Lost in the Supermarket: Shopping at Patel Brothers

Watch as Epicurious Special Projects Editor Adina Steiman and Fit Men Cook’s Kevin Curry navigate the aisles of the country's best and most unique supermarkets and specialty stores.

Released on 5/11/2018

Transcript

00:00
[Woman] If you head over to this area right here,
00:02
Ghee. This is like
00:04
a shrine to ghee.
00:06
It's just pure butterfat.
00:08
Right.
00:09
It's going to fry things really beautifully.
00:11
Absolutely.
00:12
And-- (jaunty music)
00:18
(soft music)
00:19
[Narrator] Right in the middle of Queens, New York,
00:20
is Patel Brothers, a chain of Indian grocery stores
00:24
with over 50 locations across the eastern United States.
00:27
Step into the store, and you're hit with a dizzying
00:30
array of sights, sounds and aromas,
00:33
inviting you to dive into a world of flavor.
00:36
And this time, I've brought a friend
00:37
with me on the journey.
00:39
It's time to get lost in the supermarket.
00:44
I am really excited to be here with you,
00:46
Kevin Curry, from Fit Men Cook.
00:50
Well, thank you for having me here,
00:51
and since you're gonna be showing me around your hood,
00:55
then I will be taking care of the bill today, all right?
00:57
I'll be checkin' out using my Chase Freedom,
00:59
because no purchase goes unrewarded,
01:01
and it's actually kinda perfect, 'cause I've already
01:03
activated the 5% cash back for this quarter on groceries.
01:06
Okay, so let's head to the produce section, get started.
01:09
(quirky music)
01:12
I'm not as versed in Indian cuisine.
01:15
It's actually something called karela,
01:18
but also called bitter melon--
01:20
Oh yeah. And you can just
01:21
break it right open and it's actually super medicinal
01:25
and very very bitter.
01:27
Okay, which part do I eat?
01:28
The whole thing. (karela crunches)
01:31
Okay. (laughs)
01:35
This is the most bitter thing I've ever tasted.
01:37
In context, if you're cooking it with, like,
01:39
spices and, like, really rich seasonings--
01:42
How many spices? As many as it'll take.
01:45
So this is something I'm obsessed with,
01:48
and something you can only get
01:49
at a specialty Indian grocery store.
01:52
This is a branch of curry leaves.
01:55
These are more okay.
01:56
So when you smell it, what I get
01:58
is kind of a nuttiness, like a citrusy nuttiness.
02:03
So when you fry it in oil, it sizzles up
02:05
within a few seconds and perfumes the whole dish.
02:08
You use it in dahls or curries.
02:11
This is to flavor the oil first,
02:13
before you begin the curry?
02:14
Exactly.
02:15
(upbeat music)
02:17
I wanna try one of these baby mangoes.
02:18
Oh yeah, these are really cool.
02:21
Baby mangoes are not like baby eggplants,
02:24
where it's just like a miniature of something,
02:26
they're picked when super unripe
02:28
so they're often used in pickles or curries,
02:31
they're just like the bitter melon,
02:33
they're gonna be kind of intense by themselves.
02:39
Oh. Crunchy?
02:42
It's actually quite pleasant though,
02:43
it has a very sour flavor, almost like candy--
02:45
Small fruit, big flavor.
02:48
This is dhana, but obviously you look at it--
02:50
This is the real price? It's cilantro.
02:52
Yeah, and it's two for a dollar.
02:54
There's absolutely no reason not to
02:55
invest in cilantro at that price.
02:58
Okay. So, cilantro,
02:59
you're familiar with but this is
03:01
what I get really excited about.
03:02
Methi. Uh-huh.
03:04
Give it a taste.
03:05
It's actually fenugreek leaves--
03:07
Oh, okay. So if you're familiar
03:08
with the fenugreek spice-- Yeah.
03:10
This is from the same plant.
03:13
Has like a richer, it's really high in iron.
03:16
It's like super nutrient dense.
03:18
This also tastes very healthy raw.
03:20
[Narrator] The produce section was jam packed
03:23
with ingredients that are just begging to be
03:24
doused with spices and cooked into a curry.
03:27
And now we've arrived at Patel Brothers
03:30
encyclopedic spice and legume section.
03:33
A vast aisle jam packed with everything you can imagine.
03:36
[Woman] Your fish masalas, your chili chicken.
03:39
[Narrator] And some things you can't.
03:41
I'm about to give you a little bit of a challenge.
03:44
Okay, you makin' me nervous now.
03:45
Okay, this is a little bit of an extreme spice,
03:48
but a really delicious one.
03:51
It's something called asafetida, or hing,
03:54
it's usually used in certain Indian cuisines
03:57
where they avoid onion and garlic for religious reasons.
04:00
So they use this powder as kind of a substitute
04:04
for that flavor, I really hope we don't cover ourselves
04:07
with it while I attempt to open it.
04:08
Oh, one step, yeah.
04:09
Yeah because it's just very
04:12
Oh my god is that that? Very stinky.
04:13
This is whole garam masala which is really cool looking.
04:16
So it's all these Oh so it's like
04:17
the entire blend.
04:18
Yeah so it's all the ingredients in garam masala
04:20
but whole instead of ground.
04:22
Look at that.
04:24
The nice thing is when you have it whole you can
04:26
toast the spices before grinding them.
04:28
So you can like, really Oh my gosh, yeah.
04:29
bring out the flavor more.
04:30
So this is also a great thing to get here.
04:33
Now how much is this?
04:34
$2.99.
04:35
$2.99.
04:37
[Narrator] A slow simmered dahl is always amazing.
04:40
But you don't have to sacrifice deliciousness
04:42
if you're in a rush.
04:43
Patel Brothers has an incredible variety
04:46
of packaged chutneys, sauces and crunchy treats
04:49
that turn afternoon snack attacks into
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a lesson in flavor pairing and textural contrast.
04:54
These look like these cornflakes have been deep fried
04:57
and battered.
04:58
These are real cornflakes, mmm.
05:02
They're a little chewier than your ordinary cornflake.
05:05
[Crunching]
05:08
Yeah they're much chewier, they're actually real cornflakes.
05:12
Let's get over to the snack section right here.
05:15
This is just basically the aisle of
05:16
sweets and crunchiness. What can I tell you.
05:19
This is a mixture of peanuts, chickpeas,
05:22
little fried wheat based noodles.
05:25
They look like chow mein noodles almost.
05:26
Yeah, exactly.
05:27
Depending on the kind of crunch you want
05:29
they have like a zillion different varieties.
05:32
This one's flavored with fenugreek methi.
05:33
Okay.
05:35
These as you can tell by the color,
05:39
this is going to be like super spicy.
05:41
And then you can even get things like, you like samosas?
05:45
These are samosas right in a package.
05:49
So now we've gone, gotten into a saucy section here.
05:54
We should try some green chili chutney.
06:06
Love it.
06:06
It definitely has like a sourness,
06:08
a tomatillo-like sourness. Yeah.
06:10
But also like Oh I love it.
06:12
some really nice intense green chile heat to it.
06:15
The frozen aisle at Patel Brothers is just as vibrant
06:18
as the produce section.
06:19
Sure, you can pick up plenty of prepared foods here.
06:23
But we're more interested in the top notch
06:25
raw ingredients you'll find which make cooking up
06:27
authentic recipes on a weeknight even more doable.
06:31
These are all kind of like cooked down milk desserts
06:35
or rice desserts.
06:36
Beautiful, is that carrot fudge?
06:37
Yeah, so. A carrot fudge.
06:39
What I get really excited about, like what you're saying
06:42
is the raw ingredients Right.
06:44
That you can store in your freezer
06:45
and then you just have them for whenever you need them.
06:47
Like this is actually really amazing.
06:50
Can you imagine making a smoothie with these?
06:52
Yeah, fresh shredded coconut.
06:54
Holy smokes.
06:55
So that still has a lot of coconut milk clinging to it.
06:58
So it's like super juicy and rich
07:00
and like intense coconut flavor.
07:02
This is an actual game changer
07:05
if you're trying to eat healthy.
07:07
Yeah. And you're really
07:08
trying to give your smoothies a much better flavor.
07:12
The fat content in the coconut.
07:14
First off, it's a great healthy fat.
07:16
Uh-huh. But also
07:17
it adds a ton of flavor. Yeah.
07:18
It's a dollar.
07:19
It's a dollar guys. Oh my gosh.
07:21
It's a dollar.
07:23
Over here you have like really lovely greens.
07:27
But like that's a great thing to just stock in your freezer.
07:29
In case you don't have time to shop for fresh ingredients.
07:32
You wanna make a little quick, like,
07:34
Indian flavored stir fry with some spices.
07:36
Right.
07:37
You got it right there.
07:39
We got a good haul there Kevin.
07:40
I think so (laughs).
07:41
Let us check out and get some snacks.
07:43
All right.
07:44
(funky music)
07:49
Since you showed me around today
07:50
again I will take of the groceries.
07:53
I've already activated my 5% cash back on groceries
07:56
for this quarter.
07:57
[Narrator] Now that we've worked up a crazy appetite
07:59
with all that shopping, we're ready to break for a snack.
08:02
And luckily Patel Brothers is located right in the midst
08:06
of countless snack shops and restaurants
08:08
including my favorite place for that
08:10
addictive Indian street foot chaat.
08:13
Hi.
08:14
[Cashier] How we doing guys?
08:15
Good.
08:15
Welcome to Rajbhog, how can we help you?
08:17
I think maybe we should get, like, a samosa chaat.
08:20
Yeah, It's like
08:21
I wanna try everything. It's like samosa
08:22
with all sorts of things on top of it.
08:23
Love it.
08:24
[Jazz Music]
08:33
This is a samosa chaat and this is the papri chaat.
08:35
I thought the samosa was that thing that we had.
08:38
Yeah. That was.
08:39
So that' buried inside it.
08:40
Okay. Go digging.
08:47
Spicy, sour. It's salty.
08:48
Salty. It's sour.
08:49
I taste something sweet in there.
08:51
Mm-hmm, that's the tamarin chutney.
08:54
Mmm, that's also the sourness is coming from too.
08:58
Mm-hmm, sweet and sour.
09:02
I mean you can see here.
09:02
This is like a party in your mouth.
09:04
[Narrator] Now that we've eaten our fill of chaat
09:06
I'm ready to get cooking,
09:08
because the beauty of a place
09:09
like Patel Brothers isn't just that
09:11
you can explore an entire world of flavors.
09:13
It's how easy and affordable it is to bring
09:17
those flavors right into your own home.
09:19
No matter where you live.