The Best Indian Spices You Should Include in Your Cooking
What’s food without spices? Indian spices always were and always will be exotic and different, and will give your food such an incredible taste that it will give you sensations like no other spices. This palette consists of some of the most common tastes in Indian cuisine. Check them out:
Bright yellow and used in both south and north Indian cooking. It is derived from a plant native of India that is part of the ginger family. It is made from the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished roots of the turmeric plant. In medieval Europe, it became known as Indian saffron and was very expensive in its day than the saffron spice of today. Turmeric is used primarily in Kashmiri dishes for flavor and color, and it is a principal element in curry powder.
The Coriander powder or also known in India as ‘Dhaniya’ is purchased as whole seeds or in powder form and is again used in both south and north Indian cooking. Fresh coriander is also known as ‘cilantro’. The seeds are often used as a condiment with or without roasting. It is a herb with a delicate sweet aroma and it is an essential spice in every Indian household. It is used in Indian Dals, Rasam, Sambar, soups and curries. The fresh coriander leaves are generally used as garnish on top of finished dishes. Not produced only in India, but in many other countries too, the coriander is becoming one of the favorite spice for Indian and Mediterranean recipes. The oil is used in seasonings for sausages and other meat products.
Also known as ‘Jeera’ in India, cumin can be purchased as whole seeds or in powder form and comes from a dried, white fruit on an annual herb that is a tropical plant grown in many parts of the world. The seeds are bitter and have an aromatic odor. It is indigenous to northern Egypt, Syria, the Mediterranean region, Iran and India but it can be found growing in Mexico, China, Sicily and Malta. Cumin is used in Indian cooking as a flavoring agent in things like curry powders, seasonings of breads, cakes and cheese, and as a condiment. It is also used in many native dishes of Central and South America. Often the cumin seeds are heated and roasted which gives off its robust flavor and aroma.
Tamarind paste is made from the ripe fruit of the tamarind tree, which is an evergreen. It is a tree that originates from Madagascar and the tamarind pulp is used in many Indian recipes. It has a sour and acidic taste and is used in south Indian dishes to give taste. It usually comes in a concentrated paste commercially.
5 Red Chili Powder
Red chili powder or cayenne pepper (paprika) adds a spicy kick to Indian food and is known as the “king of all spices”. Chili is the dried ripe fruit of the genus Capsicum. It is believed to be native to South America, first introduced to the Indians from the Portuguese in the 15th-century. Today it is used in the Indian curry dishes. Try it, but expect a heavy mouth burning.
6 Black Cardamon, the Queen of Spices
Black cardamon is known for its smoky, pungent aroma and is another popular Indian spice. It is the dried ripe fruit from the capsules of the cardamom plant, often referred to as the “queen of spices” because of its pleasant fragrance and taste. The black cardamon is used in the preparation of Dals, Curries, Biryanis and the famous Indian Garam Masala or ‘hot spices’ which not only includes Black Cardamon, but bay leaves, black pepper, black cumin, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg. Cultivation is concentrated in the evergreen forests of western Ghats in south India. It is grown on a smaller scale in other countries as well. It is used in both whole and ground form. Cardamom oil has applications in flavoring processed foods, cordials, and liquors and in perfumery and in Ayurvedic medicines (a traditional Indian medicine system popular in Southeast Asia).