Miraculous world of Indian spices


In my recent article about Indian cuisine I’ve already written about some facts about curry and other Indian spices. It’s quite true, that Hindus have a lot of spices, but some of those herbs and spices enjoy special popularity and make Indian cuisine unique and unforgettable. Spices can make even a usual dish exquisite. They are an inexhaustible source of vitamins and microelements. Besides, Indian spices are also used in medicine and cosmetology; they normalize digestion system, purge blood and improve memory.

Cardamom is a traditional ingredient of curry. You can buy it in a pod (it must be light green, dark-brown or beige and fuzzy) and grind seeds, but they lose aroma soon.

Asafetida has a specific smell, that’s why it’s used in small amount. Goes well together with chicken.

Chana dal looks like small yellow peas. It’s used as adhesion agent in Indian cuisine.

Chick-pea is hard goldish peas, that has a rich nut taste. It suits perfectly for curry and goulash. Dried chick-pea needs soaking for 6-7 hours (potted one doesn’t require prior soaking).

Cinnamon sticks are made from pressed rolled bark of an evergreen tree, growing in India. Cinnamon is a good flavor not only for pastry and desserts, but also for meat dishes.

Sesame seeds are small and pointed. They impart distinguishing sweet and hot taste relish to food and go well with other spices.

Fragrant cloves do the best for rice and sabja (basil seeds).

Black onion seeds look like onion seeds. They improve digestion.

Small brown fenugreek seeds are very often used in curry and different piquant mixtures.

Curry has various components depending on cook, region and traditions. Usually it consists of turmeric, pepper, sesame, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and chili powder. According to proportions curry can be very hot or a little spicy.

Black mustards seeds are smaller then usual mustard. The more you fry them, the hotter they are.

Garam masala is very popular in India. This flavor is highly fragrant. Garam masala consists of sesame, coriander, cardamom and black pepper. In contrast with curry powder this spice is to add when the dish is almost cooked or after cooking.

Cayenne pepper is very poignant. Use it in minimal amount.

Ghee is made by dint of heating butter until evaporation of all water, when refined butter sinks to bottom. The left grease can be heated to high temperatures without being burnt.

Ginger is one of the first Indian spices widespread in western lands. Its fragrance is a bit pungent, but freshening. Fresh ginger root should be smooth and plump. Don’t store it more than a month.

Tamarind is a pod flesh of a tropical tree, that we usually buy as paste or dry mixture. It has dewy sour taste and dark brown color. Tamarind is commonly get soaked in hot water before usage. Sourish water is used then for chutney, curry or other courses.

Fresh turmeric root looks like ginger root, but its pulp has a bright orange color. It maintains its color when grinded or dried. Turmeric imparts warm spicy relish to dishes.

Black salt is mined in India and it has almost violet color. It has a specific aroma of bad egg, in spite of this black salt is used as a laxative and digestive aid.

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