Archives for Ingredients category

Savory Spice Shop

Downtown Santa Rosa at 317 D Street, between 4th and 5th. I have only been in there once, but they had asafoetida in stock, great prices, and the freshest saffron I have ever seen! (Seriously, it looked like it was glowing under a black light it was so vibrant. It was a deep dark red, the flavor is strong and so good, and less than $13 a gram to boot! It was Spanish Coupe, if you care to know.)

Both Pat and Cheryl there were extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about what they were doing. They were interested in what I was making with my purchases and where I had been getting things before.

They had whole spices and could grind them for you there. They had many rubs and other mixtures. The store is large and spacious so you don’t have to crowd around one rack if there are lots of people there.

It looks like I won’t have to go to Fremont for spices anymore, or worse, make do with the garbage at Safeway, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (all 100% crap: old, flavorless, sad and expensive).

Please check them out and shop there, I like to have my dealers local.

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Saffron, vanilla, cardamom, those are the most expensive spices, in order. Good stuff, used in Middle Eastern, South Asian and Nordic cuisines.

There are really just two types of cardamom, green and black. Black cardamom is actually a different thing completely, so I should really say there is only one cardamom (do not substitute black cardamom for green, not the same flavor).

You will see white cardamom, this is just bleached green (for use in baking or other times the flavor is desired but the color is not). You will see cardamom seeds, the husk has just been removed. Other names like red, brown, Java, etc. cardamoms are justĀ  black cardamom names.

There are different varieties of green cardamom, and different regions where they are grown. The main two varieties are Mysore and Malabar, both from India. Mysore is stronger and more aromatic. Generally speaking, however, there is not much difference between most types, freshness should be the deciding factor.

Get the whole pods with the husks on and remove them if the recipe calls for seeds. Toasted, fried or raw, each method gives a different flavor, but the seeds are generally toasted before grinding and adding to a recipe.

Click here to buy me a beer if you found anything useful or entertaining.