After a week of being taught the magic of Moro cookery in Andalucia we were desperate to try a load of recipes for ourselves. But with some requiring ingredients we’d never heard of, or used, before – sumac, za’atar, orange blossom water – thoughts of reproducing the delights we’d been introduced to disappeared over the horizon with the setting sun.
Although good for many things, there was no way Al Campo, Hiper Trebol, Mercadona et al were going to stock those sort of exotic items.
As it turned out they couldn’t even manage one of the Spanish ingredients – simple smoked paprika. Tins and tins of picante and dulce but none that were ahumado.
However, there was one slight ray of hope; the Saroj Supermarket.
In Puerto de la Cruz we’re fortunate enough to have an Asian community. This means that there is a wonderful little Indian Social Club where you can lap up authentic tasting Indian dishes.
It also means that we have a little international deli in Saroj Supermarket that stocks the sort of items that you’d expect to find in shops on the streets of Rusholme in Manchester. It’s the sort of place that if you recite a traditional Hindu chant, you get a discount ( it happened to me once).
It’s quite a bizarre little store with only one central aisle so you’d think that stock might be limited. But that one central aisle is like Dr Who’s Tardis. It holds endless wonders. We often can’t find what we want, although we know they’re likely to be there somewhere, and end up have to resort to asking the assistant for help.
Invariably, he never blinks an eye, just points us in the direction of the treasure.
And so it was this time with the orange blossom water, sumac and za’atar. He nodded ‘ah yes’ then headed straight to a point we’d spent five minutes scouring, grabbed a bag of this, a jar of that and a bottle of the other.
Less than a minute later we were forking out a handful of euros for a big bag of sumac, a 250g jar of za’atar and a 250ml bottle of orange blossom water.
Our Moro cooking marathon was back on the agenda big time.
The place is a foodie’s Aladdin Cave and anyone who’s in Puerto de la Cruz on holiday or lives here should give them their custom. I say this from a purely selfish reason. I don’t want this place to ever close, it’s my supplier of lost ingredients.
And they even had the smoked paprika.
Saroj Supermarket is on Calle Valois, 43 (open 9am to 2pm and from 4.30pm to 9pm. Closed Sunday). There’s also another branch in Santa Cruz at Calle Angel Guimerá, 3.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites plus lots of other things. Follow Jack on Google+
You mean I’m unlikely to find orange flower water on Islay when I go there in May? Oh, how will I cope? 🙂
If I was to ask for a bottle of orange flower water in my home town it would probably be considered proof of my total sassenach-isation and I’d be exiled from the island 🙂
I’ve walked past the Saroj many times but have ever ventured in. Next time I’m in the area I’ll pop in and buy something – can’t have you deprived of essential ingredients ????
On a related topic, can you recommend a Moro cookery book?
Thank you Peter, my red lentil, cok sauce and various spices supply should be safe 🙂
We can only vouch for Moro – The Cookbook which is a lovely book as well as having great recipes that we’re working our way through. Tom Ryalls ( the chef) says it’s probably the best as it includes the basics such as flatbreads (can never make a flatbread without za’atar again) and warka (either we’ll master it or go mad trying).
Can I take this opportunity to mention that here in the south we have our very own Aladdin´s cave of exotica in the 5 Continents Supermarket at the Los Agaves apartments in Las Americas. Goodies from, well, 5 continents, and all pretty reasonably priced.
Thanks Colleen, always very useful to know about places where you can pick up ‘exotic’ ingredients. We’d have to dumb down our cooking if we couldn’t get hold of some of the things they stock in great little places like these.