For centuries, spices have been an integral part of Indian cuisines that not only add taste and aroma to dishes but have cultural, medicinal, and historical significance in Indian culinary traditions. Historically, spices have been traced to ancient times with references in ancient scriptures, Ayurvedic texts, and historical records.
With more than 100 different spices, there are different spices originating in different cuisines across the country including cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, turmeric, and more; each of which has a unique flavour and health benefits.
Different Indian spices have different religious, medicinal, and symbolic significance. For example, turmeric is an auspicious ingredient in religious ceremonies whereas cardamom has digestive properties. Spices play an integral role in enhancing the taste, aroma, and colour of Indian cuisines. They are used in different forms including whole spices, ground spices, blended spices, and spice pastes, and are used in an array of recipes starting from simple home-cooked meals to elaborate festive dishes. Indian spices at the same time have preservative properties, prolonging the shelf-life of food in the hot and tropical climate of India.
In this blog, we have listed some of the popularly used spices to prepare any Indian cuisine.
- Turmeric: Turmeric (Paspu) powder is a vibrant yellow spice that comes with a warm and bitter flavour. A key ingredient of several Indian dishes, haldi powder is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for centuries for its medicinal benefits.
- Cardamom: Cardamom (elaichi) is one of the most expensive spices in India. Known for its sweet, strong aroma, and distinct flavour, both green cardamom and black cardamom are must-haves for Indian kitchens. Cardamom is used in both sweet and savoury dishes like desserts, tea, and biryanis, and is known for its antioxidant properties that help with digestion.
- Red Chilli: A fiery spice, red chilli powder, especially Kashmiri red chilli powder, is one of the Indian spices that add heat and flavour to the dishes. Used in different blended spices, curries, and marinades, red chilli(karampodi) powder is known to boost metabolism, enhance digestion, and have immense antioxidant properties.
- Lemon Salt: Also known as citric acid, lemon salt is the type of sale that is derived from citrus fruits, especially lemons. It is a white, crystalline powder that comes with a sour taste and s commonly used as food preservative, flavour enhancer, and seasoning in different culinary applications. Lemon salt is commonly used in cooking, baking, and canning to add acidity to recipes, and balance flavours.
- Cumin: Cumin (jeera) is one of the staple Indian spices that has a warm, earthy flavour that is used commonly in blended spices like garam masala. It is used in dishes like lentils, soups, and curries as a seasoning and is known to enhance digestion, improve immunity, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coriander: Like cumin, coriander(dhania) powder is another spice that is used in both ground and whole form in Indian cooking. Its citrusy, mildly sweet flavour makes it perfect for blended spices, marinades, chutneys, and curries. Dhaniyalu also helps with digestion, enhances heart health, and has antioxidant properties.
- Garam Masala: Garam masala both grounded or whole (khada garam masala) are another popular spice blend that is used in Indian cuisine. Ground spice is a combination of carefully selected and blended spices that creates a warm, aromatic, and favourable seasoning. Usually, garam masala includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, and star anise that are toasted and grounded together to create a fine powder. Known for its rich, warm, and complex flavour profile, garam masala is known to add warmth to dishes without making them overly spicy.
- Fenugreek: A bitter and nutty-flavoured spice, fenugreek is used both in leaves and seeds form. It is used in spice blends, pickles, and curries and is known to help with digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Of numerous spices, the aforementioned ones are must-haves for an Indian kitchen. If you are planning on preparing authentic Indian cuisine, try the flavour-rich and aromatic spices from Surya Masale. We have an array of about 25 different blended spices, pickles, culinary pastes, Indian namkeens, Indian sweets, and a few bakery items for you to choose from. Browse through our range of products and purchase the ones you require.