Have you ever gone to bed dreaming of big tubs of cream cheese and woken up with the very same image still playing on your mind? No? Never obsessed over an ingredient that Mumbai just refused to let you find? Still no? Ever prayed that you would find more than 6 blueberries in a ridiculously expensive plastic box? I knew it!
I’ve been asked multiple times about where to find cooking chocolate, cream cheese, frozen fruits and a whole bunch more. I decided it was time to create a little ingredient sourcing list here. This list is in no way exhaustive, I’ll add more information as I find it, so feel free to add your tips in the comments below, everyone could use them. There’s also a section on baking equipment that I hope you find helpful!
Amazon is a good one-stop source for most of the ingredients and equipment I use often, or ones that work as fairly good substitutes. Check out my recommendations here. This page contains affiliate links.
Other sources and details are listed below!
I use Amul butter, available literally everywhere and always affordable. I like the 100 gm packs for easy measurement. They also have an unsalted butter now which is also good and priced similarly. I’ve seen it at Food Hall and on Big Basket. President butter is also available easily now and its flavour is richer and creamier and I use that often now.
2. Cream Cheese
I prefer Indian brands like La Cremella, D’Lecta, Impero and Mooz. Available at Food Hall, Nature’s Basket and Big Basket.
3. Whipping Cream
Amul does have whipping cream, look out for the red carton, not the blue! It is on Big Basket and at Food Hall and Reliance Fresh. If you do find it, buy the smaller 200 ml cartons because dairy-based whipping cream cannot be stored in the fridge for long and does go waste. Imported brands are fine too, just more expensive.
For longer-lasting, non-dairy options, check out Rich and Tropolite at Arife, Crawford Market. I don’t use these but I’ve heard that they’re good.
4. Cooking Chocolate
I use Mii Spezial, available online or at Food Hall, Nature’s Basket and Big Basket. I usually buy a few blocks of the 70% version whenever it’s in stock. Cocoa Craft is also an option, more expensive but good quality. I’ve used Morde extensively as well, but the quality isn’t as great so if you plan on baking regularly, buy a good brand!
5. Chocolate Chips
Ok, I have a confession. I ask family and friends coming to India to get me bags of Hershey’s, Nestle or Ghirardelli chocolate chips because for the life of me, I don’t know where you get them here. Indah and Urban Platter have Indian-made chocolate chips and while they’re not my first choice, they’re absolutely fine to use.
6. Cocoa Powder
I use either Cadbury or Hershey’s, both available online, at big supermarkets and gourmet food stores. For Dutch-processed cocoa powder which is great in baked goods like this, try Indah.
I was guilty of using the little imitation bottles for a while and I know they’re cheap and seem like the easy solution. But pure vanilla extract is available these days and is not a bad investment considering it lasts for a while. I like Sprig and at the moment, I’m using McCormick’s from the US. You could even make your own!
Sprig sells vanilla beans online and you can buy them at Fab India and Nature’s Basket. If you make a trip to Coorg or Kerala, be sure to pick up some vanilla beans there, they’re the best 🙂
I use Blue Bird caster sugar (INR 34 for 200 gms) in pretty much everything because it melts down faster and better than granulated sugar.
The brown sugar I use is usually the soft, dark brown kind. Tate & Lyle is my go-to and I’ve seen some online by Urban Platter as well. Coconut sugar is a good, healthier alternative and I like the one by Sattvic.
Your favourite brand of atta (wholewheat flour) and maida (all-purpose flour) is absolutely fine to use. Sattvic has great alternate options like rye, buckwheat and coconut flour.
For oat flour, just grind up your favourite cooking oats in a blender, it makes an amazing substitute in things like pancakes! When using whole oats, I prefer rolled oats by True Elements, By Nature or Sattvic.
Blue Bird active dry yeast is my go-to option and I’ve never faced any major issues. INR 25 for 25 gms. I’ve also begun using Blossom brand, available on Big Basket. Other brands include Crown and Kitchenart.
Imported brands will cost you an arm and leg. Thankfully, organic brands in India now make and sell gourmet cheeses at affordable prices. Check out Kodai, ABC Farms, Imperio and Mooz cheeses on Big Basket, at Nature’s Basket, Food Hall.
12. Frozen Berries
Delish sells frozen strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. You will find them at Nature’s Basket, Food Hall and Big Basket.
All about baking equipment
Oven: I own a Morphy Richards 22 ltr OTG and it’s like an extension of me. I love it to bits! I use silicone mats on the oven trays and Amazon is filled with affordable options.
Baking pans: All kinds of baking pans are now available online. I’m talking springform, donut pans, muffin trays, loaf tins and square baking tins. I don’t have any favourite brands here, but I prefer non-stick when possible.
Mixing bowls: These are crucial if you don’t have a stand-mixer (I do have one now, but never felt like I was missing out before). Along with a good hand mixer, you’ll never have trouble making a large cake batter if you have a deep, sturdy mixing bowl. Borosil is my favourite here, I have a set of two great glass bowls.
Hand-mixer: I have an Orpat hand-mixer and it comes with dough hooks. So far, no complaints, it works great for beating, whipping and light mixing.
Measuring Cups and Spoons: You’ll find endless options online. I have two sets in plastic and one in stainless steel. It’s also a good idea to buy an inexpensive set of kitchen scales for weight measures.