February 23, 2005
A Little Bit of India in Paris

BRADY.JPGYou smell it some fifty paces before you get there. Surrounded by run down 19th century Parisian façades, nevertheless an exotic combination of garlic, onion, cardamom and turmeric wafts over your nostrils and you know you are getting close. Passage Brady, the Mecca of lovers of Indian food in Paris.

Paris is full of little passageways running between its main boulevards. Traditionally, they have housed workshops for the artisans. In the area around Bastille, most of the original furniture restorers (vernisseurs, ébenistes, doreurs, etc.) have given way to chic loft apartments. Here in the 10th arrondisement, the Passage Brady is home to the highest concentration of Indian restaurants and costume shops in the city. I don't know why the costume shops ended up next to the Indian food, but there are four of them nestling among the 10 Indian restaurants in this short corridor between the boulevard St. Martin and the boulevard du Faubourg St. Denis

You won't find Passage Brady mentioned in any guide book to Paris. This is logical, as very few tourists come to Paris for its Indian food. It's well known to the teeming expatriate community here: Brits (of course), Americans, Australians and even the Indians themselves! First, of course, are the restaurants. More importantly from my point of view, it has a really good little supermarket with everything you need to make Indian food,

As I sat watching Saturday Morning Kitchen on the BBC this weekend (theme: Indian food) it suddenly occurred to me that it has been a while since I stocked up on Indian food. I also reflected on the fact that most of the spices I use were purchased some seven years ago when I first met the Critic. (In a fit of enthusiasm, he insisted we buy one kilo bags of everything. In some cases, TWO one kilo bags.) I think they may have lost some of their potency.

Accordingly, I took off on Sunday afternoon with a folding canvas grocery trolley and ventured into the 10th arrondisement of Paris. What did I buy? Man oh man, what DIDN'T I buy??

I bought nearly 19 kilos of foodstuff, to wit:

two kinds of Tikka Masala paste
a jar of Vindaloo paste
a jar of Tandoori paste
three kinds of lime pickle
a jar of hot mango chutney
a jar of aubergine chutney
four little boxes of coconut milk
a box of creamed coconut (in powder form)
one kilo of Gram (chickpea) flour
a large can of mango pulp
three kinds of papadams
a bottle of orange water
a bottle of rose syrup
mung dhal (split yellow lentils)
Dosai mix (Indian pancakes)

moving to the spices...

dalchini Indian cinnamon
cumin powder
black cardamoms
green cardamoms
coriander seeds
cumin seeds
fennel seeds
black mustard seeds

alimentation.jpgand a few fresh items...

curry leaves
tiny red onions
a handful of hot peppers
fresh ginger

And seeing as I was spending some 69 euros in his shop, the fellow threw in a packet of "aperitif Indien" for free, a dry mix of chick peas, cumin, salt, curry leaves, pepper and fennel!

So it was a very successful shopping trip. I am looking forward to using all these exotic ingredients. If you red this blog frequently, you'll notice a sudden increase in the number of Indian recipes. I hope you enjoy them as much as we will!

(Drat. And I've just realized I forgot to get rice!)

Velan (SARL)
83, passage Brady
75010 Paris
Tel: 01 42 46 06 06
Metro: Château d'eau or Stasbourg St. Denis

Posted by Meg in Sussex at February 23, 2005 2:21 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

I hate throwing spices away, though I still do it from time to time.

I've taken to buying loose packets of spices from Sherwyn's, which has not only supplements and health food bud pretty good spices at very good prices.

If its something like cinnamon or saffron or vanilla I'll go to Penzey's or The Spice House and get the good stuff there.

I have a small Indian cookbook, and I should make a trip up to Devon in Chicago this weekend to get some of the ingredients.

Posted by barrett on February 23, 2005 at 3:01 PM

too many chefs (particularly barrett).

i'm relatively new to the food blog world, but would love to get plugged in. i blog anonymously as "the ulterior epicure." while my location has been heretofore undisclosed, i will say that the next phase of my life will be spent in chi-town (where i have lived before)...

can you refer me to any local chicago foodie blogs? would be much obliged. you should come over for a visit!


Posted by the ulterior epicure on February 23, 2005 at 3:33 PM

U.E. - send me an e-mail and I can get you more detail, but I would start with:
LTH Forum, a group of Chicago-foodies from eGullet
Eat Chicago
Fuck Corporate Groceries
Chicago BlogMap
Chicago Bloggers
Gapers Block
KIPlog's Food Blog
and maybe sign up for the Chicago Bloggers mail group on Yahoo groups.

There are more, but these shoudl get you into the swing of things.

Glad to have you coming to our fair city!

Posted by barrett on February 23, 2005 at 4:05 PM

Mmmm! just looking at your grocery list makes me hungry.

Posted by Meg's Mom on February 24, 2005 at 10:22 AM


Passage Braddy is full of pakistanian. Only Pooja restaurant and general food shoop are indian. If you want to eat Indian food or tamoul fool go to little india in Faubourg Saint-Denis street from gare du Nord to La chapelle (métro).

Best regards


Posted by Linchung on June 20, 2005 at 10:47 AM

Linchungh, thanks for the clarification. Obviously I'll have to go check out the Faubourge St-Denis more carefully and report back! I'm sure my English husband won't object to a little more research!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 20, 2005 at 11:00 AM

Read the Restaurant Pooja information too late, we ate across the way at a place called Jadin d'India - truly the worst chicken curry and tikka masala ever served. Sure enough, by the time we left (9:00pm), the Jardin was almost empty and the Pooja not a table left.

Posted by Patrick on July 19, 2005 at 2:51 PM

I have Indian restaurants in Paris, with the name of Aaradhana and Aarapana I want to
put them in your list of restaurants.Our web site is aaradhana.net
Thank you
Joginder Kumar

Posted by joginder on December 17, 2007 at 11:37 AM
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