Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Exotic Produce!

I was driving through Southall in West London a couple of days ago when I noticed a new Asian market had opened in an abandoned warehouse. The main street of Southall is well known for its colourful open air fruit and vegetable markets selling all manner of exotic produce. This was well worth a quick detour. From the well known produce at rock bottom prices, garlic, ginger, chilli....
To these 'yard long beans' . You might remember that I tried to grow these unsuccessfully last year. The British climate is just too cool, despite what the seed company told me.
Many local companies now exist to import fresh fruit an vegetables from other countries and so familiar vegetables from India, Pakistan, and the far East are available in London.
Strange fresh pods, little green fruit, and unidentified green leaves were displayed here. I would just love a culinary tour from someone in the know!
I was fascinated to see 'Jaggery' on sale here - this is unrefined cane sugar.
You could even buy it in 20lb blocks with hessian wrapping! The whole supermarket was an Aladdin's Cave of exotic ingredients. I might go back to spend a leisurely afternoon browsing the shelves!


At 7:24 PM, Blogger Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Wow that market looks awesome, lucky you.
I don't know what the green pods (peas?) are, but the leaves are 'curry leaves' see

I have a small plant in a pot. The leaves are very fragrant and add a special flavour to curries.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger Lrong said...

The 'Jaggery' is new to me although we have similar unrefined brown sugar in Malaysia... happy hunting...

At 1:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Matron, how lovely that you have the new Asian market close by...I saw the okra and wish I lived close by too.

At 2:43 AM, Blogger Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I love to browse market places.Curry leaves are easy to grow and they are used to spice lots of Asian cooking. I grow a plant outside my house. Just a sprig or two will add the wonderful aroma.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Damo said...

Amazing selection, I get all my spices when I visit a friend in Leicester, not quite on this scale though!

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

I'd love to have that market on my doorstep - isn't it fun finding out about new veg and herbs?!!

I recognise the pods, they are different sorts of lablab or hyacinth bean. You could grow these!

The ridged cucumber things on the far left are bitter gourds - try them if you dare!!!

And I think the fruit, labeled Amla are "Indian Gooseberries" they aren't related to our gooseberries, just green and bitter. Apparently very high in Vit C - you can get jars of them pickled. Main use is actually in hair products, inks and as a dye fixative.

Wonderful! Worth a trip to Southall I think.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Jo said...

It looks fascinating. You could easily pass an afternoon browsing.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Chicken lover said...

That looks a great place! I love to see 'different' and unusual veggies in markets. I remember one of your previous posts with a Spanish market with somne fantastic pics of the produce.You will definately have to do a return trip :)

At 6:41 PM, Blogger John'aLee said...

Oh that market looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Rob said...

It looks an interesting place to visit.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Wow!!!! I wanna go, take me please. I could go on a short holiday break in that place, taking photos, feeding my face and learning all the time. I bet it smelt like heaven. Oh thanks for sharing - lucky girl!!

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous razvan said...

do you know which would be the largest and most diverse asian/african vegetable market in London?
I am from Romania and plan to visit London in April for a couple of days and I want to buy some exotic tubers to take back home. Something like oca, black potatoes, yacon or the like.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Razvan - either Brixton Market each day on Electric Avenue, just a few yards from the underground station. Or Queens Market in East London (see my link right,below) I think the nearest Underground station is Upton Park, in Newham. Good luck!


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