|Where do the Chefs Shop?
Ever wonder where chefs find some of their ingredients? Here in the Ann Arbor area we are very lucky to be surrounded by many ethnic grocers, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern, there are many to explore. Believe it or not, this is where Chef Thad finds many of his ingredients, such as: fish sauce, shrimp paste, tamarind, chili paste, kombu, miso paste, and the list goes on.
Some of these items can be found at your favorite everyday grocery store, but not with variety that you will find at places like Tsai Grocery (Chef Thad’s favorite Asian grocery store). The products also tend to be more traditional and more affordable. Have you ever wanted your own masala or what most call curry? Then take a trip to Foods of India! They have a huge selection of dried unprocessed spices and you can actually see what the plant looks like, which is very cool!
With a little research, you can pick up a hand-full of spices, toast and blend them to your taste. Believe it! You’ll find this is much more flavorful than a jar of “curry” off the shelf and again much more cost effective. Chef Thad’s masala consists of ajwan, jeera, black cardamom, turmeric and dried red chili. When you are shopping for home, don't think you have to settle with what the chain grocers offer. Expand your culinary horizon and shop where at least one chef shops, and explore your local ethnic grocery store.