I buy my groceries at different stores depending on what I need to buy. I usually buy fresh produce at Market Street or Central Market while I buy supplies and packaged goods from Wal-Mart or Target.  The last few times I was in my favorite Indian grocery stores to pick up spices, I purchased some of their vegetables so I wouldn’t have to make additional stops. Each time I was stunned when the storeowner rang up the sale and gave me a total that was less than I expected! The prices for common items in Indian food like red onions, eggplant, cauliflower, ginger and garlic were far lower than those in chain stores.

 

I purchased the items below at the New Diamond Grocers, Wal-Mart and Central Market. I included Wal-Mart because it is reported to be the low price leader and Central Market because it is a high priced foodie haven owned by HEB. (I have to admit that I absolutely love the wide variety of the most beautiful food options they provide and shop here often.) Here is what I found:

 

Item New Diamond Grocers Wal-Mart Central Market
Cauliflower 1.99 ea 2.78 ea 2.99 ea
Eggplant 1.45/lb 1.78/lb 1.78/lb
Fresh garlic 1.49/lb 2.78/lb

2.50/lb

(.50/head)

Fresh ginger .99/lb 2.38/lb 1.99/lb
Green onions

.11/oz

(.33/3 oz)

.23/oz

(1.14/5 oz)

.35/oz

(.69 – 5 ea)

Okra 2.49/lb NA 2.99/lb
Red onions .69/lb 1.45/lb 1.79/lb
Roma tomatoes .99/lb 1.14/lb 1.49/lb

 

 

On average, the prices at New Diamond Grocers was 39% lower than Wal-Mart 40% lower than Central Market. This difference is amazing. By purchasing basic fresh produce from your local store, you can definitely make a positive impact on your budget!

 

My next money saving quest will be to see how much I can save on dried spices. That may be a no brainer.

 

Instead of waiting until Small Business Saturday why not help out the small mom and pop stores all year long!
 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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When Alex Easo opened his new National Imports store in Carrollton, Texas, I thought I would try out the fresh produce he sold in his inviting market display. The first items I bought from him were red onions, ginger and garlic. 

 

Tasty red onions, ginger and garlic from the Indian store.

Tasty red onions, ginger and garlic from the Indian store.

 

I was amazed at the petite size of the red onions. Grocery store red onions are so huge that just a fraction of one is required for most recipes. The rest has to be stored in my fridge (stinking up the vegetable drawer) for future use. Often, it spoils and is just wasted. Indian store red onions are just the right size for Indian recipes without any waste. The best part about the ones from the Indian grocery is their mild flavor. I can use them raw on a salad and won’t be overwhelmed with onion breath. I asked the owner of my local Indian store about this and he reported that they are different varieties.

 

Fresh ginger is sold in pieces in both stores. I noticed that the pieces in the Indian groceries are larger but that is due to the amount that is used in recipes at home. The flavor, texture and color of the ginger carried in both stores are different. I learned that the ginger at chain groceries is from Mexico while the ginger in Indian groceries is from China. The skin is a little darker and the texture is stringier on the Mexican ginger than that from China. When mincing the Chinese ginger, I didn’t notice as many long fibers which make it more desirable for cooking.

 

In addition I purchased a package of 5 heads of garlic. The heads as well as the cloves are smaller. I noticed right away that the cloves inside are more consistent in size. The flavor of the garlic from the Indian grocery is milder so it doesn’t leave the same amount of garlic odor on your hands.

 

Which store sells fresh produce at the lowest price? Wal-Mart? Central Market? Or my local Indian grocery? Come back next week to read my report.

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.

Have you noticed that most South Indian recipes require garlic and ginger in them? Honestly, I don’t know of any recipes that don’t use either one of them. Do you try to save time by mincing and chopping all of it just once for each dish you make at one time? Then find that you used more than you should have used and the last recipe you cook requires more than the amount that remains? Are you under a time crunch when cooking and want to save time?


Homemade Ginger-Garlic Paste for use in South Indian recipes

Homemade Ginger-Garlic Paste for use in South Indian recipes

It takes time to mince garlic into fine pieces; it takes more time to peel and chop the ginger fine enough so you don’t see long fibers. Many recipes call for using ginger paste, garlic paste or a blend of both. I had never used them because I thought the pastes with preservatives would not taste right. In preparing the Meat Masala recipe for the April Recipe of the Month, I finally broke down and used commercially prepared ginger-garlic paste.

 
The flavor of the ginger-garlic paste I purchased was fine but not as good as what I can prepare fresh. That made me thing about making my own. I went to the store and bought a huge branch of ginger and several heads of garlic. With my knife and food processor I went to work. Here is my recipe:

 

Ginger-Garlic Paste

The key is to use equal amounts of fresh Ginger and Garlic…doesn’t matter which unit of measure you use. 
 

Preparing Garlic-Ginger Paste to use in South Indian Recipes

Preparing Garlic-Ginger Paste to use in South Indian Recipes

 

 

1/4 lb ginger, peeled

1/4 lb garlic (2 large heads), peeled

3-4 Tbs water

1 1/2 Tbs vinegar 

 

1. Chop the garlic and ginger roughly into large pieces. Make sure to slice the ginger across the grain to cut the coarse fibers and make it less tough.

2. Put the ginger and garlic in the food processor and add 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse the ginger and garlic for approximately 10 to 15 seconds until they form a 

paste (like loose cream of wheat cereal). Scrape the paste down from the sides with a spatula so it is chopped evenly. If the paste looks thick, add 1 or two more tablespoons of water.

3. Add the vinegar to the paste and pulse for a few more seconds.

 

Tips:

 

– The roughly chopped ginger and garlic should yield almost one cup each. The final result will also yield about a cup of ginger-garlic paste.

– Vinegar acts as a preservative but won’t change the flavor or texture of the paste. 

– In a clean, airtight jar, store the paste in the refrigerator. 

 

Check out Kachi’s Kitchen for South Indian recipes that use Ginger-Garlic paste.

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.