FAQ “WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT INGREDIENT?”

Hey guys.

So over the past year, there’s a reoccurring pattern I’ve noticed with the DMs I get on Instagram.

A lot of you want to know where I find & buy specific ingredients 🙂

I’m going to assume that more of you want to get more curious in your kitchens- which is great! And I really want you to have fun in the process- so I decided I’d put this list together of where I buy certain items 🙂

Because I’m based out of Kingston- this list is really only applicable to that part of the island. Also, I’m not a Pricesmart regular (can’t deal with the long lines), so you won’t see it listed here.

Hope this helps- and I’ll keep updating the list with time!

And please be sure to check out the locations with address, at the end of the list!

TAHINI

Tahini is a sesame paste that’s commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine (namely for hummus!) There are a small handful of brands that exist here- including a local one by Island Spice FYI. You’ll find it in the “foreign foods” aisle or near the condiments & oils.

Find it at Mega Mart, General Foods, Lee’s Red Hills, Hi-Lo Manor Park, all Middle Eastern restaurants.

GARBANZO FLOUR (CHICKPEA FLOUR)

This is exactly what the name says it is: flour made from chickpeas 🙂 It’s also sometimes called “gram flour” or “besan”. Protein & fiber packed, I use it quite a bit! You can find it under the Bob’s Red Mill brand, but also unbranded (and cheaper) (at General Foods in Liguanea)

Find it at General Foods, Select Grocers, Lee’s Red Hills, Mega Mart

MASA HARINA

This is a classic ingredient in Latino culture. Don’t mistake it with cornflour or cornmeal though- they’re two different things. Masa is made of corn that’s then treated in slaked lime (nothing to worry about btw). I’ve only found it under the Bob’s Red Mill brand here.

Find it at General Foods (occasionally- you’ll need to look carefully!)

COCONUT AMINOS

This is an occasional substitute I use for pomegranate molasses. It’s a little pricey- but I’ll use it for specific recipes (and sometimes I drizzle over salads). It is sold under one brand only (imported Dynamic Health brand) and I’ve only found it at one location so far.

Find it at Select Grocers

TAMARIND PASTE

You can find tamarind paste in jars or in blocks. I much, much prefer the latter- although it calls for a bit more work than the straight-up paste (which I find has an odd after taste). Great in stews & curries and also home made pad-thai or stir fry sauces!

Find it at Fresh Approach (both jar & block). Or just buy tamarind from the market- and pick out the flesh yourself 🙂

BLACK SESAME SEEDS

I love sesame seeds and I use them a lot! Black and white! Great in sweet & savoury recipes!

Find it at Fresh Approach & Sovereign Center Supermarket (look in the Asian food aisles for the latter)

SUN DRIED TOMATOES

One of my favourite things that is PACKED with flavour! I add these in salads, tomato sauces and sometimes I snack on them (yes, I am weird that way). This is a quintessential ingredient for that dreamy Mediterranean flair! They are usually sold preserved in oil or simply dried. I prefer the latter FYI.

Find it at Family Pride Red Hills (sold not in oil), Select Grocers, Mega Mart

WATERCRESS

The most underrated green there is out there- it pops up a few times a year and it’s cheap AND nutritious!

Find it at Fresh Approach

SWEET POTATO LEAVES

Another “unusual” green we don’t see much of- but if you look carefully, you’ll see it for a few weeks throughout the year. Cook the leaves as you would with spinach or callaloo. Delish!

Find it at Fresh Approach

CHEAP AND AWESOME DATES!

I try to always have dates at home. If I’m craving something sweet, I have one (or rather, some!) I use them in my beloved bliss balls (people seem to go crazy over them), in caramel sauces and a few other things. I find super well priced packs of dates (without the seeds!) at $150 JMD/pack (price w/o tax). Having grown up on dates, I have a tough time wrapping my mind around exorbitant prices for this sweet gift from nature!

Find it at Fresh Approach, Lee’s Red Hills (look near the nuts section)

LENTILS, CHICKPEAS & ALL OTHER DRIED LEGUMES

Depending on where you go, you can come across a wide range of exciting dried legumes & pulses options! Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, split beans and beyond! They’re usually tucked neatly somewhere near the fresh produce zone (dried). If you buy them in cans, look near the condiments section.

Find it at PRETTY MUCH ANY LARGE SUPERMARKET!!! Some specialties like Mung beans can be found at Fresh Approach or Mega Mart

TAPIOCA STARCH

I use this when I need to thicken sauces. It’s a great alternative to corn starch (if that’s not your thing).

Find it at Fresh Approach

AGAR AGAR

If you’re looking for a plant-based substitute to gelatine, this is what you’ll be looking for: agar agar! Typically sold in flake or powder form, I’ve only found powder here in Jamaica. It comes in small packets (potent- don’t let that fool you) under the globally famous “telephone brand”.

Find it at Fresh Approach

UNSWEETENED SHREDDED COCONUT

While shredded coconut is fairly common, getting an UNSWEETENED one is not as evident as I thought (that’s if you dont want to make it yourself). I slip unsweetened shredded coconut in tons of things- from vegetables to baked cakes!

Find it at Fresh Approach

COUSCOUS

This semolina speciality from North Africa (of Berber origins) is quick to cook and one of my faves too! While you’ll find it at most large chain supermarkets, the prices vary GREATLY I find! General Foods sells cheaper, unbranded couscous (that they package- from bulk) and Mega Mart sells whole wheat couscous (under the Roland brand) for a decent price.

Find it at Mega Mart, General Foods, Select Grocers

BLACK RICE

Black rice sounds and looks mystical- and is sometimes called “forbidden rice”. Ouuhhh. Sounds dreamy. It’s also a fave, aesthetically speaking, for many chefs- as it transform any regular rice dish into something that looks spectacular!

Find it at Fresh Approach

VEGAN MAYO

Disclaimer: this is a product I do NOT use, but I happened to stumble across some the other day- so dropping this here for those interested 🙂

Find it at Mega Mart (near the cheese/yoghurt section)

VEGAN CREAM CHEESE & CHEESE SLICES

Again- not something I buy (have bought each item once out of curiosity- and never again). The “Go Veggie” brand has a few 100% vegan items (made of things like rice protein or coconut milk etc)- including cream cheese & cheese slices.

Find it at Lee’s Red Hills

CACTUS PADS (TUNA)

If you don’t have a plant in your yard, you can get some at Coronation market (specifically with ONE vendor only- she is in the outskirts of the official “roofed” market space and she usually is burning incense) or sometimes you can also find at Ujima Farmer’s Market. If you select the young, soft pads, you can cook them up Mexican style like Nopalitos. I’ve shared a recipe before on the blog (click HERE).

Find it at Coronation Market, Ujima Farmer’s Market

CORN TORTILLAS

Most of the tortillas you find here are made of wheat. Yet the real deal is the corn tortilla (wheat flour tortillas are largely a Tex-Mex invention). If you’re not into making them yourself, CPJ sells a huge pack of soft shell tortillas.

Find it at CPJ

DRIED SEA VEGETABLES

To emulate that “fish/seafood” taste, I often play with ingredients of specific texture (ex: hearts of palm) and then add a dried sea vegetable to add that fishy taste. Nori, kelp & kombu are all great for that! Nori is likely the most available option you would find, but you can find speciality products at Fresh Approach

Find it at Fresh Approach, Sovereign Supermarket, General Foods (for nori). Kelp & Kombu are available at Fresh Approach

CHINESE EGGPLANTS

These are the long & slim eggplants I often refer to on Instagram & on the blog. They’re less bitter and much more delicious than the common eggplant you’d come across here. But you can’t find them just anywhere…..

Find it at Fresh Approach & Sovereign Supermarket

LIQUID SMOKE

This is a highly debatable ingredient, that I use very sparingly. It is great for emulating that BBQ/charcoaled flavour of meat, sausages, other.

Find it at General Foods

ZAATAR:

This iconic Middle Eastern spice blend (made with thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, cumin and multiple other spices & herbs) is not only dreamy, it’s also incredibly versatile! While I’ve honestly never found it here, I do at times, have huge stocks of it at home. So if you want to buy some, please contact me!

Find it at Nana’s Kitchen

ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER:

This is a clear, perfumed by-product of the distillation of fresh bitter-orange blossoms- and it’s absolutely beautiful! I use it in desserts mostly- sometimes in salads or in porridge. However, it can be difficult to find in Jamaica (and pricey- so something to budget for). The good news is that you don’t need much to enchant your dishes with it.

Find it at Mega Mart or the Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurants.

NIGELLA SEEDS:

While many confuse this with black sesame seeds- please note that the are completely different. Nigella seeds, also known as black cumin or black caraway, are common in Middle Eastern & South East Asian/Indian cuisine. I particularly love them in bread- they bring a unique, inexplicable aroma to the dough. And similarly to zaatar, I’ve never found anyone sell it here- but I sometime’s have large amounts on me if you’d like to buy some! (just contact me and we can maybe figure something out).

Find it at Nana’s Kitchen

CHILES EN ADOBO

I only came across this recently, thinking I’d never find it in Jamaica! If you’re cooking Mexican and want that distinct sweet & smoky heat from chiles en adobo, I happened to come across a canned version of it at the supermarket lately (which is something common for this type of product- don’t let the can freak you out). Look for the Roland Brand product on the shelves.

Find it at Sovereign Supermarket

 

SO WITH THAT SAID…. WHERE ARE ALL THESE PLACES AT? 😀

(Click on the name for map) 

General Foods Liguanea: 134 Old Hope Rd.

Fresh Approach: 112 Constant Spring Rd

Mega Mart: 29 Upper Waterloo Rd

Sovereign Centre Supermarket: 106 Hope Rd

Lee’s Red Hills: 86 Red Hills Rd

Select Grocers: Manor Park Dr

Hi-Lo: Manor Park Dr (FYI- this is the only Hi-Lo I go to. The other ones have much higher prices for fresh produce I notice)

Coronation Market: downtown Kingston, along Spanish Town Rd

Ujima Farmer’s Market: Saturday’s 10am-3pm, 22 Barbican Rd. But be sure to check their Instagram as sometimes they add new locations/days

 

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