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Jul 30, 2011 06:07 PM

Seeking great indian grocery near Park Slope/Ditmas

Well blow me down. Here I am in the middle of Bangladesh central and I can't find asafetida nor curry leaves. Anyone know a complete Indian grocer. Any recs in Sunset Park?

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  1. Patel Grocery on 4th Ave in Sunset Park is a small gujarati grocery with the basics, including curry leaves and asafoetida and a small stock of vegetables and desi dahi.

    In Kensington I like Bangla Nagar on Church, but they dont have curry leaves to my knowledge.
    Have you checked out the punjabi places down around Coney Island Ave and Newkirk?

    Bangla Nagar
    87 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

    Patel Grocery
    5303 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

    24 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      I'm hitting it tomorrow. Their hours are listed nowhere. Hope they're open on Sunday.

      1. re: ichichan

        Patel is open on sunday. I hope you are in luck. I cant think of any other store in Bklyn that carries them. they would be in the cold case.

      2. re: jen kalb

        For future searchers' sake, I'll note that none of the Pakistani places I've been to on Coney Island Ave (which is many of them) and still none of the Bangla places around Church (which I recently checked out en masse) have curry leaves. I have seen asafoetida at a couple of the Pak places on CIA, but it's not a regular item like at Indian groceries.

        1. re: MikeG

          If you're OK coming into the East Village, Dual has them.

          1. re: Pan

            I really just posted that for anyone else looking for specifically Indian items in Brooklyn, which seem to be rather scarce. Myself, I just sit a little longer on the subway and go out to Jackson Heights for Indian/Bangla food shopping unless I run out of just one or two generic things like dal, or some spices.

            1. re: MikeG

              As stated above, Patel on 4th Ave in Sunset Park routinely stocks curry leaves, chiles, tiny eggplants and a few other specifically indian vegetables, as well as big tubs of desi dahi, spices and other grocery items. They are my regular stop when I am on an Indian food kick.

              1. re: jen kalb

                I'd seen your post about Patel, but since I don't have a car and live on the B/Q line, it involves a pretty hefty trek both on the subway and on foot, even though it's much closer as the crow flies. It's simpler, if a little longer, just to go out to JH. (And personally, I keep things like curry leaves and turmeric root in the freezer, so don't usually run out unexpectedly.)

                And for things that aren't uniquely Indian, the Paki strip on Coney Island Ave is very convenient, on the other hand, since I live on the northern edge of Homecrest, just a couple of blocks from CIA. If I'm feeling especially cheap, I can even go up on the subway and come back on the bus, using the free transfer to save a fare. (lol)

                1. re: MikeG

                  I guess you could take the train down to Coney and switch to the N or whatever, but I take your point Unless you have other reasons to be in that area, not worth it for curry leaves. I usually have some in the frig because they lose so much when frozen.

                  I spend a lot of time in my car traversing Brooklyn but the distances are great especially east to west. I happen to enjoy the drives in Brooklyn - travelling over to Queens not so much.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Yeah, strictly speaking I should've said "curry leaves in the fridge and freezer". Even the largely dried-out-in-the-fridge leaves stay more aromatic, but frozen leaves as a backup is/was better than an emergency grocery run, even when it was just from the UWS to Little India in Manhattan. ;)

                    1. re: MikeG

                      The Patel grocery in Brooklyn is nice and the owners are friendly, but if you don't have a car and it's not convenient, the store certainly doesn't carry nearly as much as the ones in JH, so no reason not to go to JH instead. For me, getting to JH in the car if there's no traffic is not that much more time than getting to sunset park, but if the BQE has traffic it's a nightmare. I wish one of the big JH groceries like Patel Bros would open up down on CIA. I think it's time.

                    2. re: jen kalb

                      For what it's worth, I came across curry leaves at Perelandra on Remsen St. near Court, of all places. Organic no less, and only $2.49 for a full ounce (which is a LOT of curry leaves.) They also have fresh turmeric, but at $9.99/lb, that's a lot more expensive than is usual at S Asian markets. It's not a typical S Asian ingredient, but they also have fresh galangal at the same price, which isn't a bad at all.

                      1. re: MikeG

                        Wow, that's walking distance for me, so thanks! any chance they have holy basil or lime leaves as well?

                        1. re: missmasala

                          Definitely no lime leaves, I'm sure I would've noticed those, but I might've missed what I think of as Asian basil. You do mean this stuff: rather than , yes?

                          The only places I've found lime leaves lately, at least with any regularity, are Bangkok Center Grocery, on Mosco St, and the outdoor vegetable stall on the SW corner of Grand & Chrystie Sts, both in Manhattan's Chinatown. They have very small bags for $3 and $2, respectively.

                          1. re: MikeG

                            Kalustyan carries lime leaves as well as curry leaves and some of these other items. Thai basil is widely available in chinese groceries. Ive not seen fresh holy basil but it can be grown very easily from the bags of tulsi seed sold in Indian and chinese groceries - these are the seeds used in desserts like falooda and in drinks.

                            1. re: MikeG

                              I meant holy basil, not thai basil. thai basil, or at least the variety used in vietnamese restaurants (served with pho) is pretty readily available, but I would love to find a brooklyn source of holy basil.

                              And Jen, I'm not a big fan of Kalustyan's which I find overpriced, but you did just remind me that I brought a packet of holy basil seeds back from thailand with me last summer. time to plant them!

                              1. re: missmasala

                                Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen tulsi-holy basil for sale at all, or for that matter seen it called for in a culinary setting. How do you use it?

                                1. re: MikeG

                                  You use it in pad ka prao, a dish of meat stir fried with chilies and holy basil. It's one of the few thai dishes I can make at home, but I have to use regular asian basil and would love to be able to use holy basil, as it has a distinctive taste.

                                  Jen's info about it being tulsi and being the seeds used in falooda etc is interesting new info to me.

                                  1. re: missmasala

                                    Ah, OK. With your comment as a guide and Google Translate as an assistant, I see that there are (unsurprisingly, really) different strains of Ocimum tenuiflorum involved. Thais (apparently) use a different strain for cooking than the one(s) used in India for non-food purposes.

                                    I still don't think I've seen "kaphrao" (vs "horapha") in Manhattan (or Brooklyn), but given NYC's demographics, I wonder if Woodside might not be your best bet? This seriouseats article ( mentions a couple of specifically Thai grocery stores out there and I'd guess there are other less publicized ones there too.

                                    1. re: MikeG

                                      A while ago I believe someone on this board told me I could get it in elmhurst. But at this point I'll probably just plant the seeds I finally remember I have.

                                2. re: missmasala

                                  Ive never seen fresh holy basil for sale in brooklyn or manhattan chinatown, sorry. Like I said though, I was surprised to see it in my garden when I planted some tulsi seeds. It even seeded in the next year(a couple plants came up) this was quite a number of years ago, and the seeds may have come from either a chinese or indian store.

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    They do sometimes carry holy basil at the Thai store on Mosco street in Manhattan.

                            2. re: MikeG

                              The Flatbush Food Coop on Cortelyou in Ditmas park carries these items as well. The turmeric root is available seasonally in late winter/early spring, and the curry leaves are sometimes there, sometimes not, with no discernible pattern.

              2. There's a large Indian market, I believe it's called Eastern, on Coney Island Ave, betw aves H & I with a wide assortment of spices.