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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spice Up Moscow Life With an Indian Feast

Enjoying a hot Indian curry in the privacy of your own home is an exotic, yet relatively cheap escape on a chilly autumn evening in Moscow. Most of the basic ingredients are now available here. Even hot-curry lovers, who do not feel they have had a real Indian meal until their palate is burning and their face is dripping with sweat, will find satisfaction.

Members of the Indian community in Moscow go to Vijay's, a shop opened three years ago by an Indian student at the Patrice Lumumba University. It is a small but well-stocked store with no less than 20 varieties of dal, a Hindi word that means "leguminous" and is applied to various kinds of peas and beans.

You will also find an impressive array of spices: turmeric, cardamom, mustard seed, fennel seeds, curry leaves, saffron, ground ginger and garam masala, a mix of spices for meat flavoring. The spices are about 5,000 rubles for a generous sachet, except for the saffron, which is 17,500 rubles for two grams.

Also available is a good range of pickles and pre-prepared canned goods such as palek paneer made from cottage cheese, the Punjabi sarson kasaak, which is green mustard leaves in curry sauce.

I was particularly impressed with their "Haldiram" range of nibbles, such as badam lachha, a mix of potato sticks, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds and curry leaves (13,000 rubles).

If you are looking for a short-cut to an Indian meal, Stockmann's has a good range of what can be described as Anglo-Indian products: dishes and seasonings derived from Indian cuisine, particularly ready-made curry powder and chutneys, that reflect India's British cooking.

It carries the Patak brand, which makes very good canned curried vegetables, such as tikka masala with chick peas and coriander ($2.95) as well as canned soups such as chawal soup with spinach, onions, rice and garlic. Both the soups and the vegetables, when mixed with yogurt and served with rice, make delicious vegetarian main courses. There is also a good range of cooking sauces, curry and tandoori pastes.

Another shopping tip for Indian gourmets: The Jumbo supermarket has delicious frozen Tandoori Chicken -- $5.10 for 500 grams. My family likes it so much we have it once a week.

To complete your feast, you can call an Indian restaurant, either Darbar, Maharajah or Moscow Bombay, and arrange to pick up some appetizers such as samosas, crisp pastries filled with spicy vegetables. So light the incense, turn on the sitar music and dream of warmer climes.

Vijay, 5 Ulitsa Mikluho-Maklaya, Patrice Lumumba University, dormitory block 2, metro Yugo-Zapadnaya, tel. 232-2734.

Stockmann, 2/3 Zatsepski Val, metro Paveletskaya, tel. 233-2602.

Jumbo, 1-4 Universitetsky Prospekt, metro Akademicheskaya.

Darbar, Hotel Sputnik, 38 Leninsky Prospekt, metro Leninsky Prospekt, tel. 938-8008.

Maharajah, 3/1 Ulitsa Pokrovka, metro Kitai Gorod, tel. 921-9844.

Moscow Bombay, 3 Nemirovich-Danchenko Ulitsa, metro Pushkinskaya, tel. 292-9731.