the UK and Germany were crippled by lethal delivery charges.

Eventually I settled on this outfit on eBay

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181483625936? ... cc1db&cp=1

The merit for me was that they deliver from India, so that you get the same "post free" prices here as anywhere else. The downside was that they took about 17 days to arrive (at the short end of what they indicated). The garam masala seems OK and fresh, and the seeds are as you'd expect.

£8-odd for 3 100g bags is materially more than an Indian supermarket, if I had one handy, but not grotesquely so, and a lot better than going back to Paris earlier than I would otherwise have done.

I offer this for what it may be worth. If anyone knows of a good bricks-and-mortar outlet round here, I'd be glad to know. The only place I've stumbled over is "Asia Center" at Mas Guerido, and that seemed pretty dim and pricey (even for Chinese and SE-Asian stuff).
Last edited by martyn94 on Sat 06 Feb 2016 19:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Sus » Sat 06 Feb 2016 19:18

I have the same problem but at the moment, I am still driving up and down to London a lot so I bring my supplies from there. I can't remember who recommended this, but have you tried this website:
http://chillisandspice.com/

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Sue
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Post by Sue » Sat 06 Feb 2016 19:48

I use Curry Pax who make their own pastes and rubs using the best fresh spices. They live in Languedoc Rousillon and everything is available by mail order. There is also a large range of Curry Pax products available at Marj & Richard's Store in Ceret.
http://marjandrichardstore.com/
http://www.currypax.com/


If you really do prefer making your own then buy your spices locally from Les 5 Continents
http://anglophone-direct.com/listing/le ... me-abroad/
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Post by opas » Sat 06 Feb 2016 20:57

Try this place.go to Perpignan, the roundabout at the prison an Maintenon school go direction Leclerc, you will see a Chinese buffet restaurant,pharmacies and boulanger, take the next left. You will see a building like a warehouse. Fruit ,veg, olives spices and a great halal butcher. Not open on Mondays.
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Post by Karen » Sun 07 Feb 2016 09:11

We use M-Exotic

194 Avenue de Prades
66000 Perpignan

Hope this helps.

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 07 Feb 2016 11:58

Karen wrote:We use M-Exotic

194 Avenue de Prades
66000 Perpignan

Hope this helps.

Karen
Thanks: I'll try it.

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 07 Feb 2016 12:05

Sue wrote: If you really do prefer making your own then buy your spices locally from Les 5 Continents
http://anglophone-direct.com/listing/le ... me-abroad/
Thanks. I think this also trades as Asia Center (it has the same address). If so, and as I said in my post, I found it a bit disappointing: it tries to cover a lot of ground, but none of it v thoroughly. I've meant to give it another look next time I'm in Mas Guerido (which I try hard to avoid), but I wouldn't make the round trip for a specific ingredient.

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Post by Sue » Sun 07 Feb 2016 12:18

Apologies Martin. I speed read your post and must have missed the last bit. The Asia Center changed their name to Les 5 Continents some while ago. What spice/s is it you are particularly looking for. Escudero in the shopping Mall at La Jonquera have a largish selection, in large containers, though not as good a selection by far as an Indian Supermarket.
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 07 Feb 2016 13:47

Sue wrote:Apologies Martin. I speed read your post and must have missed the last bit. The Asia Center changed their name to Les 5 Continents some while ago. What spice/s is it you are particularly looking for. Escudero in the shopping Mall at La Jonquera have a largish selection, in large containers, though not as good a selection by far as an Indian Supermarket.
Yes: I have found a decent selection at the medium-sized Tramontana that I favour in La Jonquera, but there is always something missing (including cloves, which surprised me). I have not yet found the intestinal fortitude to tackle the enormous one (Gran Jonquera), but if promised a really good range of spices, I may yet be brave enough.

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Post by Sue » Sun 07 Feb 2016 13:55

Then try the one half way down just past the BP filling station.
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Post by martyn94 » Sun 07 Feb 2016 14:25

Sue wrote:Apologies Martin. I speed read your post and must have missed the last bit. The Asia Center changed their name to Les 5 Continents some while ago. What spice/s is it you are particularly looking for. Escudero in the shopping Mall at La Jonquera have a largish selection, in large containers, though not as good a selection by far as an Indian Supermarket.
Yes: I have found a decent selection at the medium-sized Tramontana that I favour in La Jonquera, but there is always something missing (including cloves, which surprised me). I have not yet found the intestinal fortitude to tackle the enormous one (Gran Jonquera), but if promised a really good range of spices, I may yet be brave enough.

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 07 Feb 2016 14:45

Just to get a bit more demanding, I also cook Thai/Vietnamese food (badly) from time to time. I can normally arrange to have the right curry pastes in stock (I know they should be made from scratch, but I know I almost never do, apart from kaeng pa when I can get the ingredients). It's the fresh ingredients that cause the problems.

It should be possible to grow Thai basil, holy basil, and (just?) lemongrass or even a kaffir lime tree round here. Has anyone tried, with success? Or even better, can point me to a source of plants (I'm not exactly Percy Thrower growing from seed)? Or "Vietnamese mint" (rau ram) or anything else in that line. Or a birds' eye chilli plant.

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Post by jethro » Mon 08 Feb 2016 09:09

The French piment grows readily in this area and is quite hot enough for me. It is called "piment de L'Espelette" and makes quite an attractive and useful pot plant.
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Post by Santiago » Mon 08 Feb 2016 20:34

I like making curries from scratch but I have to say that the Curry Pax pastes are really well put-together and work out good value compared to other methods.

I was sceptical of them in the first place but I've tried their pastes and can sincerely vouch for them. If you think Patak's are any good, these are a big step up and don't cost any more money.
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Herbs and spices

Post by Lanark Lass » Sat 20 Feb 2016 21:16

Some of the markets have good herb and spice stalls e.g. St Cyprien,Le Boulou.

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Re: Herbs and spices

Post by martyn94 » Sun 21 Feb 2016 13:28

Lanark Lass wrote:Some of the markets have good herb and spice stalls e.g. St Cyprien,Le Boulou.
Yes, but they tend to stock stuff for French food, or what they have inherited from their own colonial empire. They overlap to a large degree with what I want, but never quite enough.

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Post by Sue » Sun 21 Feb 2016 14:11

Try Curry Pax Martin. I am sure you won't be disappointed.
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Post by lonesome paddy » Sun 21 Feb 2016 14:13

Yes we all want proper traditional English food like curries & pizzas :lol:

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 21 Feb 2016 15:13

lonesome paddy wrote:Yes we all want proper traditional English food like curries & pizzas :lol:
l

I have French friends (for whom I've cooked quite often, without them gagging) who've said "cook us something typically English". It's easy to do the first course (potted shrimps, say?) and the last one (summer pudding, at the right time of year). But I've always been stumped for the one in the middle. It should probably be steak-and-kidney pudding, but it has to be so perfect to be any good that I haven't had the spine to practise. Any suggestions?

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British Main

Post by Lanark Lass » Sun 21 Feb 2016 15:29

Meat loaf?

Simple to make and can be served hot or cold.

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Post by lonesome paddy » Sun 21 Feb 2016 17:32

martyn94 wrote:
lonesome paddy wrote:Yes we all want proper traditional English food like curries & pizzas :lol:
l

I have French friends (for whom I've cooked quite often, without them gagging) who've said "cook us something typically English". It's easy to do the first course (potted shrimps, say?) and the last one (summer pudding, at the right time of year). But I've always been stumped for the one in the middle. It should probably be steak-and-kidney pudding, but it has to be so perfect to be any good that I haven't had the spine to practise. Any suggestions?
Martyn, with your mention of steak and kidney pudding you've brought back memories of my mother making it. She always placed a teacup in the centre of the dish (was it to stop the pastry collapsing ?), a beautiful main course.

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Post by Sue » Sun 21 Feb 2016 19:15

We had steamed steak and kidney pudding in the week. Delicious it was too.
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Post by martyn94 » Mon 22 Feb 2016 12:01

lonesome paddy wrote:
martyn94 wrote:
lonesome paddy wrote:Yes we all want proper traditional English food like curries & pizzas :lol:
l

I have French friends (for whom I've cooked quite often, without them gagging) who've said "cook us something typically English". It's easy to do the first course (potted shrimps, say?) and the last one (summer pudding, at the right time of year). But I've always been stumped for the one in the middle. It should probably be steak-and-kidney pudding, but it has to be so perfect to be any good that I haven't had the spine to practise. Any suggestions?
Martyn, with your mention of steak and kidney pudding you've brought back memories of my mother making it. She always placed a teacup in the centre of the dish (was it to stop the pastry collapsing ?), a beautiful main course.
l,

God, you must have been dragged up. My mother used a proper pie funnel, which I'm surprised to find you can still get, eg here


http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PIE-FUNNEL-BA ... XQC-tTFvbt

As the name implies, you are talking about an s and k pie (ie with a baked crust): I was talking about a pudding (ie a suet pastry, steamed - like Sue's). But then again, when are we ever again going to have the weather to make that an obvious "dinner party dish" down my way?

Some horrible meteorological vengeance will no doubt soon descend.

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Post by Ariègeoise » Mon 22 Feb 2016 23:02

martyn94 wrote:My mother used a proper pie funnel, which I'm surprised to find you can still get
Mine too ... she had it as a wedding present in 1939. It survived frequent use until she died in 1996, and now I have it along with her old china rolling pin, which dates from the same era. I rarely use the pie funnel but the rolling pin is wonderful!

Martyn, what about cooking your friends a fish pie? Typically British but somehow appropriate for the PO too!

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Post by lonesome paddy » Tue 23 Feb 2016 09:54

There you go Martyn, a fish pie with chips.....proper chips not the frozen or wafer thin ones thats so prevalent here. My mother had a pie funnel which she called a pie whistle but i cant recall her ever using it, i suppose being a Yank she had to be awkward.

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Post by martyn94 » Tue 23 Feb 2016 11:20

lonesome paddy wrote:There you go Martyn, a fish pie with chips
Not quite enough spuds.

I have actually done fish pie (without the chips: they are the sort of people for whom you budget a baguette per head), and I do it often for myself and mine. But I'd ideally like something that doesn't have any close equivalent in France, not parmentier de poisson.

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Post by Allan » Tue 23 Feb 2016 12:05

How about 'Crapaud dans Le trou'? Or anything involving Yorkshire pudding.

I still like your first idea of steak and kidney pudding but if you find that too daunting go for a steak and kidney pie, with or without pie funnel.

It seems that the civilising influence of a good meat pie hasn't crossed the channel, so a pie or pudding would be very English with no local equivalent.

We plan to feed some French friends beef wellington but there is a danger they might confuse it with bœuf en croûte

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Post by Sue » Tue 23 Feb 2016 13:19

Steak and kidney pudding is so easy to make!
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Post by martyn94 » Tue 23 Feb 2016 14:29

Sue wrote:Steak and kidney pudding is so easy to make!
I thought it was daunting because I've never made suet pastry, and I don't have cool hands, nor a suitable pudding basin. The hands are past curing, but I will give it a try (I've always wanted to be really retro and add oysters too). Any ideas about where I find the basin and the suet?

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Post by Sue » Tue 23 Feb 2016 14:57

You would need to go Marj & Richards Store to buy the suet or ask a friend who is going to Uk to bring you back some. The basin, any household store or supermarket household aisle. No oysters for me!
Dylan

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