I love exploring ethnic groceries. When you find a good one, walking through the front door is like walking into a different country, and a tapestry of sights, smells and other sensory experiences wait to be discovered in every aisle. With each new grocery store I find, I almost always encounter at least one new ingredient or tool to experiment with. And taking those new discoveries home to cook with is a great way to expand your cooking world.
Enter Taj Mahal Imports, which will likely be the object of my obsession for quite some time. It's been in the same plaza for years, but I didn't notice the grocery until I recently visited the Alamo Drafthouse nearby. My friends hit the theater to get tickets and beers, but I checked out bags of spices, lentils and other legumes, rice and cooking tools before i rejoined them.
I didn't buy anything because I thought wandering around a movie theater with cookware would be strange, but I've got a date with one of these steel karahis as soon as I can get back. They're heavy, so they should hold heat very well, and while I think they'll be a full blown bitch to season, I know the end results will be well worth it. Stir fried chicken dishes, curries — I bet my neighbors can smell my plans already.
But it's not just that pan that makes me think this place is special. Taj Mahal Imports is exceptionally clean, and the produce looked fresh and vibrant. It's without a doubt one of the best Indian groceries I've seen in Dallas.
There's a small cafe in the back selling chaat and other snacks and curries if you don't want to cook at home, but with the right cookbook, the aisles of this store can unlock a whole new world of flavor in your kitchen. It's worth a look. And hey, if you're not feeling it, you can always hit up the Drafthouse after.