Cardamom orgy at Damavand market
I had an errand to run in Newark Sunday, so I took the opportunity to stop into Damavand market and indulge my passion for cardamom. There's so much good stuff packed into this tiny market. My friend and I marvelled over the spices (I bought some highly aromatic black cumin seeds), argued over what turned out to be bulk jaggery (solidified raw sugar, similar to piloncillo), and were seduced into buying four different cardamom-scented items.
Old favorites were the Afghan sweet called "shir-para" -- a kind of cooked milk fondant with ground walnuts, pistachios and cardamom, and the Persian-style bakalava (one of several they carry, recognizable because of it's thinner, less flaky and cut into small diamond shapes) that's make with almond paste and scented with cardamom and rosewater. In addition, I bought some cardamom-scented tea (Sadaf brand, says "blended and packed in Sri Lanka"); I drink my black tea with lots of milk, and the bright, citrusy flavor of the cardamom really shines through. And, at the insistance of the man ahead of me in the check-out line, something called Roat "cookie bread" (ingredients: whole wheat, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, milk and natural spices). "Natural spices" unfortunately does not identify the small black seeds scattered across the top. The man in line said they were poppy seeds, but I don't think so, as they are slightly larger, tear-drop shaped rather than round, and don't taste like poppy seeds. After tasting one, I believe they may be nigella seeds ( http://www.chow.com/ingredients/309 ). At any rate, this "cookie bread" -- which is more like an inch-thick dry cake -- has a light cardamom flavor as well. It's going really well with my cardamom tea (it's clearly designed to be eaten with tea or coffee).
In other news, the Indian restauarant in the strip mall across the street has changed its name and is no longer Mughal Cuisine but the more prosaic Kabab and Curry. Don't know if it's the same ownership.
Oh, I remember the cardamon baklava purchased at Damavand.
I just bought some kalonji (onion seeds) this afternoon and they are indeed teardrop-shaped.
re: Ruth Lafler
Thank you Ruth. I went shopping, but didn't see the pics until I got home. Is the baklava Fard orange w/ green pistachios? I bought the wrong one: Lord de Pastry Baklava $4.99 a box.
They sell fresh naan bread in the back - I saw others buy it, not sure of price, maybe next time I'll get it.
They sell Halal meat: saw a sign for chicken. Maybe will get next time.
Sadaf Special Blend Tea w/ Cardamom Flavor box of 50 tea bags for $4.49 - nice.
I got a package of All Crust Pocket Bread Pita Bread (6 inside) 99c distributed from place in Union City. Tasted ok.
Credit cards taken over $10
Reason I don't stop more often is the parking lot is small & residential parking is tight.
37012 Towers Way (@ Thornton Ave)
I discovered this tea a few years ago & actually thought there wasn't enough cardamom flavor. Fell in love with Sadaf "special blend w/ earl grey" & just throw in some pods while heating the water. Thanks for the Kabab & Curry heads up.