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Where Malika Ameen Gets Her Spices

The chef and author of Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice: Exotic Flavors to Wake Up Your Baking shares her go-to shop.

Photo: Courtesy of Malika Ameen

Kamdar Plaza has been in business for over 40 years — I grew up going there with my mom. The spices are always fresh, since turnover is high and the owners travel to India numerous times a year to meet with their purveyors. Jaggery, a type of cane sugar, is a great ingredient to play with in sweet and savory foods. I use it to make spiced caramels and a Pakistani rice dish called gur walay chawal — it’s crunchy, sugary, golden, aromatic, and divine. Kamdar also has some of the best traditional Indian street food snacks on Devon Avenue. My favorite is the papdi chaat. I like them to add a drizzle of sweet-sour tamarind chutney to mine.” 2646 W. Devon Ave., West Rogers Park

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