Spice List Commonly used in Indian Cooking:
English Name- Indian Name
Asafoetida- Hing: This is a powdered gum resin from several Iranian and East Indian plans that is dried, it has a very unpleasant smell which is a acquired taste. But when used in dishes it resembles the taste of leeks, and is also used in pickling mediums and helps with the digestion of food. The plant looks very much like that of fennel.
Besan-Gram-Garbanzo: The flour made using dried chick peas. Gram flour is considered as a staple ingredient in India, Pakistan and Bangladeshi, used in several delicious dishes to make fritter and flat breads.
Cardamom- Elaiche: This is the dried fruit form a leafy plant which is of the same family of ginger. The seeds are cased in a triangular pod which is either green or brown in colour. This wonderful spice is native to India, Nepal and Bhutan with Guatemala being the biggest exporter followed by India. In my personal opinion this spice goes really well with white chocolate to make wonderful truffles.
Coriander-Dhania: It is in the same family as parsley, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. The seeds are also use in either whole or ground form. It has a great refreshing aroma when used fresh and adds great depth to any dish when using the seeds. One of my Favourite herbs to use in stir fries and in salsas.
Cumin-Jeera: This flowering plant comes from the East Mediterranean all the way to India, the cumin seeds are in fruit which is dried and then removed. This spice is used across a wide range of cuisine and can be used either whole or ground with a ver strong aromatic flavour. It can also be easily confused with caraway, but cumin is lighter in colour and is also larger in size.
Fennel Seed-Sauf: Mostly found on the shores of the Mediterranean, the plant has yellow flowers and it feathery in appearance. The flavour and smell of the fennel seed is that of Liquorice. It is available whole and ground.
MInt-Pudina: Grows in a big bush with bright green leaves which have serrated leaves with a very refreshing fragrance with can be used in salsa, teas and several dishes including desserts. It can be found all across the glide and it very easy to grow and maintain your self.
Saffron- Kesar: This thin thread is from a flower which grows in Spain as well as Kashmir, when blooming in warm water it yields a yellow orange colour which is a very soft aromatic flavouring. One of the most expensive spices you will get, so treat with care!
Turmeric-Haldi: Is made from a dried root, which is then ground and made into a fine powder which is bright orange in colour. The fresh root is very similar to that of fresh ginger. It is mostly used in curries in India as well as used to flavour other dishes. It is found in subtropical India subcontinents, and needs a constant of 20-30C and plenty of rain fall to thrive.
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I'm a chef at heart and by trade, enjoy what I do and have a passion for the culinary world.