Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shalimar - Cambridge, MA

Recently, I had to use up a groupon for $40 with of food and groceries at Shalimar, an Indian grocery store in Cambridge, MA. The last time I went there was over 5 years ago and I only bought a package of cardamom pods then. The store is actually quite impressive for its small size. Their spice selection includes quite a lot of different selections that you might not be able to find elsewhere. In addition to regular cardamom pods, they actually have dark cardamom pods, which smell a little smokey, so I'm guessing they're roasted. Another rare spice is dry mango ("Amchur") power, for $1.99 a box. I bought some but still not sure what I'm going to do with it! The others are spices, such as turmeric, coriander, fennel, cumin, etc., that you would find in a curry or other Indian dish.

It actually took me quite a while to choose $40 worth of goods for my groupon! I was tempted to get the snacks but I'm trying to shed a few pounds this summer and have too many Asian snack cakes in the house right now. So, most of my basket was filled with spices. I took pictures of everything I bought, so you can see what kinds of things Shalimar carries.

Cadbury hot chocolate
Sweet almond treats

Indian Bread

Boil-in-the-bag meals
These are very good, by the way. I used to eat Japanese curry like this when I taught in Japan in the mid-1990's. These are very convenient products and not too expensive.
Boil-in-the-bag Palak Paneer
Boil-in-the-bag Korma

This is probably the main reason I would return to this store. Their selection is simply amazing (at least to a non-Indian). I'm sure there are spice shops in India that carry more but in the Boston area, you're not going to find this kind of selection in one place. One of the stores at haymarket has a pretty big selection but Shalimar might actually have more. I bought paprika, cumin seed, turmeric, and curry powder. Since the spices in bags have the Shalimar named on them, I'm guessing that they buy those in bulk and package them. I bet they're fresher too.

Turmeric, Curry Powder, Dried Mango Powder
Cumin seed and Paprika
Chicken Tikka spice

Arborio rice is probably not the most popular type of rice in India. I was actually surprised to find it at this store but got it because I wanted some sticky rice. They also carry basmati and other types of non-sticky rice, which are more typical in Indian cuisine.

Overall, this store has very reasonably priced items that you probably can't find elsewhere. If you're new to the Boston area or just want to add to your spice collection, check this place out! Also, it's one of the only places that carry Cadbury's hot chocolate powder. The Indian breads are also very good.

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