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Spice Route Runs Down Interstate

(post, Kathleen Bauer)

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Where do you go when you need an exotic spice called for in a recipe? And I mean one most people have never heard of. One that's used infrequently, even in its country of origin. One that really can't be substituted for.

Sometimes, when a recipe calls for something I don't have in my spice drawer, I've left it out altogether. But this time, when a lamb shank recipe called for black cardamom pods, I went on a mission.

I stopped at a couple of Asian markets. No dice. I thought my luck might change at Caribbean Spice on NE 42nd and, while they said they used to carry it, it hadn't sold well. As I was heading out the door, the woman behind the counter called me back and recommended trying Fiji Emporium, a store that carries spices and ingredients from Fiji, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Score! Not only did they have the black cardamom pods I was seeking, but a dazzling array of other spices and grains in a crowded but very clean little store. The fellow behind the counter even seemed interested in what I was making with it, and pulled out a large container of lacy orange mace for me to sniff, saying it was often used with lamb as well.

So now I can add this spot to my list of great ethnic sources along with Rose International and Uwajimaya in Beaverton. And this one's a lot closer to home. Now, can anyone tell me what Junglee Chicken is?

Details: Fiji Emporium, 7814 N Interstate Ave. Phone 503-240-2768.