I’ve often complained that it’s tough to make curry, even in New York, because it’s difficult to find fresh ingredients — things like lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves — for which there are no substitutes. One of my reliable haunts is Kalustyan’s, at 28th and Lex, which is particularly noted for its Indian spices, dried chilis and other fixings (like frozen naan).
The other is Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street in Chinatown, where I routinely make pilgrimages. Especially as I’ve begun focusing on Thai curries, this place is a godsend. It’s small and a bit cramped, but amazingly well-stocked with pretty much anything you could possibly need for a Thai curry. One of my first trips there, I picked up all the ingredients for a green curry paste, and brought it up to the counter — to my amazement, the young Thai guy working there took one look and said, “I see you’re making a green curry paste.” This is a place where curry-a-holics, like myself, are welcome.
On a recent trip, I found the usual assortment of things I have trouble locating elsewhere, from cans of coconut cream (cream, not milk) to fresh bunches of holy basil. And a highlight: they had just gotten a shipment in of kaffir lime leaves (pictured left). That’s something like the holy grail, for this blogger.
The store seems to have a new website, with links to suggested recipes. This one for Penang Curry with Chicken looks delicious. I may need to head down to Bangkok Center Grocery to pick up some ingredients….