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Help me locating: Fresh Turmeric / Kencur / Zeodary

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  • Bundi Oct 13, 2007 02:26 PM
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I hate to drive to NYC for these, can anyone suggest where to find fresh turmeric, fresh kencur root and fresh zeodary around Boston? I've tried all places in Chinatown, the usual Super 88 to no avail. Thanks Bundi.

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  1. I've bought fresh tumeric, either at the Harvest Co-Op in Central Square or the Whole Foods. What are the other two, kencur and zeodary? I've never heard of them before.

    1 Reply
    1. re: steinpilz

      I didn't even think about Harvest Co-Op. I didn't think that Whole Foods would carry it, but I will give them a try tomorrow. Zeodary is a rhisome, like ginger or galanal but a bit more bitter. Kencur is very close to galangal as well and it has a very distinctive flavor. All of them are sort of essential in making basic Indonesian food.
      Thanks for the fresh turmeric hint.

    2. Have you tried Christina's in Inman Square?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Prav

        Don't know the place, I'll give it a try tomorrow, thanx.

        1. re: Bundi

          i buy my spices at Arax in Watertown (Mt. Auburn Street) - don't know if they will have these but they have all the middle eastern ones - there are several Indian groceries in Brookline that may carry these (two on Harvard Street, one on Washington near School).

      2. Penzey's http://www.penzeys.com/ is an on line retailer of high quality spices. They have a retail shop on Mass Ave in Arlington Heights. They stock turmeric (prices at http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzey... ) but not kencur or zeodary. Prices are high but the quality is usually pretty high also (at least judging from the sichuan peppercorns, which cost 4-5x as much as at Super 88 but are also at least ten times as good and as potent).

        I think teezeetoo is on the right track in looking at the Armenian markets in Watertown and Belmont. Another thought is that there are two Turkish markets within a few blocks of each other, on the same side of Brighton Ave in Allston. Turkuaz is one of them (link to map below, web site http://www.eturkuaz.com/ ) but I don't have a name or address for the other which is closer to Union Square. I don't remember if either had good herb or spice collections, but there are a batch of other Turkish specific things that you can get easily there.

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        Penzeys Spices
        1293 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA

        Turkuaz Market
        16 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dr.Jimbob

          I don't think Penzey's has fresh turmeric rhizomes, though.

        2. I'd check the Indian markets on Moody St. in Waltham.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Aromatherapy

            and the Indian market in Union Square. They have some really surprising items, but communication can be difficult.

          2. Definitely the Indian markets, and you might also try calling Russo's in Watertown as well. I know I've seen fresh turmeric there, not sure if they always carry it though.

            1. Christina's has mostly dried spices so I don't think they would have the whole fresh rhizome's you are looking for.

              The one place that comes to mind is the two or three Indian grocery stores on Moody St. in Waltham, but even that is a bit of a stretch. I keep an eye out for vegetable food items that I am not familar with, and have seen Galangal all over, but I don't think Kencur or zeodary. Again, those stores in Waltham tend to have the most exotic item's in that realm.

              The other possibility might be Kam Man in Quincy. Just for the sheer massive scale of the place they might have them.

              1. Fresh tumeric is the easiest of the three. I have seen it *sometimes* at the Indian grocery stores on Moody street in Waltham. Very occasionally it shows up at Russos. (There is no one place that I know of that always carries it.) As for kencur, do you know if it is also sometimes labeled "lesser rhizome" or something similar? You can often find that frozen at Super 88 in Allston. It is thinner and longer and paler than turmeric. (Or maybe that is zeodary, or something else.) Very occasionally I have seen something that looks like a white form of turmeric at the aforementioned Indian grocery stores. That is another candidate for your search, perhaps.

                2 Replies
                1. re: PinchOfSalt

                  The frozen package seen as 'Lesser Rhizome' would not be Kencur/Zedoary... Is Krachai in Thai aka 'chinese keys'... as the roots hang like an old set of keys or boney fingers... Zedoary/Kencur/sand ginger are one and the same...
                  Also the white form of tumeric at indian stores sometimes is known as Mango Tumeric or white tumeric and is in use in s. india for pickels... and south Thai people munch them like baby carrot sticks... Not in use in indonesia far as Ive looked into it.
                  I have ALOT of Fresh frozen Kencur for anyone whos just gotta have it and cant find it...
                  startalia@earthlink.net

                  1. re: Steve T

                    Thanks for the info, Steve. Good stuff.

                2. I'm thinking you may have to go a little further afield than Chinatown, to the outer urban areas that have more of a Cambodian population. I know I've seen galangal type rhizomes, and probably fresh turmeric, at the Super 99 Fish Market in Lynn. I also think I may have seen it (hard to tell, nothing is labeled with English names ) at Phu Kuong Market, on Dorchester Ave, right across from Ba Le Bakery.

                  Large markets in Lowell, like Battambang, will probably be your best chance...I don't get out there that often, it's probably a 1/2 drive....

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                  Super 99 Fish Market
                  873 Western Ave, Lynn, MA 01905

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Battambang often has fresh tumeric, almost always has fresh galangal, as for the other two rhizomes, since I don't use them/know them to sight, I can't say. But Battambang also usually have a selection of whole roots/rhizomes in their frozen foods section. Also, the upside to a trip to Battambang in Lowell is that there are also several other Cambodian grocers in town, and while Battambang is usually first stop for me, if they don't have what I need there are four or five other good options (including two good indian grocers) within a few miles.

                  2. have seen fresh turmeric root at angkor thom market on shirley ave in revere. check the freezer chest for other possible rhizomes

                    1. From the Cook's Thesaurus :
                      "lesser galangal = lesser galangale = kencur root = kentjur root = zedoary Notes: This Indonesian rhizome looks a bit like ginger, only it's smaller and darker. It's hard to find in the U.S., but your best bet is to look in Asian markets. It's sold fresh, frozen, pickled, dried, or powdered. Used the dried or powdered versions only in a pinch. One teaspoon powdered = two teaspoons fresh minced. Substitutes: fingerroot OR galangal (sharper flavor) OR ginger"
                      There is an Indian grocery in Central Sq. Camb and a far Eastern grocery near MIT.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cantab

                        Hi,

                        If the Kencur is to be found at an Asian market, you are pretty sure to find it at Kam Man in Quincy, which is like the Wal-Mart superstore of Asian food.

                      2. You can get organic fresh turmeric at Debra's Natural Gourmet in West Concord, MA (every Tuesday they have lots of organic produce).

                        1. The Somerville Market Basket had fresh turmeric today. $2.50/lb or so. They also have galangal, fresh curry leaves, and I even saw Thai eggplant there a week or two ago (haven't seen it since).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: emannths

                            oh my! thanks for posting...these seem to be new items for this location....

                            1. re: Madrid

                              A few months ago they started stocking Thai stuff in the ethnic aisle (things like curry pastes, fish sauce, noodles). This new stuff in the produce section started within the last few weeks.

                              Oh, and I left one out: fuzzy melon. Now, if they could stock Thai basil I'd be really happy.

                          2. I've purchased fresh turmeric at the Waltham India Market on Moody St. I think they have it all the time, although I haven't checked for awhile. Patel Bros a few doors down might carry it also.

                            [edit: bangs head on wall when realizing she just replied to a posting from 2007]

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                            Waltham India Market
                            393 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453