From the outside, India Bazaar’s space has a bit of a generic strip-mall look, which belies the abundance of delicious tastes and attractive household items inside. Since 2013, India Bazaar, located on Plymouth Boulevard, offers groceries and prepared food from its deli, and recently, it has added a restaurant. India Bazaar offers a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, including those common to Indian cuisine such as mango, okra and bitter gourd. In addition to produce, the store has grocery items that almost everyone will love, including many that will be welcomed by vegans, vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet. There are a multitude of pulses—also known as legumes—that are high in vegan protein, including chick peas, lentils and split peas. Pakoras (fritters made with lentil flour), dosa (a kind of giant crepe made of rice and lentil flours), and the many rice-based dishes like biryani (literally “spicy rice,” a rice dish studded with fresh and dried fruits, nuts, herbs and meat or fish, if desired) are appealing options for those who are gluten-free.
With the coming of the school year and all the busy-ness that comes along with it, you can stock up on some of India Bazaar’s large variety of frozen meals, like palak paneer (spinach with paneer—a type of Indian cottage cheese), dum aloo (potatoes cooked a tomato-onion gravy), Punjabi chole (a chick pea curry), along with dozens of types of frozen breads, samosas and other staples. The deli offers prepared food and a selection of lassis (a yogurt-based drink) and shakes, including mango, custard apple and a savory salt lassi, along with sweets.
In addition to the groceries and deli offerings, India Bazaar’s recently opened a buffet-style restaurant, perfect for evenings when you want tasty food with balanced nutrition, but you just don’t have time to cook. The buffet offers both meat and vegetarian options. Vegetarian dishes have a separate buffet table to assure that they don’t come into contact with the meat dishes in order to avoid accidental contact, a concern for people who are strict vegetarians.
The deli and restaurant foods are all house-made. Vegetables are fresh and prepared by hand. Chapatis (a popular Indian flatbread) are made on the premises. Fresh lamb, goat and chicken are available. (All India Bazaar’s meat is halal—prepared under Muslim dietary law.) Owners Anitha and Nagendra Tummala emphasize that they want to offer food with high nutritional value, prepared in as healthy a manner as possible. Anitha and Nagendra describe bitter gourd, a buffet dish, as a food high in nutritional benefits. “Many people with diabetes eat bitter gourd because it is believed to lower blood sugar,” says Anitha. Bitter gourd contains important nutrients including iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium and vitamin C. An excellent source of dietary fiber, it also contains twice the calcium of spinach, the beta-carotene of broccoli and the potassium of a banana.
India Bazaar has something for almost anything that ails you. If you have a cold coming on and like the folk remedy of spicy food, the deli and restaurant have options that serve up the heat and taste delicious. If you’re craving something mild and easy to eat, try the idli. These fluffy rice cakes made with rice and lentil flour, traditionally eaten for breakfast but good for any time of day, are the ultimate comfort food.
If you feel like you need a change of scene but can’t get out of town, a trip to India Bazaar grocery will surround you with beautiful colors. Incense available for sale offers fragrance. Even the labels on the packaging are like mini-works of art, with depictions of flowers, animals and idyllic landscapes.
And, if things are just not going right for you, if it’s been one of those days or weeks or months, India Bazaar has statues of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha, Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles.
Chef Tales: The Tummalas offer some recipes for you to try at home.
Anitha’s Butter Chicken
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces.
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin powder
½ tsp. coriander powder
Pinch of tumeric
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste (available ready-made)
For the sauce
1 cup onion paste
¾ cup tomato purée
½ tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp. salt, to taste
1 Tbsp. butter chicken masala (available ready-made)
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. coriander leaves
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Add chicken and cover bowl with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towel.
Heat a large frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Add chicken and saute until halfway cooked. Remove chicken and set aside.
Into the same pan, add oil, onion paste and rest of the butter. Sauté until cooked, then add the tomato purée and cook until combined.
Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Add sugar, butter chicken masala, cream and stir until combined.
Add the chicken pieces and a little water if the gravy looks dry, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
Remove from heat.
Add a little cream and coriander leaves on the top for garnish.
Anitha’s Rice Kheer Indian Rice Pudding
2 teaspoons ghee
¼ cup short grain or basmati rice
4 cups milk
5 tablesppoons sugar
2-3 cardamom pods, crushed
large pinch saffron strands
¼ cup chopped assorted nuts, mostly almonds and cashews
¼ cup raisins
Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain.
In a small microwave-safe bowl or in a small pot on stovetop, warm 1 tablespoon of the milk. Remove from heat.
Add the saffron to the bowl or pot and set aside.
In a heavy nonstick pan, add ghee and milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When bubbles start to form at the edge of the pan, slowly add the presoaked rice.
Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring.
After 20 minutes, check the rice. It should be tender. If not, continue cooking until tender.
Add sugar, cardamom and milk with saffron threads.
Cook for another 10 minutes. The milk should have considerably reduced.
(At this point, the pudding might look thin, but after cooling and chilling it will thicken.)
Fry the nuts in ghee and add in the nuts .
Remove from heat. Serve warm or chilled.