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Friday, May 1, 2009

Shopping Bargains: Spices

We’re working up a longer post on the deals you can find at Indian food markets, but the recipe for Too-Tired-to-Cook Curry reminded us of the huge savings on spices these stores offer.

Check out the photo: a 1.5-ounce jar of coriander powder was $5.99 at our local supermarket, compared with $1.49 for a seven-ounce bag at the Indian store.

The savings on cumin powder are even more dramatic. These days, many recipes call for cumin—not just for Indian food but for a wide range of dishes, including Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Cuban, and Tex-Mex. Perhaps because of its sudden popularity, cumin tends to be obscenely marked up at supermarkets, where a 1.5-ounce jar runs between $4 and $7. At Indian markets, however, you can get a 14-ounce bag of cumin powder for about $4.

Although online grocery sites also offer some good deals on spices, it’s worth googling “Indian grocery” and your city’s name to see what’s available locally. 


  1. Spices can make such a difference! Last night a humble can of garbanzo beans became the star ingredient in my salad because of good old garam masala. I melted a teaspoon of butter in a saucepan, added a 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala and stirred in a drained, rinsed 14 oz. can of garbanzo beans. The garbanzos browned a bit and picked up the flavor of the butter and the spice while I put the rest of a simple salad together (spring mix, golden pepper, avocado) then topped it with a spoonful of the garbanzos and a bit of miso dressing. Oh my!!

  2. Oh my, indeed. What's the emoticon for "drool"?

    Maybe )........

  3. I think you've just added an important item to our lexicon of emoticons!