One of the best things that people from all around the world admire and also find intimidating at the same time about cooking Indian food is the vast array of all the aromatic spices that are extensively used — both as whole as well as ground, which when combined can turn into these complex spice mixes that adds extra zing to the dish, making it the perfect Indian delicacy. However, no amount of Indian food consumption can bring you to terms about all the benefits that are buried within these spices, making it not just a flavour-boosting condiment, but also an energy providing supplement to your every meal! In fact it cannot be denied that as soon as people identify and understand what these spices can do to a dish as well as your body, they suddenly master the technique to use it well with any and every dish!
Most spices, with some very rare exceptions – notably, the nutmeg – are actually dry-roasted to release their delicious essential oils before being fully ground into those highly sought-after spice mixes. While some spices can also be blended using a typical mortar and pestle, it is recommended to use a spice grinder or any powerful blender that can make sure your mixes are actually finely ground, especially because there are some spices, like the cassia bark, which are very hard and almost tough to properly blend down into a fine powdery state.
Here are some but essential spices that cannot be avoided while cooking Indian food and how they can be effectively used:
- Cumin Seeds
Roasting brings forth all the nutty, almost perfumed flavor of those rustic cumin seeds; which makes this a spice that is actually a very common ingredient in so many Indian curries and gravies.
Look for these green cardamom pods, they are oh so more aromatic than those that are bleached whitish to look like cardamom pods. Here’s a quick tip, if a recipe calls for the use of cardamom seeds, just go ahead and split open the pods to extract the seeds.This will add all the extra to the dish.
- Brown Mustard Seeds
Indians use these black or almost brown mustard seeds in each and every dish that is out there and Indian. There is also the yellow variety that is also a fine substitute.
- Ground Turmeric
Bright ground turmeric powder is generally derived from an essential root in the ginger family which adds so much color to almost every if not all the dishes that range from dals to rice. However you need to be careful, this spice is known to stain clothes easily.
Extracted from the famous rhizome of the Ferula plant, the asafetida is a spice that tends to add a distinctive almost garlicky, truffle-like flavor that gives a perfect kick to dals and other Indian lentil dishes.
- Dried Red Chiles
This is properly the most common Indian dried red chiles that specifically range from medium-hot to super hot in flavour. They are known to be milder when used as a whole. Dried chiles are generally used in a wide range of Indian recipes that range from dals to vegetable dishes.
- Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds have that distinct earthy and slightly bitter taste that's especially very well suited for any eggplant and potato recipe. Fenugreek is very medicinal and adds a rich strong punch to the dish.
- Coriander Seeds
It is recommended to ideally buy these aromatic coriander seeds rather than have pre-ground coriander that are purchased in the store: Grind the seeds at home for the best blend of flavour and aroma, then safely store the powder in a tightly sealed and closed container. Make sure to use it within a month.
You can also opt to buy whole spices and have them grinded as needed by using a spice grinder or a very powerful high-performance blender. The choice is entirely yours! You can procure both the whole spices or powdered spices online in the UK! Visit DesiCart.co.uk for some fresh Indian spices in both forms and every local produce that you might need in and around the UK that can be safely delivered at your doorstep!