The premiere Bangladeshi restaurant in town (well, maybe if you donat count the Chowhound fave Spicy Mina) is a good place to become acquainted with the virtues of mustard oil. Detect its tingly yellow mellowness in the simple vegetable dishes called vartas, or in the biryanis, which count as the crowning glories of the cuisine. The best of these is kachi biryani, which sports a trio of baby goat hunks perfumed with rosewater. Deshi a decorated like your grandmotheras living room if your grandmother were South Asian a also offers a handful of Chinese-Indian dishes, including a superb evocation of lollypop chicken wings.
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Poke around in any South Asian grocery in Curry Hill, Jackson Heights, or Richmond Hill, and you'll find bags of spices at one-tenth what you'd pay for them in supermarkets, cheap nuts in bulk, and a section devoted to fats, some un...