With the exception of a few exotic items, we got most of our groceries in supermarkets--Pavilions in Beverly Hills had the yellow peppers and small white eggplants called garden eggs (but this is not a sure bet).

Palm-nut puree, egusi , gari , red palm oil, fufu mix, white yams, habaneros and plantains can be purchased at African Produce Central Market. Most of these items are also available at Akka Caribbean & African Market. And Akka carries an excellent selection of ready-to-use smoked fish and semi-soaked dried cod as well as most of the other necessary West African basics.

African Produce Central Market imports three styles of the huge mortars used in West African homes. One has striations at the bottom and sides to facilitate grinding peppers and onions. It comes with a special hourglass-shaped pestle that gives the cook extra leverage. There is also a deep, almost waist-high northern-style mortar that is ideal for pounding peanuts or yams. A more shallow, wash-basin-sized mortar is for cassava for fufu . The store also has an exceptionally wide selections of varied flours for fufu and other starchy dishes.

Sadaaf brand curry powder is available in Near Eastern stores. But African Central Produce Market has curry powder too.

African Produce Central Market, 4564 W. Washington Blvd. (near Crenshaw), Los Angeles. (213) 932-1722. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Akka Caribbean & African Market, 4233 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 292-8921. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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