January 31st, 2022
A World of Curry
We love curry in all its forms. Curry is primarily associated with India and Southeast Asia, but it has made its way into cuisines around the world. The mix of spices varies according to cultural traditions and the cook's personal taste.

This month's issue is all about curry. We have an array of recipes to make delicious meals at home as well as some ideas for shortcuts.

We will help you get started by recommending some of our favorite products.
If you want your curry to taste authentic, we recommend using ghee (a form of clarified butter) for the oil. Indian Life's homestyle ghee is made fresh from Grade AA butter. Ghee has a higher smoking point than olive oil or butter and is perfect for sautéeing and toasting spices.

Many Indian recipes call for yogurt, and our go-to is Straus Family Creamery's Organic European Style Yogurt. You can't beat Straus for fresh flavor!

Native Forest Coconut Milk is made from the first pressing of fresh coconut meat and creates a rich and delicious delicious ingredient in soups, curries, sauces, desserts, and beverages. We carry both their Unsweetened Organic and Classic & Simple.
The spices you choose play a big outcome in everything you prepare, that is why we recommend Morton & Bassett for more dimensional flavor. We carry their complete line that includes what you need to construct your own curry powder as well as a wonderful Madras Curry and Garam Masala.

Sukhi's Coconut Curry Sauce and Classic Indian Curry come in pouches and are ready in 15 minutes for an easy-to-prepare meal with fantastic flavor. These Classic Curry sauces are based on traditional recipes used in homes throughout the Indian subcontinent. These flavorful curry sauces can be used for meats and vegetables, dips, and marinades.

Thai Kitchen's two curry pastes—green and red—are flavorful blends of lemongrass, fresh chili, and spices (including galangal). Use them as a stir-fry seasoning, a soup base, or with coconut milk for a delicious Thai curry.

S & B Golden Curry is a ready-made Japanese Curry Mix in a pouch. It features a rich blend of spices and herbs that is balanced to a medium-hot degree of spiciness. Just put the pouch in hot water to warm and it can be served over rice or noodles or used as a dipping sauce.
Achaar is a catch-all term for pickle, a popular condiment in Indian cuisine. Achaar adds a tangy, sweet, and salty heat, whether paired with rice, stews, layers of paratha, or in a sandwich. We love both Brooklyn Delhi's Tomato Achaar and Roasted Garlic Achaar as the perfect chili-sauce condiments. Plus, they've won all kinds of awards.

Indian Life makes some delicious chutneys, too. Try their Cilantro Chutney, Cilantro and Mint Chutney, and Tamarind Chutney the next time you serve Indian food. They are great to a few flavors have on hand to add excitement to your meals. 
Will you be needing a bit of bread to mop up the sauces from your curry? If you are not making it from scratch, try a package of Stonefire Naan, an authentic Indian flatbread. It is so soft, fluffy, and buttery. Their recipe uses buttermilk and ghee before hand-stretching each piece and baking it in their tandoori oven.

And if you are looking for something crispier (and sans gluten), try Indian Life Papadum. They come in both plain and cumin flavors. Papadum is a wafer-thin Indian cracker that is a staple in India. They are made from lentil flour and are served as an appetizer (with chutney) or alongside a curry. You can deep-fry them, roast them over an open flame, or toast them in the oven. They cook up in seconds.
Dah! Mango Lassi is a rich and creamy slow-cultured yogurt smoothie that is high in probiotics and satisfying to the last drop. It is the perfect, cooling accompaniment to a curry. And it is made with Alphonso Mango, one of the most beloved flavors of Indian cuisine.

Yogi Tea's Honey Chai Turmeric Vitality tea is an intriguing Chai tea blend that combines Turmeric (traditionally used in Ayurveda for its abundant health-promoting qualities) with naturally sweet organic honey flavor and rich, warming spices including cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and clove.

And, if you are looking for a black spiced tea, we recommend The Tao of Tea's Golden Turmeric Chai—a gold-tinged infusion that is malty and spicy with an earthy sweetness. This tea blends especially well with milk and sugar
News & Events

Valentines Day may seem a long way off. But, now is a great time to contact your favorite restaurant in order to get Valentine's Dinner reservations while there are still tables available!

Some of our staff’s favorite local places are below. Or you can check out Open Table to see what is available and choose your favorite restaurants.

A Staff Favorite

Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder gives an especially warm, vibrant taste to savory dishes. It infuses your meal with depth of flavor and a delectable scent. It is versatile. This blend of 14 herbs and spices can also be used as a rub or marinade for meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables. We consider it a pantry staple. And, you can always adjust the flavor and heat for variety—for example, add a little ginger, cumin, or cayenne as you wish.

Sun Brand is made from a classic recipe that is smooth and mellow for a well-balanced flavor. And, the quality is consistent. Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder stays fresh a long time. And then you get to keep that neat retro tin!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Spice it Up
There is always a bit of a letdown after the holidays. After weeks of planning and food and get-togethers, all the excitement and frenetic energy are just gone. It’s sitting out beside your driveway with the Christmas tree. (Wow, aren’t I a ray of sunshine?) I have mentioned in the past that in January my food choices tend to skew towards the super spicy. And, I think this post-holiday void is at least part of the reason.

Curries have been on my mind—if only because they are a great way to combine the healthy eating we all seem to take a stab at in the beginning of the new year with the much-needed oompf of aromatics and heat. While the aspirations of leading a vegetable-forward, healthy clean life may fade as we head into February, exploring the world of curry can take you into next month and beyond because there are so many possibilities.

When most people think of curry they immediately think of India, but curries are found in a wide range of countries and cultures thanks to centuries of commerce practiced along trade routes like the Silk Road and the Curry Trail. Today you will find delicious curries not only in India but in Africa and South America as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and so many more countries.

Our recipe for South Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry is a simple one. Some of the ingredients can be hard to find (especially in the current trade climate). So, I have listed their substitutes as well…

News & Events

At the Oakland Museum—opens January 29th
Discover the story of Edith Heath, the founder and designer of Heath Ceramics. She created fine and everyday dinnerware from California clay with impeccable design and a commitment to craft.

Edith Heath was a trailblazer, rebel, and a revolutionary. She transformed the ceramics industry, creating dinnerware for “Sunday best” and everyday use. Driven by the power of good design, Heath’s vision continues to live on through her stoneware and tile over 70 years later. Durable, not delicate, simple, yet stylish, Heath Ceramics is an icon of American design.

The show will be up at the Oakland Museum of California through next October.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Second to Naan
The other night we ordered Indian food from our favorite takeout spot. We order the same things every time because we’re boring. And, we eat there often enough to know what our favorites are. Tikka masala, lamb biryani, tandoori, multiple orders of samosas (I like them for breakfast.), and absolutely without fail, way too much naan to go with it all.

Just like the basket of bread on the table at your favorite restaurant, it is impossible to just eat a little bit of naan. When it’s still piping hot I’ll eat it plain by the handful. When it cools off a bit, there is no better way to soak up every last drop of saucy goodness than by swiping your plate with the naan.
I had never made my own naan—mainly because I never thought I would be able to get it right without using a tandoor. And, frankly, it was just easier to order it. However, on those nights when I throw together a quick chicken curry at home, it would be nice to have some fresh naan that didn’t come from a package at the store.

So it will come as no surprise that I was very happy to find this recipe for making naan in a cast-iron skillet. It’s simple and the bulk of my everyday pans are cast iron. Yay me. The good news? Naan can also make a great flatbread sandwich which is good because I plan to make these again this weekend…curry or no curry.

A Cookbook Recommendation
by Madhur Jaffrey

This is the most comprehensive book ever published on curries, written by Madhur Jaffrey, the world's bestselling Indian cookery author. The influence of the Indian curry has been far-reaching: Indian immigrants and traders influenced the cooking of many other great cuisines of the world, including those of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and China. History blends with recipes in this meticulously researched book, which will prove fascinating reading for food lovers everywhere.

With over 150 mouthwatering recipes, Madhur starts with the best curry recipes in India today, moves on to Asian curries, and even includes European curry ideas such as French curry sauces. Some recipes have never before appeared in print, such as fish seasoned with tamarind and coconut and lamb braised with oranges. Also included are Madhur's tips for the best accompanying foods—she gives us recipe ideas for rice, bread, chutneys, relishes, and sweets—the perfect complement for any curry.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, this book is set to become the standard reference book on curries.

The definitive curry book by the world authority on Indian food.
—Publishing News
A Staff Favorite

Goa is famous for its beautiful beaches and rich seafood curries. Goan Coconut Simmer Sauce has flavors of coconut, ginger, and tangy tamarind that will transport you to Goa’s tropical shores.

These exceptional, Indian home-style sauces are packed in glass jars with a two-year shelf life. Only premium, all-natural ingredients, and traditional techniques are used in their preparation. This sauce is easily stored in your pantry so you can make a convenient and satisfying Indian meal anytime!

Maya Kaimal's Goan Coconut Simmer Sauce is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

Some serving suggestions include:
  • Simmer with meat or vegetables
  • Use in a slow cooker
  • Add to soups and stews
  • Spoon over noodles
  • Marinate meats
  • Spice up tacos or quesadillas
  • Turn leftovers into instant curries

News & Events

Get outside while the sun is shining.
Take advantage of the unseasonably warm and dry weather. Head to the Redwoods this weekend and hike some amazing trails through Redwood Regional Park…and leave the city behind.

Stop by our store and grab something to eat from our Deli Hot Bar. Or, pick up a Grab n’ Go salad, a baguette, a piece of brie (or even a sandwich and a cold drink)…and head to the hills.

Redwood Regional Park is a hidden redwood forest just a few miles over the ridge from our store. In addition to an extensive network of trails through coast redwoods, there are stroller and handicap-friendly picnic areas and play structures. The Stream Trail is a delightful, easy walk that is great for young children to explore nature. There are also trails through hilly terrain for a great workout. And the Skyline Trail shows off beautiful views of the Bay Area. Redwood Park is adjacent to the Chabot Space and Science Center.

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

Enjoy a decadent hot Jamaican Coffee cocktail which is great for a chilly winter night. This drink is perfect for coffee connoisseurs looking for a new way to enjoy their favorite drink.

And, it works great with decaf for a cozy evening cup.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

GOA-an Somewhere?
In December of 1999, when my husband and I were just engaged, we were invited by a dear friend to stay with him and his family in Mumbai, India. The plan was to be in Mumbai to soak in all that the city has to offer before heading down to Goa to ring in the new century at a resort on the beach. This would be my first time traveling outside of the United States. And, if the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland comes to mind, you wouldn’t be wrong.

My husband has traveled all over the world. The only continent he has yet to explore is Australia. He’s lived in Mexico and Canada, gone on safari in Tanzania, explored much of Europe, and traveled through South America and parts of the Middle East—to name just a few destinations.

Back then he was only a few years removed from a stint in the Peace Corps. I was definitely a fish out of water. But, I was curious and fascinated by India, the food, the people, and the customs. (Don’t get me wrong it was a shock to the system. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer number of people, among other things.)

The markets were an explosion of color. I went with our friend’s mother and grandmother one day to pick out a sari and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. (Getting it to fit correctly was a challenge. At 5”10”, I couldn’t buy off the rack. Alas, after 3 kids, it no longer fits…) We ate spicy curry every morning for breakfast and drank the best chai you ever tasted. (It was rough on my Western stomach, but it was sooo good.) But the tandoori crab we ate one night…OMG. We still talk about it in hushed and reverent tones…

Goa was a totally different experience. It has a much more Mediterranean feel, and, because of Goa’s Portuguese history, you see things there that you would not see anywhere else in the country. The architecture is different. The lifestyle is different. It is a much slower pace. Most people live in villages versus the city. Goa is a haven for the Bohemian and creative-minded and artists from all over come here to live.

Lastly, Goan food is different. As you would expect of an area on the coast, the diet of Goa relies heavily on fish and seafood. But, it is not uncommon to find pork and beef on the menu thanks to its Portuguese Catholic roots. And you will always find something spicy. The Portuguese are responsible for bringing chilis over from Brazil and introducing them to the rest of India. So, it should come as no surprise that Vindaloo, or Vindahlo, the spicy curry found on the menu of numerous Indian restaurants, comes from Goa. Shrimp is everywhere in Goa, and I am always down for a spicy shrimp vindaloo. Paired with steamed Jasmin rice it’s a great way to warm yourself up on a cold winter day.

I was intrigued, however, when I saw this recipe for Duck Vindaloo. I can count on one hand the number of duck recipes I have come across while looking for Indian food. I see it more with Thai or Indonesian food. This dish can be served with rice in true Indian fashion. And, for a more Portuguese/Goan feel, serve it with some boiled potatoes and your favorite sautéed winter greens.

A Staff Favorite

Edison Grainery Organic Yellow Split Peas are one of our favorite go-to legumes for soups, stews, and curries.

Split peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops, are grown in many areas of the world, and are a culinary staple in a wide variety of cultures. Organic yellow split peas can be used interchangeably with green peas in recipes. And, they do have a milder flavor, tend to taste a bit sweeter, and the color is quite attractive. They are used frequently in Indian cuisine, where they are called dal.

Yellow split peas have a high protein content, are low in calories and high in fiber, and are a great source of micronutrients such as molybdenum, tryptophan, thiamin (vitamin B1), potassium, and folate.

Plus, Edison Grainery is an Oakland-based company, and who doesn’t love local?

The Cocktail Post

If you are looking for a cocktail recipe that is delicious alongside Indian cuisine, try our Kachumber Cooler. You just might already have all the ingredients on hand.

The Kachumber Cooler is made from muddled cucumber, green chili pepper, and cilantro, with a gin base. It is complex with subtle flavor—and not too much heat.

It is delicious with food or sipped on its own. Definitely a keeper.

Curry Recipes from Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

We love curry with its big, bold flavors and endless variations. Here is a list of curry recipes from our archives to add to your recipe collection.

This fish curry from Goa can be made with any firm variety of fish. It is adapted from 1001 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra, an incredibly comprehensive collection of recipes from all the different regions of India.

This recipe is delicious with or without the shrimp. It has big pumpkin flavor and gorgeously orange.
Rupa De, the recipe's author, writes, “Since I am originally from India, many of my non-Indian friends have asked me for a chicken curry recipe, and this is the one I give them. I hope your readers will enjoy it, too.”

These Indian fusion wraps are perfect for school lunches and trips to the beach. You can also slice them into smaller sections to serve

This recipe will make you feel like you are eating at your favorite Indian restaurant. The good news is that you can dial up or down the spiciness to suit your taste.

Tandoori Chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner. The trick is to prepare the marinade the day before and set it in the fridge overnight. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase the red tandoori coloring from an Indian grocery.
The Lamb Curry is our go-to recipe. It can be made both in the Instant Pot or on the stove on a low simmer where it will just take longer.

This variation on our basic lentil recipes comes from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Cookbook.

This Saag recipe also includes a recipe for making paneer. While it may not be super authentic, this recipe is quite tasty. And, can actually be made during the week for those who make dinner to relax.
A go-to Thai curry recipe when looking for something spicy and interesting but also easy enough to make mid-week. You can use all shrimp, ’cause it’s just easier.

This staff favorite is warming on a cold night!
From our blog, The Butcher's Block

n the day-to-day decision about what to make for dinner, there can be a tendency to get into a rut. You find yourself eating the same things over and over forgetting that there are flavorful options just waiting for you to give them a try. Lamb shoulder is one of those options.

Lamb shoulder comes from a part of the animal that gets a significant amount of work. This results in meat that has a lot of great lamb flavor but is typically not a tender cut. This means you need to cook lamb shoulder for a longer period of time. To sum it all up, lamb shoulder is a perfect choice for stewing, braising, or slow cooking. For maximum flavor, leave the shoulder on the bone when cooking so that the meat falls apart with a fork when done.

Lamb shoulder has the benefit of being a juicier cut than say, a leg of lamb. This means it is much more forgiving if you leave it in the oven a bit too long. You will still have a juicy roast.

There is no better candidate for a slow cooker than a lamb shoulder and it is a nice change of pace from the more popular pork version. Throw this recipe for Crockpot Lamb Shoulder with Rosemary and Garlic in your crockpot before work and come home to a gloriously tasty meal perfect for a chilly winter night.

Vendor of the Month

For rice lovers
We positively love the taste & texture of Rice Select's line of rice and couscous. They cook up perfectly, have great flavor and consistency, and have a long shelf life. They help you create unforgettable meals and allow you to improvise with different tastes and textures. Rice Select is doing something right when it comes to rice.

Rice Selecthas been developing hybrid rice since 1988 in Texas. The company is the world’s largest private hybrid rice researcher, the only hybrid rice seed producer in the U.S., and ranks among North America’s leading specialty rice producers. It is their goal to stay at the forefront of technology and development in these areas while continuing to grow and improve.

All Rice Select products are Non-GMO, kosher, and packaged in a BPA-free jar. Their rice products are certified gluten-free.
Rice Select's Signature Line rice products feature unforgettable aroma, texture, and taste, so every creation lives up to your culinary standard. This is what we are currently carrying at the store.

Inspired by Thai jasmine rice, Jasmati Rice has an intoxicating aroma, exquisite texture, and pronounced-yet-subtle flavor. It’s particularly ideal with Asian-focused techniques and flavors on account of its long and slender grains. Similar to Texmati, Jasmati is a hybrid of Thai jasmine rice and basmati white rice cooks up light and fluffy with a subtle aromatic taste.

This flavorful, unique hybrid grain features a captivating aroma (many liken the smell to freshly popped popcorn), unexpected texture, and welcoming nutty flavor, making it the perfect rice for reinventing familiar flavors in bold, exciting ways. A long-grain American white rice, Texmati is pleasantly aromatic and made from an agricultural hybridization of long-grain white rice and Basmati rice. Ina Garten swears by it!

Texmati rice comes in white, brown, and organic white.

Royal Blend
For the discerning home cook, Royal Blend® offers an enchanting aroma and a sophisticated texture that distinguishes every bite. Royal Blend is comprised of a blend of proprietary Texmati brown rice with red rice, barley, and rye berries.

Traditional Moroccan Couscous is a small, natural pasta that's extremely light and fluffy when cooked, but absorbs large amounts of flavor. With origins from the Maghreb region in North Africa, this pasta resembles small balls that are made with unenriched durum semolina wheat. Couscous is prepared by steaming the pasta to create a light and fluffy consistency for all kinds of meals.

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9 AM to 7 PM.
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4038 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 653-8181

Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.