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North Finchley Indian Supermarket / The Dudhi and the Karela

I can't believe I've never visited North Finchley's Indian supermarket until now! It's tucked away by the market car park and doesn't look like much, but they've got some great things on offer:

  • More spice mixes than you can possibly imagine
  • Paneer (indian cheese), with spices in if you want
  • Fresh mangos
  • Tiny aubergines!
  • Big bunches of coriander for very cheap
  • Mango lassi (indian yogurt drink)
  • All sorts of naan breads
  • Falooda mix (falooda is a very silly drink made with milk, raspberry flavouring, pearls of semolina or something, and ice cream)

And this tops it all off: they have the two vegetables I thought I'd never see again: the dudhi and the karela.

These vegetables were the stars of a vegetable review I wrote for Emancipation fanzine (issue 8) many years ago. Here's what the review said:

"Zucchini!" shouted an italian woman in the supermarket, but I don't think it is. It's a big bald pale green thing, and it tastes like a cross between a cucumber and an advocado. In a stew, it becomes even more gorgeous, being all meltingly buttery in the middle, but still with a cucumbery firmness. Why aren't all vegetables like this? I don't know.

It looks like a banana that someone's stuck bits of broccoli all over, and as a result feels nice to the touch. Raw, it tastes horrible and bitter and tough; "fried with indian spices", as I was instructed, it tastes really horrible and bitter and tough and REALLY REALLY HORRIBLE AND BITTER! This is the nastiest vegetable IN THE WORLD - don't eat it! A friend of mine has encountered this fiend under a different name, with similar results, so look out!
Friday 2nd June 2006 | food | Permalink
Name: Linda
Email: lindfhy art aol dort com
Date: Sunday 17th December 2006 21:59
Can you help me, where can I find fresh betel leaves in North Finchley.
Name: Ian Leonard
Website: http://None
Email: iancleonard art gmail dort com
Date: Friday 22nd June 2007 11:46
I bought some last night from Tesco's and followed the instructions for getting rid of the bitterness i.e. covering with salt and leaving for a couple of hours, washing and gently squeezing to get out the bitterness.
I cooked in a pan of boiling water until it was soft....Then I tasted it, it was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted and made me retch. Buy at your peril!

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