Unleash the Flavours with Traditional Indian Spices
‘Live life with a little spice.’
Spices are the soul of Indian cooking and go a long way in making the cuisine a delightful blend of vibrant colours, tempting aromas, and divine flavours.
Spices or ‘masalas’ as we call them, are the little nuggets of goodness that enhance our food. No Indian dish is complete without the use of spices, and each spice gives a unique flavour and taste to the food. Among the vast variety, we use a few traditional spices on a daily basis in Indian kitchens. These spices do not only add to the flavour and taste of the dish but also have tremendous health benefits.
Here are 5 traditional Indian spices that should be a part of your kitchen staples
Cumin is also known as Jeera, and we use it both as seed and powder. It adds an intense smoky flavour to the food, and most Indian curries are full of the warm and earthy taste of this spice. ‘Jeera ka tadka’ in daal, is a favourite and most of our sabzis are first tempered with jeera in ghee/oil, before adding the other ingredients.
Adding cumin powder to lassi makes it irresistible. Moreover, an excellent digestive, cumin is also rich in iron and perfect for nursing moms.
Turmeric, also known as haldi, is the magical golden spice of Indian cooking. Its roots go back to ancient times, and it is known equally for enhancing our food and our health. The vibrant yellow colour of the spice gives many Indian dishes their tone.
Turmeric gives the food a sharp, peppery and distinctive flavour. Apart from adding flavour to our diet, turmeric contains the therapeutic bioactive compound curcumin which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, along with the other bioactive agents present in turmeric, has a positive effect on a multitude of enzymes in the body and helps promote wellness.
Popularly known as ‘dhaniya’ in Indian homes, we use it both in whole and ground forms. One of the oldest known spices in the world, coriander is golden-yellow and is nutty and fruity in taste. It forms the base for many spice blends like garam masala and is a commonly used ground spice in Indian kitchens.
Not only does coriander add flavour to our food, but it also has fantastic health benefits. It aids in digestion and also has cooling properties which settle an upset tummy.
Also called ‘whole spice mix’, it is a must-have in our kitchens. Many spices like coriander, cumin, black pepper, mace and more are roasted and ground together to make this spice. One of the favourite traditional Indian spice, it adds a mouth-watering aroma and flavour to our cuisine.
True to its name, ‘garam’ meaning ‘heat’, this masala’s has warming properties and heats the body.
Ginger, also known as ‘adrak’ is amazing, in both fresh and a dried powder form. It gives a sharp, peppery and delicious flavour to the food and has a special place in the heart of an Indian.
A cup of ginger tea, popularly known as ‘adrak wali chai’ can lift a person’s mood. Just like turmeric, ginger also has fantastic health benefits. Its anti-inflammatory properties go a long way in the management of diseases like osteoarthritis. It also helps in regulating sugar levels in the blood and is very beneficial to diabetic patients. Ginger's diaphoretic property makes one feel warm from within and helps in soothing cold and cough.
The above are but a few of the traditional Indian spices, there are many more. Each spice lends a unique flavour and taste to our food and helps in keeping us in good health.
Go on, get your star spice team together and unleash their heavenly flavours in your kitchen.