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Ultimate Guide to Must Have 17 Indian Spices In Your Kitchen

Ultimate Guide to Must Have 17 Indian Spices In Your Kitchen

Posted by Suryamasale on 28th Mar 2024

Every Indian dish is blast of flavours. This flavour is attributed by the hundreds of Indian spices that are found in different regions of our country. These spices are the heart and soul of every dish. Having the right spices in your pantry is key to recreating the authentic and delicious taste of this diverse culinary tradition.

The importance of Indian spices in everyday cooking goes beyond just adding flavour, they are central to the essence of Indian cuisine and contribute significantly to the health, cultural, and sensory aspects of meals. Here are some reasons highlighting the importance of Indian spices in everyday cooking:

  • Flavour enhancement:

Indian spices transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary dishes. Each spice contributes a unique flavour profile to vegetable curries, dals and even rice. This diversity allows cooks to create a wide array of tastes that appeal to various palates in different regions of the country.

  • Cultural Essence:

Indian spices have been integral to Indian cooking for centuries, passed down through generations. The use of specific spices in traditional recipes not only imparts distinctive flavours but also connects individuals to their cultural roots and heritage.

  • Health Benefits:

Many Indian spices are known for their medicinal properties. Like turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Cumin aids in digestion, while cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar.

  • Aroma:

The aromatic nature of Indian spices makes meals more enjoyable, engaging your senses in every bite.

  • Balances taste:

Indian spaces balance the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) in every meal. Different spices contribute to achieving this balance, promoting harmony in the body and mind.

  • Preservation and seasoning:

Before the advent of refrigeration, spices helped in preserving food. Additionally, they serve as natural seasonings, reducing the need for excessive salt or artificial flavour enhancers.

  • Versatility:

The richness of Indian spices shines in vegetarian and vegan dishes along with meat-based dishes, offering diverse and satisfying options.

  • Social and culinary bonding:

The process of using Indian spices often involves techniques such as tempering, where whole spices are added to hot oil. This method not only releases flavours but also creates a distinct sound and aroma, signalling the beginning of a delicious meal. Such sensory experiences contribute to the social and culinary bonding associated with Indian cooking.

Now that we have gone through the importance of using spices in our everyday meals, lets see what all spices are essential in everyday cooking.

It is one of the most important spices used in Indian dishes, both in whole or ground forms. It gives the dishes an earthy and warm flavour.

  • Rai (mustard seeds):

Mustard seeds not only bring a distinctive flavour to dishes but also offer a delightful crunch when used whole. Their versatility makes them a crucial element in various regional cuisines throughout India. They are used in pickles, curries and many other dishes.

  • Dhania (coriander):

Ground coriander is a staple in curry powders, while the seeds are used whole in many dishes.

  • Haldi (Turmeric):

Adds a hint of bitterness and yellow colour to dishes. It is very beneficial for the body.

  • Elaichi (cardamom):

Aromatic and adds sweet floral flavour to a lot of Indian dishes.

  • Dalchini (Cinnamon):

Ground cinnamon is used in desserts, while cinnamon sticks are used in savoury dishes.

  • Laung (Clove):

Adds depth to both sweet and savoury dishes; often used in rice preparations.

  • Methi (Fenugreek):

Adds a bit of bitterness to curry preparations.

  • Hing (Asafoetida):

A pinch enhances the flavour of lentils and beans; used in minimal quantities.

  • Lal mirch (Red chilli powder):

Adds heat to various dishes; the level of spiciness varies based on the type of chilli.

  • Saunf (Fennel seeds):

Often chewed after meals as a breath freshener; used in spice blends and desserts.

Ground black pepper is a table staple, and whole peppercorns are used in various spice blends. Works well in soups and fusion Indian food as well.

  • Tej Patta (Bay Leaves):

Used in rice dishes, curries, and stews for aroma and earthy flavour.

  • Ajwain (carom seeds):

Popular in flatbreads (parathas) and lentil dishes, aid in digestion.

  • Kadi Patta (Curry Leaves):

Used in tempering for South Indian dishes, adding flavour to lentils and curries.

  • Kesar (Saffron):

The most expensive spice, adds colour and a distinct flavour to biryanis, desserts, and some beverages.

  • Amchur (Dried mango powder):

Adds a sour kick to dishes, especially in snacks, chaats, and marinades.

Each of these spices contributes to the complexity and diversity of Indian cuisine, offering a wide range of tastes and aromas. Experimenting with these spices will not only enhance your cooking but also introduce you to the rich tapestry of flavours that make Indian dishes so special.

Other using single spices, many blends of spices like garam masala, sabji masala etc are also available. These masalas enhance the taste of dishes and reduce the hassle of storing multiples spices in your kitchen. These spices and blends are available on Surya Masala website and provide great flavour to your dishes and make your cooking much easier and fun!

Having these essential spices in your kitchen will not only open up a world of culinary possibilities but also allow you to experiment with the rich and diverse flavours that Indian cuisine has to offer. So, spice up your cooking and savour the delightful tastes of India! Checkout Surya masale!

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