Kalustyan's is great of course but I still enjoy shopping at the Indian grocery in my old neighborhood, which is smaller, dustier and more cramped. It's in the East Village, on 1st Ave between 5th and 6th Streets. I've always called it "the Indian grocery" because it's had a series of names. It's presently called Dual but it was Dowel before that, and there are at least two other names I can't recall now. (I'm pretty sure it wasn't Dial or Duel but wouldn't wager on this). I went there this past weekend to pick up urad dal for the half dozen or so varieties of sundal I want to make right now, but don't get too excited because my fresh coconut (and my appetite) will likely be exhausted by two or three. As ever, I found myself distracted by the wide selection, and also came home with a fresh supply of cardamom (both green and black), asafoetida, Kerala vadu mango pickle, and "super Darjeeling." I didn't go for the digestive pills, though I do wonder if they banish momentary feelings of tubbiness. Instead I picked up a little jar of Tibet Snow, which I hope will give me a remote, frosty, mystical air on sweltering subway platforms this summer.
If you are naturally remote and frosty and really only care about the groceries, you should know that Dual stocks my favorite rice, Lal Qilla basmati. (Kalustyan's has it too but only in ten-pound bags). I'm not a particularly skilled cooker of rice but it always comes out with perfectly separate grains like this, ready for its close-up.