Kochi, India is said to export 80% of the world’s spices. With such a claim (though I have no clue if it is in any way factual), there are spice markets everywhere. And, thankfully for us, the spices are outrageously cheap by American standards! We don’t have grocery stores here, and so when we are needing a little culinary inspiration, a walk around Fresh Market or Harris Teeter just isn’t an option. What we do have are spice shops.
And let me tell you, standing in a spice shop makes you want to cook things you would have otherwise never attempted, and buy a pack of 40 vanilla beans for $8 simply because they are $8! Sarabeth did a little research, and vanilla beans have a shelf life of about 6 months if they are stored in an air tight container. That means that the little guys we purchased will be just within use when we reach KY this July. We are hoping to try our hand at homemade vanilla extract, vanilla ice cream, and any other incredible use of vanilla bean you might be so kind to pass our way!
For now, our spice markets are keeping us with fresh ingredients for all things Indian, as Evan loves more and more Indian food and cooking each time he tries something. I want to learn to make my own chai masala mix (chai spices), but the varieties are never ending, and the pre-made spice set is priced un-ordinarily high simply because of the convenience of it. I’m hoping to start diving into the world of chai soon, but for now, the pre-made spice mix from our spice shop is my go to option.