Shopping for your Indian Groceries
In her 1972 book Cook and See Part 2, S. Meenakshi Ammal considerately provides a list of ingredients needed for a small Indian family of four for a month. It is interesting reading.
How does it translate to today’s kitchens, I wonder.
The Shopping List
Rice: 20 kilos
Par Boiled Rice: 5 kilos
Rice flour: 50 Grams
Wheat flour: 2 kilos
Red Gram Dal (Toor Dal): 3 kilos
Bengalgram dal (channa dal): 500 grams
Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal): 500 gms
Black gram dal (urad dal): 3 kilos
Coffee and Sugar
Coffee: 2 kilos
Sugar: 4 kilos
Jaggery: 500 grams
Coriander seeds (dhania): 200grams
Mustard seeds: 400 grams
Fenugreek Seeds: 100 grams
Pepper corns 50 grams
Cumin Seeds: 100 grams
Red Chillies, dried: 1 kilo
Tamarind: 3 kilos
salt: 2 kilos
asafoetida: 70 grams (see the comments below this post)
gingelly seeds (sesame seeds): 100 grams
Turmeric Powder: 100 grams
Baking soda: 50 grams
Cardamom: 10 grams
For cooking and washing
Matches: 12 boxes
Dishwashing agents: 1Kg (soapnut and sprouting powders)
coconut oil, gingelly oil (Indian sesame oil): 6 kilos in all
Ghee: 3 kilos
Milk: 30 litres
Curd: 5 litres
Vegetables, plantain leaves, betel leaves, betel nuts, flowers, scented betel nuts, saffron, kesari powder, pachaikarpooram, incense, camphor etc: As needed
Infrequent Use Items
Rava (semolina), sago, maida (whole wheat) flour, cashewnuts, rasam, cloves, anise, poppy seeds (Kasa-Kasa), cinnamon (Sannalavan-gappattai) and similar provision, which are not in frequent use may be bought as and when required.
If chapatti, poori etc form the main dish, increase the quantity of wheat flour.
If beverages other than coffee (e.g. tea etc) are used, reduce the quantity of coffee.
If kuzhambu powder, chilli powder etc are locally purchased, reduce the quantity of red chillies.
It is advisable to keep on hand at least 5 litres of kerosene to meet emergencies.
Note that during festivals and when visitors stay, additional provisions may be required.