Indian spices come in almost forty varieties. Many, like garcinia and stone flower, are unknown and only utilized in certain areas. Almost all Indian cuisine, spanning multiple centuries-old culinary traditions from all across the vast subcontinent, uses the 24 important spices on our list.
Cooking using traditional spices may be almost mystical in its beauty. Your culinary skills will undoubtedly improve if you experiment with Indian cuisine. The best 24 spices for Indian cuisine are listed below. Learning about these spices is an excellent place to start while expanding your knowledge.
Turmeric is necessary for Indian cuisine. The pulverized spice turmeric has a supplementary earthy flavor. This spice is the most healthful of all the spices used in Indian cuisine, and it’s an amazing shade of yellow. For a family of four, a teaspoon is usually all that is needed to flavor and color a meal. If using for health reasons, make sure your recipes call for at least a dash of black pepper. While piperine from black pepper enhances the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, its benefits are not as strong without it.
Whole Cumin Seeds
A common ingredient in Indian curries, whole cumin seeds has a flavor profile reminiscent to dill or caraway. In general, cumin seeds work best when used whole and cooked in oil at the start of a meal (a technique known as taarka).
The cumin seeds will brown in about 15 seconds at a higher heat. Take care not to burn them; you’ll know they’re done when they begin to pop. One of the main components of garam masala spice mix, ground cumin powder is also a necessary spice used in India.
Fenugreek is one of the milder Indian spices. Despite their bitter taste, fenugreek seeds are very beneficial to health. The leaves have a delightful perfume reminiscent of maple and are a fragrant green spice that is less likely to be harsh. Some believe this Indian spice “smells like curry.”
This may be the most important spice of all the Indian spices. Start with a teaspoon and work your way up to a few teaspoons in a family-sized meal at the end of cooking. Fenugreek seeds are also very beneficial to health.
This powder is often referred to as amchoor. One of our favorite spices, it adds a fantastic sourness to any meal when applied. It’s a popular Indian spice that has a strong sour taste.
A little goes a long way with this powder, which is packed with of acids due to the dried mango. Master Indian’s blog entry on using amchoor has further information about this substance.
Tej Patta is used in Indian cookery in a similar way as European bay. It is added whole, cooked for the whole meal, and then taken out just before serving. Its flavor is fragrant and reminds me of cloves and cinnamon.
Tej Patta leaves are often added to dishes at the start and gently browned together with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and other frying spices.
In most Indian grocery shops, cassia bark is an ingredient. It is related to cinnamon and has the exact same use. Therefore, cassia and cinnamon both benefit from this counsel. In Indian food, cinnamon and cassia bark are often cooked whole and then added later.
Anise and fennel are very similar to black licorice. Fennel is an essential element for flavoring madras and other curries, and it tastes fantastic as a complete spice in taarka. Candied fennel seed is a common after-dinner mint used in Indian eateries.
In India, whole, grated nutmeg is a staple, especially in south Indian cooking. You may either use a sharp knife to shave the entire spice. The nutmeg may also be used in a taarka step whole or broken up into bigger pieces.
To prepare masalas (spice mixtures) for Keralan chicken curries and thattukada (street vendor) foods, nutmeg is roasted and crushed with coconut, sesame, poppy, and mustard seeds, among other spices, in south Indian cuisine and many other Indian cuisines.
The spice mace, which resembles a thread or leaf, envelops the nutmeg seed. Although the flavors of mace and nutmeg are close enough to be mistaken for one another, mace has an even more savory, musky flavor.
Typically, one mace blade or leaf is sufficient to significantly give a strong flavor; mace is frequently fried entire.
Brown Mustard Seeds
Mustard seeds, whether they are brown, yellow, or black, are a staple in Indian cuisine. They give many curries a nutty, pungent flavor, and like many of the other whole spices we’ve discussed, they are often preferred for frying in oil at the start of a recipe’s preparation.
You’re all familiar with black pepper’s taste. It is noteworthy because, among peppers, it has a distinct sharpness. Black pepper gives a strong, high-flavor note that no other spice can compare to, and you’re likely to experience its heat before any other spicy ingredient.