Tag Archives: Santos Spice

Lay’s India’s Magic Masala Chips – Review

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG-0275-1-scaled-e1625354416593-945x1024.jpg

We found these chips at Santos’ Spice Market and loved them. As the name implies, they have an Indian spices flavor and they are slightly spicy (I can handle them, but someone who doesn’t like spices at all wouldn’t). They can be pretty addictive. I

Santos Spices Now Delivers!

I found out today that Santos Spices Market now has delivery and pick up. Santos is an amazing store, with a huge variety of Indian spices as well as legumes, flours, sauces and frozen products. Moreover, they seem to have fixed up the store in the last year and it feels less crowded than before. I definitely like going there in person, though I avoided shopping during the pandemic.

Still, my major problem with Santos is that they have so much stuff that it’s sometimes difficult to find what I want. For example, today I went looking for Kashmiri pepper and I couldn’t find it. It was there, but where? Yes, employees are very helpful and you can ask them, but I hate bothering people. Ordering online will make this much, much easier. Plus I won’t have to remember (or write down) the alternative names for the products I want, as I can just look them up as I go.

I still haven’t used this feature but I will soon!

Where to find exotic ingredients in the East Bay

A guide for myself

I’m lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, where I have access to lots of stores with lots of international ingredients. And these ingredients have become far easier to find in recent years. Still, finding them can still be a hassle, and often times I forget where I actually found a particular ingredient when I need to buy it again. I’m hoping to use this blog post to remind myself.

Black Truffles I found them at the Berkeley Bowl during truffle season, but I wasn’t too impressed with the flavor.

Candlenuts These large nuts are used as thickeners and flavor enhancers in southeastasian cuisine. I have yet to find them in the East Bay, so I’ve substituted with their cousin, macadamia nuts. The latter are sold in bulk at Sprouts at a reasonable price.

Curry leaves They are regularly sold fresh at Santos Spices in San Leandro.

Dark Soy Sauce is a darker, thicker and slightly sweet soy sauce mostly used to darken dishes. I’ve found it at the 88 Manor Markets. Recipes that call for it include Soy-Glazed Black pepper chicken and Lion’s head meatballs.

Galangal root (also spelled galanga) adds a special flavor to Thai/Indonesian/Malay dishes. I usually find it at the 88 Manor Markets in San Leandro, but it’s often available at the Berkeley Bowl as well. It freezes fairly well.

Indonesian Bay Leaves aka salam leaves. They are different than Indian or western bay leaves, and I haven’t been able to find them locally yet.

Kaffir Lime leaves are an indispensable element for many southeast Asian dishes. I’d seen them at the 88 Manor Markets in the past, but I couldn’t find them last time I needed them, so I bought them off someone on Facebook marketplace who had her own tree. Since then I’ve found that my friends J. & G. have their own tree. The leaves can be frozen, and they seem to retain their flavor well.

Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. It’s been surprisingly hard to find, but I did find it at the 88 Manor Markets. If you can’t find it, you can make your own.

Light Soy Sauce is the default soy sauce in Chinese cuisine, lighter in color and a bit less salty than the standard Japanese soy sauce. It’s not the same as Kikkoman lite soy sauce. It’s widely available and I found it at the 88 Manor Markets. You can substitute with regular or tamari soy sauce.

Shaoxing wine This cheap, sweet Chinese rice wine is actually not too hard to find, and it’s available at the 88 Manor Markets. Recipes that call for it include Braised Winter Melon, Braised Pork Belly, Walnut chicken and Royal Concubine Chicken wings. You can substitute with sherry.

Palm oil. The small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro carries several brands of African red palm oil.

Palm nut sauce. An ingredient in west African recipes can be found at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro.

Palm sugar. Found it at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro, but not at the large new one.

Pandan leaves These leaves are used as wrappers and to flavor food. They are listed as available fresh at the Berkeley Bowl and I found them frozen at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro (couldn’t find them at the new, larger one nearby).

Rock Sugar Chinese rock sugar consists of large yellow sugar crystals and is used to give shine to glaces as well as a sweetener. It’s easily available at Asian supermarkets and I found it at the 88 Manor Markets in San Leandro. White rock sugar is available at Santos Spices in San Leandro.

Turmeric root. Fresh turmeric root is an ingredient in many Thai and Indonesian dishes. I’ve found it at Raley’s, but it’s also available at supermarkets like Sprouts and the Berkeley Bowl. It freezes well, but don’t defrost it before you peel/use it because it turns to mush. Just peel it frozen.

Exotic Drinks Review: Verka Mango Lassi, Coco Passion Fruit Drink &

lassiMy last visit to Santos Spice market ended with us buying several “exotic” drinks to try.  My oldest daughter loves trying new things, and while these weren’t cheap, they turned out to be very good.

My daughter loves mango lassis, and Verka Mango Lassi is pretty good.  It actually tasted more like a mango yogurt drink, though it doesn’t have any yogurt. The ingredients are milk, mango pure, sugar, cream and water. It comes in a 1 pint bottle.  It’s made in the USA.

passionfruitMika was excited t try Coco Passion Fruit Drink because she’d never had passion fruit or passion fruit juice before.  The drink, actually bottled in Thailand, is made of water, sugar, passion fruit juice, citric acid, artificial flavor, and gellam gum – so it’s not as pure as the lassi.  Still, it was very tasty.  Indeed, it tasted very much like guava juice, though it was thicker than the guava  juice we usually get.

lychee1We’ve never had lychee juice before, and T.A.S. Lychee Drink was sort of a revelation. It has the same flavor profile as guava juice but it’s sweeter, if you can imagine that, with a subtle floral/rose-like flavor.  We liked it, though I personally would have preferred it being less sweet.  Mika thought it was refreshing. I’m thinking that I should explore lychees more.  It seems like a sophisticated fruit that could enhance a multi-course menu.   The drink comes in a 10.5 oz can and it’s also made in Thailand. The ingredients are water, lychee juice, sugar and citric acid.

DEEP Homestyle Masala Paratha

I got a package of DEEP brand HomeStyle Masala Paratha at Santos Spice Products in San Leandro yesterday. I’m quite pleased with it. The parathas are pretty flaky and don’t taste frozen, plus they are very quick to make (just heat for 2 minutes on each side). They are a bit spicy, but not overly so, and nicely seasoned. They are nowhere as good as the parathas available at some restaurants, but I think they’re pretty good for a frozen product.

Santos Spice Products

I just came back from a shopping expedition to Santos, a sort of Indian supermarket in San Leandro. Santos is a distributor of Indian spices and other foods, but its store is open to the public. Here you can find (almost) all kinds of spices, in particular those used in Indian cuisine. They have a large variety of lentils, flours and teas – and pretty much anything you’d need to cook Indian food. What they did not have is black cumin – which is strange as that’s a very common spice in Indian cuisine – and one I need for the recipes I plan to make this week. Well, perhaps I can find it at Mangal’s. But in all, I love Santos.
In this shopping expedition I got some Indian yogurt and pistachio ice cream – and bags of almonds, cardamon pods, fenugreek seeds and sumak, as well as a big box of Twinings Tea (50 bags for $4.50!) and a jar of ghee.
Santos Spice Products
1188 Montague St
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 357-0277