The vast array of spices often mixed into complex spice mixes is one thing that people find overwhelming about cooking Indian food.
There are over 40 different spices in India. Many, including stone flower and garcinia, are unknown and only used in specific areas. Here is the list of different spices of India that can be used in almost all Indian dishes, spanning centuries of culinary traditions from across the subcontinent. It’s almost sacred to combine conventional spices to create beautiful cooking. Exploring Indian cuisine will undoubtedly broaden the culinary horizons.
Turmeric is important in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is a ground spice with an earthy undertone. This spice has the most health benefits of all the spices used in Indian cooking and stunning yellow color. A teaspoon is usually required to flavor and color a dish for a family of four. If you’re using black pepper for health reasons, make sure to use at least a dash in your recipes. Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory, but its effects are reduced without the piperine contained in black pepper.
Cumin seed is a staple of Indian cooking and curries, with a flavor profile similar to caraway or dill. Cumin seeds are best used whole and fried in oil at the start of a recipe.
Cumin seeds can brown quickly at a higher heat, in around 15 seconds. Make sure they don’t burn, and you’ll know they’re done when they start to pop. Ground cumin powder is another essential spice in India, and it’s one of the main ingredients in the garam masala spice blend.
The fragrance of green cardamom is unmistakable. Because a compound called cineole tastes like eucalyptus. It’s delicious fried in hot oil at the start of an Indian meal. In an Indian recipe, you’ll typically find between two and six whole cardamom pods.
Coriander seed comes from the cilantro plant and is one of the most important spices types on our list. This seed has a citrus fragrance with some leafy, woody notes, and it’s used in a variety of dishes like Madras and Vindaloo. The easiest way to use coriander seeds is to grind them into a powder before applying them to a sauce.
Garam Masala is the most well-known seasoning in India. It’s simply a blend of dried spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, coriander, tej patta, and others. You can use this in many dishes, including Chana Masala. When your onions are frying, or your sauce is simmering, add one to two teaspoons. It’s also used as a garnish.
It’s worth noting that garam masala is the most versatile of all the spices. Unlike any other spice in that the ingredients used to produce it differ greatly from region to region, so the flavor does as well. Others have a lot of fennel, while others have just a few, but no matter what food you eat in India, this spice, or a combination of spices, will almost certainly be present.
Fenugreek is a delicate Indian spice. The seeds of fenugreek are bitter, but they have a lot of health benefits. The leaves are a green herbal spice with a wonderful maple-like fragrance and are less susceptible to bitterness. This Indian spice “smells like curry,” according to others.
This spice may be the most important of all Indian spices. In a family-size dish, use up to a few tablespoons towards the end of the cooking period, but start with a teaspoon. Fenugreek seeds have many health benefits as well.
Herbs and spices that are sometimes used in cooking includes:
There are many herbs and spices in India, so let’s see them in detail.
Seeds of Ajwain:
These small seeds are well-known for their medicinal properties, especially in the treatment of digestive issues. Many medicinal concoctions in India include carom seeds. Still, a limited amount can be added to the dough for Indian flatbreads like poori (deep-fried Indian flatbread) and layered flatbread paratha as a flavoring agent.
The taste and scent of Indian bay leaves are well-known. Indian bay leaves, also known as tej patta, are commonly used in curries, biryanis, and korma. They are not to be confused with bay laurel leaves. Garam masala also contains this aromatic herb. Be sure to incorporate these spices into these delectable Indian main courses.
Flower of the Black Stone:
The black stone flower is a lesser-known Indian spice common on the west coast of India and in South India. It is a lichen species used to make goda masala. It is known as dagad Phool in Marathi (the Indian language spoken in Maharashtra).
This is one of India’s most common herbs. They’re also called sweet neem leaves because they resemble neem leaves but are darker and less bitter. Curry leaves are widely used in South India. Adding a handful of them during the tempering process gives curries and gravies a distinct flavor. Curry leaves are used to make chutneys and spice powders to serve with rice.
New dill leaves, also known as dill weed, can be used as a taste enhancer in the same way that cilantro can. A small amount of fresh dill leaves in upma, a savory breakfast dish from South India, or flatbread can enhance the flavor profile. It can also be combined with spinach and used to make curries with lentils or other vegetables.
Asafoetida is a dried gum or latex derived from the sap of the ferula plant. It has a strong odor, and some refer to it as “stinking gum” because of it. Asafoetida is used in Indian cooking to assist in the digestion of difficult-to-digest foods. Asafoetida also helps to relieve gaseous issues.
Buds of Kapok
Kapok buds, also known as Indian capers, are the dried buds of the kapok or silk cotton tree. They resemble larger cloves but have a completely different flavor. Karnataka uses kapok buds to render Bisi bele bath (a bowl of curried lentil rice with vegetables).
The most expensive spice on the planet. Saffron strands are thin strings of saffron. It is slightly crushed and soaked in lukewarm water or milk to unleash the full flavor and color of saffron. Saffron, like cardamom and cloves, can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Saffron adds rich flavor and color to Indian kulfi (ice cream), kheer, and dum biryani.
Anise with a Star
Star anise, the lovely star-shaped spice, is also known as Chinese star anise or star anise seed. This licorice-flavored spice can be used in a variety of spice blends as well as kormas and biryani. It also has therapeutic properties. Star anise is a strong source of shikimic acid used to make Tamiflu a flu medication.