Herbs, Spices & Baking Ingredients – Are they available and if so, where?

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Herbs, Spices & Baking Ingredients – Are they available and if so, where?


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Old 1st November 2014, 02:18 AM
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Default Herbs, Spices & Baking Ingredients – Are they available and if so, where?

As someone planning to reside in the Philippines (PH) and who enjoys spending time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, I tend to build-up a fairly decent spice rack and baking ingredients cupboard wherever my wife and I set up home. I’ve been under the impression (possibly illusion) that getting hold of spices etc. in the PH should be easy. However, recent dialogue with a member has led me to believe that maybe I should have a re-think. As I enjoy cooking and baking all types of food, from traditional Irish/ English to Indian and Arabic ++, I like to have a substantial array of herbs, spices and baking ingredients readily to hand. Could members please advise on the following:

(a) are the herbs, spices and baking ingredients listed below available in the PH and if so, are there any particular stores where you would recommend sourcing them? I’m assuming there will be fresh vegetable markets all over the PH selling fresh herbs but what about the other items?

(b) apart from those listed below, what other herbs, spices & baking ingredients do you like to use but find it difficult to source in the PH.

Herbs: bay leaves, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, etc. Please specify whether or not they are available fresh or dried. So much the better if fresh as one can obviously dry their own.

Spices: cardamom pods, chilli powder (pwd), cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek/methi, garam masala, garlic pwd, ginger pwd, dried limes/lemons, nutmeg, qasuri methi, turmeric, and zatar.

Baking Ingredients: mixed spice, vanilla essence, almond essence, baking pwd, bicarbonate of soda, yeast pwd, gelatine, vitamin 'C' pwd or tablets.

Members’ comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 1st November 2014, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrouk View Post
As someone planning to reside in the Philippines (PH) and who enjoys spending time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, I tend to build-up a fairly decent spice rack and baking ingredients cupboard wherever my wife and I set up home. I’ve been under the impression (possibly illusion) that getting hold of spices etc. in the PH should be easy. However, recent dialogue with a member has led me to believe that maybe I should have a re-think. As I enjoy cooking and baking all types of food, from traditional Irish/ English to Indian and Arabic ++, I like to have a substantial array of herbs, spices and baking ingredients readily to hand. Could members please advise on the following:

(a) are the herbs, spices and baking ingredients listed below available in the PH and if so, are there any particular stores where you would recommend sourcing them? I’m assuming there will be fresh vegetable markets all over the PH selling fresh herbs but what about the other items?

(b) apart from those listed below, what other herbs, spices & baking ingredients do you like to use but find it difficult to source in the PH.

Herbs: bay leaves, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, etc. Please specify whether or not they are available fresh or dried. So much the better if fresh as one can obviously dry their own.

Spices: cardamom pods, chilli powder (pwd), cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek/methi, garam masala, garlic pwd, ginger pwd, dried limes/lemons, nutmeg, qasuri methi, turmeric, and zatar.

Baking Ingredients: mixed spice, vanilla essence, almond essence, baking pwd, bicarbonate of soda, yeast pwd, gelatine, vitamin 'C' pwd or tablets.

Members’ comments would be appreciated. Thanks.
All of the above ingrediants listed, as well as plenty more not, are readily available (at least, here in Bacolod City).

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Old 1st November 2014, 07:49 AM
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We, too, like to cook and we have found most everything we need - although fresh herbs have been harder to come by. Of the items you list, I have seen everything except: dried limes/lemons (though fresh are available); qasuri methi and zatar (I admit I don't know what these are so I haven't been looking for them!); I recently went looking for fennel seeds and could not find them in the supermarket but did find them in a chain of specialty stores called "Healthy Options." In fact, that store carries a number of items not found in our supermarket (couscous, various grains, cornmeal, etc.) as well as a broader (and more expensive!) selection of herbs and spices than the grocers.
One lesson I learned is the importance of "stocking up." Just because a store has something today does not mean that they will have it tomorrow. Or ever again. Thus, I no longer say, "I'll come back for that later..." A related lesson is to plan meals according to what the store has in the produce section on any given day. For instance, celery, green onions, and zucchini are sometimes available, sometimes not in our market (though, presumably, I could travel to other supermarkets and find them).
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Old 1st November 2014, 09:56 PM
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My Wife goes to the local marketplace to find most all we need. She grew up here in the Iloilo area so knows what is available in what marketplace. Everything is fresh, slaughtered or picked either each day or at the most 2 days old so there is never any preservatives or additives. We do have to go to the SM or Robinson's supermarket for my coffee and once in a while something she can't find in the local marketplace but most everything she finds right at our door in the local market's including all the condiments, flavorings & etc.

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Old 2nd November 2014, 12:09 AM
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Herbs: bay leaves, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint - When in stock they're in the dry form in small "Shilling" branded shaker bottles but these items and more (Dill and Stevia ect..) can be obtained from a nursery and you can grow your own.

Spices: cardamom pods - Not sure, chilli powder- Dry in seasoning bottles and packages, (cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, nutmeg, garlic pwd, ginger pwd, turmeric, mixed spice) -Dry and in seasoning bottles sometimes small packages. Dried limes/lemons - Fresh but lemons are pricey the local lime Calamansi lime is cheap. (Methi, garam masala, qasuri methi,, and zatar) - Never heard of these spices and probably not available, many of the spices I listed as available should be in stock but some can be out of stock for a long periods or a challenge to find at times, I too use nutmeg and cumin but a challenge and dang if people don't open up the bottles and take a smell of them, had to buy cumin and there wasn't a bottle that hadn't been opened.

Baking Ingredients: vanilla essence, almond essence, baking pwd, bicarbonate of soda, yeast pwd, gelatine, vitamin 'C' pwd or tablets. All available not sure about the Vitamin C powder, possibly found at Mercury Drug.

Listed as best I could the availability and freshness of items in the area of Southern Luzon (Sta Cruz Laguna and surrounding area), some items you'd have to be familiar with the grocery stores or ? even markets so a task getting these if needed in a short time, I'm used to that though, I haven't found a one shop stop in our area for anything, vitamin stores are tiny mom and pop spots or Mercury Drug with limited items, Health food stores - not in this area, probably only in large cities.
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Last edited by M.C.A.; 2nd November 2014 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 01:59 AM
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Post Tips for Herbs & Spices

Thanks to all those who provided information re this post. Here's a few tips for those who have problems keeping spices fresh at home.

The key with spices is to always try and buy them in their seed/ nut form and then produce your own powder at home. Take nutmeg for example, by buying a packet of the nuts in their whole state (each about the size of a small chestnut), they will keep in a spice jar for literally years, no matter how many times the jar is opened. When you need nutmeg, you simply grind it into powder. For the uninitiated, special nutmeg graters can be purchased but they aren’t necessary. I’ve always used a simple, hand-held, fine-toothed grater, similar to that used for grating cheese, only finer. It should take no more than 30-60 seconds to grate a teaspoon of nutmeg powder. Once you get a whiff of the fresh nutmeg smell, you just know that it beats anything that you buy from the shop in powder form. After that, there’s no going back! Check out the following URL for photos of nutmeg grinders.
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=nu...w=1366&bih=666

Similarly, when it comes to cumin, coriander (cilantro) and fennel etc, if you only buy the seeds, you can make your own powder as and when needed. For this, all you need is a basic coffee grinder. Plonk in the seeds and away you go. It’s preferable to keep a separate grinder for spices only as the strong spice flavours can linger in the grinder and spoil the flavour of your coffee. Again, for those with a love of cooking and all things spices, I doubt if you’ll ever go back to powders once you’ve tried the grounded seeds version. Even cinnamon, we often buy that in powder form because we use a lot of it and therefore it doesn’t get a chance to lose it’s flavour. However, I still keep cinnamon bark in my cupboard. As well as using it whole in Indian dishes, I sometimes grind it down the same as for seeds to get a great, fresh tasting cinnamon powder. Just remember to put the ground cinnamon through a sieve to avoid those tiny bits of bark that didn’t break down fully, first time round.

By purchasing these spices in their original form, (a) it's usually much cheaper, (b) they keep for much longer in your cupboard and (c) the fresh powder that you get after grating or grinding is simply incomparable to that purchased in powder form. Do give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. Happy cooking.
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Last edited by pagbati; 2nd November 2014 at 01:12 AM. Reason: To add a URL for nutmeg grinders
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Old 2nd November 2014, 02:04 AM
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I'm pretty sure I've seen a section in the major groceries with an assortment of different spices and herbs in bags in the seed's form.

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Old 5th November 2014, 03:59 AM
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If u don't find anything on groceries, try finding it to Healthy Options... some unusual ingredients not usually found in groceries usually found at Healthy options : )
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