Being born in India, a land of rich culinary heritage, and aromatic and favourable spices intrinsic to our cultural traditions is undoubtedly a blessing. The history of Indian spices dates back thousands of years, with a legacy that extends to different regions, cultures, and traditions. Reminiscing on my childhood days, I can recall my grandmother highlighting the fact that Indian spices aren’t just culinary ingredients but have medicinal and cultural significance. For example, the medicinal value of turmeric includes liver detoxification, fighting allergies, enhancing digestion, and boosting immunity. At the same, according to Hinduism, turmeric is associated with “Uma’ the Goddess of fertility and prosperity; and is used in Hindu weddings for the ‘Haldi’ ceremony.
Known to be a kaleidoscope of flavours, colours, and aromas Indian spices can transform any dish into an unforgettable culinary experience. Starting from the fiery heat of red chilli powder to the warmth of cinnamon, the earthiness of cumin to the floral notes of cardamom, the tang of tamarind and the edginess of garam masala, Indian spices are sensory delights. Spices such as sambar masala for south Indian curries, aromatic biryani masala, favourable meat masala, and others play a crucial role in creating distinctive taste profiles that characterise Indian regional cuisines.
We grew up watching our grandmothers and mothers grinding every spice into powder at home and the flavour that those spices imparted is unmatchable. Sadly, in this fast-forward world, we constantly look for shortcuts, tested hacks to cook instant food. To ensure that people still get to enjoy authentic Indian spices without investing time and effort in making the blends at home, Surya Masale, a leading spice manufacturer in India, introduced an array of spice mixes or blended spices to help prepare any instant meal. These authentic spices are a kitchen must-have.
Although there are several blended spices in India, and the list could go on and on, I have jotted down a few popular ones that you should definitely have in your kitchen.
6 Popular Blended Spices
- Garam Masala: The term ‘garam’ means ‘hot’ and masala means ‘spice’; making garam masala a must-have blended spice. It comprises several spices that are essentially a part of traditional Indian spices including cumin powder, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander powder, and cardamom, each of which is known for its unique aroma, flavour, and taste and originates from different regions of the country. Garam masala can have a mix of three to twenty-five spice mixes. The aroma of garam masala differentiates it from other blended spices and is mostly used as a seasoning for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. Add it to fish, cheese, vegetables, etc. and make the perfect dish.
- Tandoori Masala: The term tandoori means ‘cooking food in a clay oven’ and spices. Vibrant red, this is one of the best-blended spices that have a mix of Kashmiri chilli powder in it. Popularly used in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, tandoori masala is used in different ways to add the perfect taste to Indian food. Tandoori masala adds a smoky, hot and spicy, as well as a sweet and tangy flavour to food. You can add tandoori masala to prepare cuisines like tandoori chicken masala, grilled fish, vegetables, and more to add extra hype to the food you’re preparing. Tandoori masala usually comprises spices like cumin, black peppercorns, ginger-garlic, nutmeg, cloves, Kashmiri chillies, turmeric, coriander, green cardamom, and cinnamon.
- Chat Masala: India is known for its scrumptious street food that is mostly hot, sweet, spicy, and tangy. Adding chat masala adds that instant tangy taste to food, the perfect seasoning just like pepper and salt. If you’re looking to make any bland food delicious, chat masala would do the trick. You can add it as seasoning if you are preparing any street food at home or you can use it to add an extra touch to spice up eggs, pickles, and any other snack item. You can also add chat masala to dips, curries, and soup. Chat masala usually is made of ingredients like cumin, ginger, black peppercorns, black salt, red chillies, dry mango powder, coriander, carom seeds powder, asafoetida, and dried mint.
- Curry Powder: Among all the blended spices, curry masala powder is the most essential one that although is not used as a seasoning but adds a touch of taste to any spicy food. Typically, curry powder is made of turmeric, cinnamon, green cardamom, black peppercorn, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, Kashmiri chillies, and curry leaves. This has a spicy, hot, and pungent taste that works perfectly with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. However, it is essential to know that curry powder is quite different from garam masala powder and adds different flavours to food.
- Biryani Masala: This blended spice is used in Indian cuisine to add rich and aromatic flavours to biryani, a popular rice dish. Biryani masala powder usually is a combination of whole and ground spices including cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise, mace, nutmeg, and others. The combination of these spices helps create a complex and blended flavour profile that adds richness to the biryani. Biryani masala usually has warm, aromatic, and slightly sweet notes that add a distinctive aroma which is the main characteristic of biryani.
- Meat Masala: A tantalising blend of aromatic spices, meat masala elevates the taste of meat dishes to new heights. Meat masala is usually a combination of coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and other spices that creates the perfect symphony of flavours. When the meat absorbs the intense blended spices, it creates a mouth-watering dish that is both robust and fragrant. Meat masalas add depth to every dish, be it succulent curries or tender kebabs.
Know about Origin and History of Meat Masala
If authentic Indian cuisine is your comfort food, you need to make sure that you have the right spices to create the perfect taste.
In case you are looking to purchase blended spices online or in any Indian spice store, Surya Masale is the answer to your search. Known to manufacture fresh, authentic, and rich spices, we have about 25 different blended spices for you to choose from. Browse through our selection of options and purchase the perfect blended masala for your kitchen and make your cuisines more scrumptious.