Long Island Gems: Apna Bazar {Part 1}

Long Island Gems: Apna Bazar {Part 1}

Apna Bazar is a large Indian grocer in Hicksville, Long Island. I spotted it the last time The Electrician and me doorbusted Ikea for some stuff for my classroom. I knew I had to return. So with spring break upon me, I stopped by one lovely afternoon not knowing what to expect. It turns out that it’s pretty darn awesome.

I found a slew of goodies but spend only $13. Here’s what I found: Boondi, a fried snack made from chickpea flour and spices. Some fixins: beetroot and ginger chutney, along with mango chutney, and, my favorite, tamarin sauce (imli in Hindi.) This bottle is just like the sauce served in the restaurants. No need to bother with the tamarin paste, concentrate or that big brick. I mean, unless you want to.

Just some mango. You know–ripened, sweet mango. That’s all.

No! They’re BABY sweet mangoes! That’s right. Check out the quarter for scale.

They are in the same proportion as the big mangoes. That means a big pit. These babies are definitely single serving size.

Next fine, purple yam–or Dioscrea alata. According to Wiki, these yams are used in desserts AND “used as a laxative and vermifuge, and as a treatment for fever, gonorrhea, leprosy, tumors, and inflamed hemorrhoids.” Now that’s some starchy delight! I boiled the huge, purple yam and made mashed purple yam. There is a delightfully aromatic flavor in this yam, as if it grew next to a field of lavender. It is purple and it tastes purple, too.

Next up, yellow cucumber. I thought this was a melon, given it’s soft push of the skin. But alas, it’s Dosa Kai. I sliced it up and expected a watery crunch… but it was soft and had a slight bitter taste. It is clearly a great choice for pickling.

I loaded the slices with some fancy-pants dressing to make a simple yellow cucumber salad.

Apna Bazar was a great find. I look forward to going back and experimenting with more produce.