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  1. #1
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    Best hummus & ethnic grocery stores

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    I'm always pleased to find several good ethnic grocery stores wherever I live because often the prices are just better for stuff used in the original country's cuisine and sometimes other stuff.

    For instance, at a Mediterrean bakery, we bought a large tub of hummus (400 grams) that they made on-site that day. The good thing is this hummus is soft...and not too salty. Usually I've found other brands just too salty.

    Also piled in 12 whole wheat pitas, 6 white small pita bread rounds, 8 little different pistachio and hazelnut pastries, flatbread with spices on top for snack. I had a light custard phyllo pastry with light syrup and orange flower water (I think) with pistachio. All of this and hummus was just $14.00.

    Then we cycled over to a Chinese grocery supermarket where I loaded up on dried Chinese noodles, garlic soybean sauce, tub of tofu...etc.

    And later ended up going to a different Mediterrean supermarket where a large hunk of fresh ginger root was only 84 cents. Then piled in a fresh large daikon, long Chinese eggplant, olive oil and box of 72 tea bags of South Asian chai masala tea.

    The supermarket had stuff on sale to celebrate Ramadan.

    I haven't used grocery coupons in decades. I haven't read any newspaper grocery specials in past 15 years. I just patronize several select ethnic grocery stores, farmers' markets and visit 1-2 local regular grocery chain stores. It works for me and I still save money.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-06-2011 at 02:58 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  2. #2
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    That's pretty much the way I shop and it's fun. Oddly, cycling has taken up so much time that I don't get to Chinatown or to the Middle Eastern stores as often as I used to.

  3. #3
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    hummus is easy and satisfying to make yourself, plus you can make small batches of different flavors.

    There are some really awesome recipes for self made hummus out there, of course this means that you won't be able to ( have to) spend quite so much time trekking to ethnic grocery stores.

    marni
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
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    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by marni View Post
    There are some really awesome recipes for self made hummus out there, of course this means that you won't be able to ( have to) spend quite so much time trekking to ethnic grocery stores.

    marni
    To me, it's no more extra time marni, than going to a mainstream supermarket.
    I reduce the number of different mainstream supermarkets when I shop at these places.

    They sell ordinary stuff too --red peppers, basil, fennel bulb, milk, eggs (fennel bulb is cheaper in Chinatown...because it's probably not common in Chinese cuisine!).

    Just don't have a blender to any hummus or any blending stuff. I don't even make my own curry pastes. There is an Thai/Indonesian (I have to look at the container) brand that makes non-oily red, green curry pastes that I buy in ..bulk.

    But I do homemade focaccia..
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-06-2011 at 10:11 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Shootingstar~

    What a find! Just curious how you deal with purchasing at multiple places on one bike trip...

    Do you leave your stuff on the bike? Carry it in? Do you worry about the subsequent stores saying something? I tend to only run one "shopping" errand at a time for that reason, and was curious if you have thoughts
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    ]I don't even make my own curry pastes.
    Oh goodness, hummus is SO much easier and quicker than curries and masalas! For one thing hummus IS the dish, making seasonings is just one step in making a dish for which you still have to prep all the vegetables and everything. I finally gave up on Indian cooking, it was just so time-consuming.

    To me it comes down to expense and waste. Even top quality exotic ingredients ... A pound of organic chickpeas is $4 - a bulb of organic local heirloom garlic, $2 - a bunch of organic parsley, if you don't grow your own, $1, two organic lemons, $2, half a cup of organic sesame seeds, roughly $1. That'll net you three or four pounds of hummus for $10, versus 6 or 8 oz in the store for $3 or $4, in a polypro tub that can't even be recycled most places, and there are only so many of those you can re-use.

    Basically the only reason I even own a food processor is for chickpeas. If it weren't for hummus and falafel, I'd hardly ever have a use for it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    Do you leave your stuff on the bike? Carry it in? Do you worry about the subsequent stores saying something?
    It's not unusual for me to go into the grocery store with a backpack full of stuff from the natural food store. Nobody's ever questioned me, but I keep the receipt handy just in case.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
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    We have 2 homes in 2 different cities, of which I can't afford to buy duplicate appliances. So, no blender but I don't miss it because he is the blender person, not me.

    Great, if one wants to make their own hummus and has it frequently. But I don't. I just enjoy a tub from the store, maybe less than once per month. But yes, to make something from scratch is a great deal. I always feel that way when I make my own large sheet pan of focaccia.
    As for pannier(s) already loaded with groceries from another store, I do tend to like bigger ethnic supermarkets with a shopping cart so that I can throw in the weighted panniers in there.

    Occasionally I will leave a pannier on bike locked outside if there's no valuable stuff inside.

    And that is another helpful criteria: a place to lock up a bike in front of store.

    Actually going in a large Middle Eastern grocery store made me see the same Eastern Asian groceries from a different perspective...when they sell it.

    Teas with colonial image packaging (of course, these other countries had British colonial past whereas Chinese and Japanese teas don't have that type of visual branding at all).

    I have to say that I was inspired enough to do a blog post which...won't be released for a few weeks.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-07-2011 at 07:34 AM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Oh goodness, hummus is SO much easier and quicker than curries and masalas! For one thing hummus IS the dish, making seasonings is just one step in making a dish for which you still have to prep all the vegetables and everything. I finally gave up on Indian cooking, it was just so time-consuming.

    To me it comes down to expense and waste. Even top quality exotic ingredients ... A pound of organic chickpeas is $4 - a bulb of organic local heirloom garlic, $2 - a bunch of organic parsley, if you don't grow your own, $1, two organic lemons, $2, half a cup of organic sesame seeds, roughly $1. That'll net you three or four pounds of hummus for $10, versus 6 or 8 oz in the store for $3 or $4, in a polypro tub that can't even be recycled most places, and there are only so many of those you can re-use.

    Basically the only reason I even own a food processor is for chickpeas. If it weren't for hummus and falafel, I'd hardly ever have a use for it.
    Yeah, I very rarely cook anything Indian because prepping the spices takes forever, and they can be expensive if you live somewhere without a significant Indian population.
    I love hummus, but I don't eat so much of it that I can justify making it myself. (I'm also too lazy to clean the blender, but that's another matter.) Though I have to ask: Oak, where do you find sesame seeds in those quantities? I've only seen small jars in the Asian foods section (or small jars of tahini when I was living in Cleveland), and don't think I've ever seen them in bulk. Also, do you have a falafel recipe that you're willing to share?
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owlie View Post
    where do you find sesame seeds in those quantities?
    Arrowhead Mills has it in 1# bags, almost any natural food store has them. I don't even buy tahini any more, it's so much fresher if I grind the seeds myself.

    Also, do you have a falafel recipe that you're willing to share?
    I pretty much use the Joy of Cooking recipe, but it's as close as nevermind to this one from Mark Bittman. Probably a bit more garlic, and I always put in a couple of tablespoons of whatever wheat flour I have lying around to help it stick together, though this recipe is gluten-free and could stay that way.

    I hate recipes that start with "chopped parsley," e.g. What I do is trim and chunk the garlic, throw into the food processor, whir 'til it's more or less minced. Trim the parsley, throw it into the FP, pulse until minced. Then add the trimmed, chunked onion and drained chickpeas and proceed per the recipe.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
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    Thanks! That sounds tasty. (I miss the Middle Eastern restaurants in Cleveland. Cheap and tasty food!) Do you deep-fry or bake yours? As tasty as deep-fried might be, I'm never going to have enough oil on hand to merit deep-frying, with it being just me. (Well, that and I'd like someone to be able to wield a fire extinguisher should something happen!) Easier clean-up too. The food processor sat for a few days the last time I used it... I agree with you--if you've got it out already, you may as well make it worth your effort to clean it and make the rest of the steps easier. Do you have sauce with it? If so, what kind?

    And thanks for the tip on sesame seeds. I'll have to take a look.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  12. #12
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    I fry mine. Filter the oil through a coffee filter, put it in an empty bottle, keep it in the fridge until the next batch of falafel. Or it adds a nice flavor to scrambled eggs if you're into that.

    I make a tahini sauce pretty much like Bittman describes, but without yogurt. Tahini (or sesame seeds that I grind first before adding liquids), lemon juice, red pepper, salt, water to thin. No idea of quantities, I just go by taste. The mini-chopper attachment for the stick blender is perfect for that.



    PS - DH used the food processor to make gazpacho tonight. That's the other thing it gets used for.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 08-07-2011 at 02:31 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
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    hummus

    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    To me, it's no more extra time marni, than going to a mainstream supermarket.

    But I do homemade focaccia..
    This is assuming you have an ethnic store near you- here in Stepfordville, WASP/Evangelic Christian Katy Tx. their idea of exotic or ethnic food is soy sauce.

    Once or twice a year I bite the bullet, drive 25 miles, each way, to the nearest whole foods store to stock up on tahini. Garbanzo beans I buy at a local stop and shop that for some reason carries them predictably, while to local Krogers doesn't always, nor does the HEB or Randalls.

    My daughter just taught me how to make nan bread. One more bread to be addicted to, but it makes a nice break from the homemade rustic carroway rye the Sag Guys makes which is our staple.

    I love focaccia.

    marni
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
    Trek Pilot 5.2- " Bebe"


    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by marni View Post
    This is assuming you have an ethnic store near you- here in Stepfordville, WASP/Evangelic Christian Katy Tx. their idea of exotic or ethnic food is soy sauce.

    Once or twice a year I bite the bullet, drive 25 miles, each way, to the nearest whole foods store to stock up on tahini. Garbanzo beans I buy at a local stop and shop that for some reason carries them predictably, while to local Krogers doesn't always, nor does the HEB or Randalls.

    My daughter just taught me how to make nan bread. One more bread to be addicted to, but it makes a nice break from the homemade rustic carroway rye the Sag Guys makes which is our staple.

    I love focaccia.

    marni
    You have a great daughter, she's learned well from her mother to step out of local cuisine to do... nan bread.

    Your story is reminder to those of us..that still...in this global community there are lots of areas in North America that simply stick to their comfort zone/local food cuisine/cooking recipes and don't want to venture too far too often.

    Would be useful to hear stories if this true or if TE members here have to take extra steps like you do for "other" ethnic ingredients/foods in more rural areas/smaller town areas.

    I am reminded....when we go cycling in rural areas or stay with friends who live in these areas. (It is true, they....learn from me.) It depends on the area. Sometimes I've been pleasantly surprised. Other times, it's me bringing a gift of fresh lichee fruit or whatever.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 08-08-2011 at 03:31 AM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

 

 

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