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View Full Version : Why Don't They Sell Garam Masala in the Grocery Store?


fessie
04-10-2008, 11:26 PM
Seems like there's plenty of space on the spice aisle - surely we can't need 4 different brands of garlic!

Any of the grocery chains known to carry this?

NightRabbit
04-10-2008, 11:41 PM
I've only been able to find it in smaller, organic food stores. With all the ethnic food trends, you'd think that regular grocery stores would carry it! But I had to hunt all over for saffron, too, which puzzled me.

Queen Bruin
04-10-2008, 11:46 PM
My Albertson's sells it, but commercial garam masala is the dullest stuff on the planet. I started fresh grinding my own - there are lots of recipes out there. I can post mine later if anyone's interested.

ETA: I buy my whole spices from either Penzey's (http://penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html) or their rival, The Spice House (http://thespicehouse.com/). Worth every cent.

Darryl Lict
04-10-2008, 11:50 PM
Modern grocery store marketing is a billion dollar industry. The computer algorithms have deemed it not profitable enough to carry Garam Masala. In this particular case, I think the that the marketing drones are correct. IMHO, almost any town of significant size would have a store that would carry it. My local Rite Aid does not carry Pabst Blue Ribbon. This is madness.

Lisa-go-Blind
04-10-2008, 11:51 PM
Target sells it under the "Archer Farms" brand name.

Hey, It's That Guy!
04-10-2008, 11:54 PM
I live in a neighborhood with a few different Indian markets, if you need me to pick you up some (for exact cost plus price of shipping).

Gala Matrix Fire
04-11-2008, 06:01 AM
Are you sure you looked? I shop at the most "bargain" grocery store in town, and they carry garam marsala. It's in a little glass bottle right in there with all the other spices, alphabetized for your convenience.

Cicero
04-11-2008, 06:10 AM
It's in every supermarket in Australia, though that won't help you.

MissRancher
04-11-2008, 07:41 AM
I just bought some at Giant - it was one of the 'gourmet' McCormick spices.

Dangerosa
04-11-2008, 07:51 AM
Does your grocery store have an "ethnic food" aisle. I can find normal spices in the spice aisle in little tiny jars for a zillion dollars, and bags of imported, cheap exotic spices in the ethnic foods aisle.

fessie
04-11-2008, 08:15 AM
Thanks, Big Bad Voodoo Lou, you're so kind -- if I can't do this on my own, I'll check back w/you!

Target sells it under the "Archer Farms" brand name.

Target is a frequent outing for us -- PlayDoh, underwear and bananas, all under one roof! I'll check there, thanks!

And, just to show my appreciation to y'all, here's a link to the Mulligatawny Soup (http://epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/232690) I made for my husband the other day (I faked the garam masala, had everything but the cardamon pods on hand). Delicious and pretty easy to do.

Yep, Dangerosa that's good advice. It's the opposite for bacon bits, though - the cheap ones are in the bulk spice aisle. Umm yumm, loves me some bright orange artificially flavored crunchy chemicals!

Grossbottom
04-11-2008, 08:50 AM
Whole Foods carries it. And to the person looking for saffron, alot of stores put saffron behind the counter where you get smokes and lotto tickets to avoid its being stolen.

Zsofia
04-11-2008, 10:10 AM
Seriously, y'all. Penzey's will change your life. You didn't know how crappy your spices were.

Cheez_Whia
04-12-2008, 08:40 AM
Seriously, y'all. Penzey's will change your life. You didn't know how crappy your spices were.
A-men, sistah!

Maastricht
04-12-2008, 11:27 AM
AFAIK, "garam massala" just means "mixture of spices". As Queen Bruin said, there are many recipies; as many as there are curries. And freshly ground, freshly baked and tailored to the recipy you're making garam masala is the best there is.

I believe mainstream stores sell some dull form of garam massala under the name of "curry" or kerrie (not to be confused with "curry"-sauce). What most curry powders have in common is that they are brown/yellow powder, due to the yellowroot that is an important ingredient.

Mahna Mahna
04-12-2008, 09:18 PM
Assuming that fessie is in North America, I would not recommend curry powder as a good substitute for garam masala. The two blends tend to be very different as sold here in terms of both the component spices and the proportions, despite their common origin - the curry powder here has lots of turmeric which tends to make the whole dish turn bright yellow, whereas garam masala tends to be a murky brown and lends no colour to the dish.

I guess it's a bonus of living in a city with a very large South Asian population, but I've always managed to find garam masala in most of our supermarkets (sometimes I even get lucky and find a whole aisle with Indian snack mixes, which I am a huge fan of). If you have no luck with the grocery stores in your area, I'd second the motion of checking specialty health food stores or a specialty retailer like Penzey's.

fessie
04-13-2008, 09:00 AM
Very interesting, thank you for all your replies and perspectives!

fessie
05-21-2008, 03:34 PM
Just wanted to bump this to let people know that a new Penzey's Spices is getting ready to open on the northeast side of Indianapolis, not far from Castleton Mall.

Exact location and map are on this list. (http://penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/penzeysstores.html)

Tripped me out to drive by that "Coming Soon" sign the other day, I immediately thought of this thread.

teela brown
05-21-2008, 07:18 PM
Seriously, y'all. Penzey's will change your life. You didn't know how crappy your spices were.

Thirding this. You will find every kind of herb, spice, and spice mixture which exists on this planet, at a good competitive price, and fresher and better tasting than what a market would carry. In addition, they often tuck a "freebie" of some new seasoning mixture they're promoting into my order.

Siege
05-21-2008, 07:31 PM
I'll fourth it. What other people haven't said is, at least around here, their prices are similar to what I'd pay in the grocery store. Penzey's can, however, ruin your life. You see, I'm now fully converted to fresh ground pepper. The stuff that's already ground just doesn't cut it. Their catalogs alone are wonderful!

Chefguy
05-21-2008, 08:06 PM
Thirding this. You will find every kind of herb, spice, and spice mixture which exists on this planet, at a good competitive price, and fresher and better tasting than what a market would carry. In addition, they often tuck a "freebie" of some new seasoning mixture they're promoting into my order.

I've been buying from them for about 15 years now, and they've never let me down. The cinnamon alone is worth shopping there for. For saffron, however, you're better off shopping around on the intertoobs to find a decent quantity for the money. Those three threads for $30 in the supermarket is just BS and probably not very fresh.

pulykamell
05-21-2008, 08:13 PM
What most curry powders have in common is that they are brown/yellow powder, due to the yellowroot that is an important ingredient.


"Turmeric" is the word you're looking for. Yellowroot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowroot) is an American plant from the genus Xanthorhiza.

WotNot
05-22-2008, 03:54 AM
Out of curiosity, fessie, have you asked your usual grocery store whether they can stock it?

A few years ago, my wife wanted some vegetable ghee, but couldn't find it anywhere in town. She asked an assistant manager at the local supermarket, and within a week they had it on the shelves (they continued stocking it, too, so presumably we weren't the only ones who bought it).

Garam marsala seems like something any store ought to be able to provide, if they have reason to think there's a demand.

Renee
05-22-2008, 05:26 AM
I got garam marsala at a wal mart in Arkansas. It was right there with the rest of the spices.

fessie
05-22-2008, 08:06 AM
Out of curiosity, fessie, have you asked your usual grocery store whether they can stock it?

A few years ago, my wife wanted some vegetable ghee, but couldn't find it anywhere in town. She asked an assistant manager at the local supermarket, and within a week they had it on the shelves (they continued stocking it, too, so presumably we weren't the only ones who bought it).

Garam marsala seems like something any store ought to be able to provide, if they have reason to think there's a demand.

That's a good point.

I did eventually find it somewhere, now I've forgotten where it was, might've been Wal*Mart.

But from what I've read about Penzey's, I think I'll buy it from them.

I bought some of that $15 saffron once, I couldn't taste a thing, but the color it added was nice. One of our guests said she could smell it. I dunno.

teela brown
05-22-2008, 08:32 AM
But from what I've read about Penzey's, I think I'll buy it from them.

I bought some of that $15 saffron once, I couldn't taste a thing, but the color it added was nice. One of our guests said she could smell it. I dunno.

Yay, a Penzey's convert!

I buy my saffron from a local "Persian" (Iraqi?) market. They sell saffron packed in little plastic boxes for about $5 to $10, IIRC. The box contains about a tablespoon of very fragrant, fresh saffron threads. When I cook with it, it perfumes my entire house - that's how I know it's fresh and good!

Chefguy
05-22-2008, 09:19 AM
You can buy one ounce of saffron in an attractive tin at various sites for about $90. One ounce will last you forever, if you are an occasional user. And if you keep it wrapped tightly and in its tin in a dark, cool place.

Bridget Burke
05-22-2008, 09:27 AM
Yay, a Penzey's convert!

I buy my saffron from a local "Persian" (Iraqi?) market. They sell saffron packed in little plastic boxes for about $5 to $10, IIRC. The box contains about a tablespoon of very fragrant, fresh saffron threads. When I cook with it, it perfumes my entire house - that's how I know it's fresh and good!

"Persian" would mean Iranian. Iranians over here mostly don't care to be identified with their country's latest policies. However--they still go home occasionally to visit & would prefer any change come without the help of US bombs.

Enough of politics--back to Penzey's! Here's their entry for Garam Masala (http://http://penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysgarammasala.html). Online service is great, but only a store visit lets you sniff all the samples. Enough sniffing will induce Penzey's Frenzy--leading to purchase of many, many spices.

Chefguy
05-22-2008, 09:56 AM
Enough of politics--back to Penzey's! Here's their entry for Garam Masala (http://http://penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysgarammasala.html). Online service is great, but only a store visit lets you sniff all the samples. Enough sniffing will induce Penzey's Frenzy--leading to purchase of many, many spices.

A cautionary note about buying online: 8 ounces of a dried herb is a large amount. A VERY large amount. Two 8-ounce bags of oregano is enough for 7,000 pizzas, with enough left over to insulate your attic.

Bridget Burke
05-22-2008, 10:12 AM
A cautionary note about buying online: 8 ounces of a dried herb is a large amount. A VERY large amount. Two 8-ounce bags of oregano is enough for 7,000 pizzas, with enough left over to insulate your attic.

Thanks, but I can picture 8 ounces of a dried herb pretty well. And I learned that before visiting Penzey's!

This link to their Garam Masala might work better: http://penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysgarammasala.html

Chefguy
05-22-2008, 10:59 AM
Thanks, but I can picture 8 ounces of a dried herb pretty well. And I learned that before visiting Penzey's!


Yeah, my note was a general cautionary, not just directed at you. I received a double order from Penzey's the first time I ordered from them and finally threw away the second full bag after two years. I swear the stuff reproduces. Eight ounces didn't sound like all that much when I placed the order :smack: . Sixteen ounces was...well....overwhelming.

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