Friday, October 31, 2008

Spice Route Runs Down Interstate


Where do you go when you need an exotic spice called for in a recipe? And I mean one most people have never heard of. One that's used infrequently, even in its country of origin. One that really can't be substituted for.

Sometimes, when a recipe calls for something I don't have in my spice drawer, I've left it out altogether. But this time, when a lamb shank recipe called for black cardamom pods, I went on a mission.

I stopped at a couple of Asian markets. No dice. I thought my luck might change at Caribbean Spice on NE 42nd and, while they said they used to carry it, it hadn't sold well. As I was heading out the door, the woman behind the counter called me back and recommended trying Fiji Emporium, a store that carries spices and ingredients from Fiji, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Score! Not only did they have the black cardamom pods I was seeking, but a dazzling array of other spices and grains in a crowded but very clean little store. The fellow behind the counter even seemed interested in what I was making with it, and pulled out a large container of lacy orange mace for me to sniff, saying it was often used with lamb as well.

So now I can add this spot to my list of great ethnic sources along with Rose International and Uwajimaya in Beaverton. And this one's a lot closer to home. Now, can anyone tell me what Junglee Chicken is?

Details: Fiji Emporium, 7814 N Interstate Ave. Phone 503-240-2768.

7 comments:

Cathy said...

Thanks for the resource. Its infuriating to run all over town looking for an illusive ingredient.

Anonymous said...

I would think they would have cardamom at India 4 U in Portland.
Mike

kab said...

I agree that closer is better...next time I'm over near 36th & Belmont I'll stop in at India 4 U and check it out. Anyone else have other great resources for those elusive ingredients?

Anonymous said...

I was there today actually and I checked for you--they do have cardamom pods (in front of the register). ;)
Mike

kab said...

Thanks, Mike!

Josh said...

By chance, did you try your luck at Fubon for cardamom? Or there is another spot along 80th and Stark, right next to Ya Hala Lebanese restaurant. They sell some fairly original products as well.
Great blog post!

kab said...

I thought about Fubonn, but was trying to stay closer to home. The Mediterranean grocery next to Ya Hala is apparently owned by the same folks as the restaurant, and they do have lots of ingredients used in that cuisine. Though again, distance kept me looking closer to home. Thanks, Josh!