The Taste of India is Not So Far Away! by Samantha Gilliams

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There is no longer an excuse to skip over foreign ingredients in the Indian recipes you attempt! Velan, an Indian grocery store and wellness shop in the 10th arrondissement, has brought over all the spices and herbs necessary to make authentic Indian dishes at home.

Entrance of Velan Grocery Store
Photograph by Samantha Gilliams

Velan is situated in Passage Brady, an arcade filled with Indian restaurants and shops. Just steps from Strasbourg-Saint Denis, a quarter of Paris that hosts a diverse mix of people and cultures, Velan is one of the many businesses in Paris that are foreign yet embedded in the fabric of the city.

Left: Entrance to Passage – Right: Interior of Passage
Photographs by Samantha Gilliams

Velan caters to those who want authentic Indian ingredients and goods. They sell everything from Ayurvedic oils to hot green chilies to traditional Indian bangles. And the spices… They are all there.

Top: Ayurvedic Oils
Bottom Left: Jewelry – Bottom Right: Dried Goods

Photographs by Samantha Gilliams

I decided to purchase a few ingredients during my visit, as I was planning to host an Indian dinner party that night for friends with whom I traveled to southern India last December. I was able to find all the ingredients I needed to make the dishes that we ate at our hostel daily. Curry leaves, mustard seeds, lentils, spice mixes, naan (flatbread), coconut, okra… I used all these ingredients, plus some produce I picked up at another market, to make dinner for nine.

The ingredients I bought from left to right: whole coconut, MDH’s “Kitchen King” spice mix, sugar-coated fennel seeds, mustard seeds, idli mix, curry leaves, garlic naan, veggie chips, okra, turmeric, and lentils – Total cost: approx. 20€
Photograph by Samantha Gilliams

My friend Zoe, an ex-chef who had been in India with me, helped me prepare the dinner. We ended up making a vegetable curry with dal (using the MDH “Kitchen King” spice blend we bought at Velan), okra with a spicy tomato and chili sauce (similar to bhindi masala), buttery polenta with onions, mustard seeds, and curry leaves (inspired by Ven Pongal), and my favorite coconut chutney, from scratch.

All of the ingredients from Velan made it possible to make these dishes for nine people, in my 15-square meter studio apartment nonetheless!

Our Dinner!
Photograph by Samantha Gilliams

The dinner ended up being a lovely affair. The food was so comforting and a nice reminder of the flavors of my trip last December. I would recommend Velan to anyone who is missing or dreaming of the cuisine of India.

87, Passage Brady, 75010 Paris

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