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Indian Spices

Indian Spices in food are used subtly and although Indian food is not bland, most Indian dishes are delicately spiced to enhance the flavor of the main cooking ingredient. Curry powder is the definition of fine spices roasted, combined and ground dry. Fresh ground spices are the order of the day in an Indian home and will be chosen according to the nature of the dish, season, and family.

The role of spices and herbs goes beyond just cooking.  Ancient Ayurvedic texts prescribe the herbs and spices for curative and therapeutic functions.  Ayurvedic scripts dating back to 3000 years, list the preventive and curative properties of various spices.

1. Curative Properties:  Most spices used in Indian cooking are very healthy, and make the digestion process much easier. The typical Indian cook has learnt to use this knowledge and weave them into everyday dishes. Ginger prevents dyspepsia, garlic reduces cholesterol and hypertension, and fenugreek is a good resistance builder. Pepper is often served as antihistamines, turmeric is used for stomach ulcers and for glow of the skin.
2. Preserving Foods: Spices have been used to make the food last longer in the days when refrigerators were not avaialable.
3. Aiding Digestion: In the Western part of the world, after dinner mints are usually given at a restaurant. Indian restaurants serve fragrant spices such as fennel, cardamom or cloves. Not only are they great mouth fresheners, but they aid digestion, prevent heartburn and curb nausea. Others such as asafetida and ginger root, have been known to counteract flatulence and colic, and are added to lentils, a must with every Indian meal.
4.  Balancing Tastes and Properties of Food: Each spice has a property-not just a taste property, but a warm or cooling property to it, along with many others. The cook generally understands these properties and cooking is elevated to yet another level by using this knowledge of spices into the cooking.

Masala is a word that is often used in an Indian kitchen. It means a 'blend of several spices.' Garam (hot) masala is the most important blend masala and an absolute essential to north Indian preparations, added just before serving the dish to enhance its flavor. The Garam masala is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. Masala may be in dry, roasted ground or paste form. Each State in India has its own particular blend, and furthermore, each family is partial to their own blend, as well as each cook is partial to his blend.
South India has a wonderful blend of 'wet spices' where the spices are ground with various combinations of spices, fresh herbs and nuts. Below are names of spice blends.

Indian Spices - Indian spice names and Indian spice descriptions are also mentioned

Fresh Herbs: Curry Leavesy , Ginger RootGarlic Cloves, Green Chilies

Single Spices: 
Baking Spice
Mace Powder or Javentri
Whole Nutmeg
Kasturi Methi or Fenugreek Leaves (Shambalileh).
Fried Onions
Panchpuran- Indian Five Spice Blend
Saffron Asafoetida or Hing (Vandevi)
Mustard seeds or Rai.
Black Pepper (Ground)
Cardamom Pods Green Whole
Red Chili Ground
Turmeric Ground or Haldi
Coriander Seed or Dhania
Coriander Ground
Cumin Seed or Indian Jeera
Cumin Ground
Fennel Seeds or Saunf
Fenugreek Seed
Amchur - Green Mango Powder ,
Poppy Seed or Khas Khas
Ajwain Seed, Bishops Weed, Carom
Black Salt - Rock Salt or Saindhav
Whole Round Chilies
Garam Masala (WholeSpices) Blend
Anardana / Pomegranate Seed
Curry Powder
Cinnamon (Malabar Cinnamon)
Ginger Ground
Black Cardamom
Black Pepper (Whole)
Sesame Seeds White
Kallonji Nigella Seeds
Sesame Seeds Natural
Coconut - Shreded and Unsweetened
Coriander-Cumin Blend
Garam Masala Powder
Cardamom Seeds
Green Cardamom Powder
Nutmeg Powder
Spice Box - Traditional Indian
Spice Box with 7 Spices - Traditional Indian Masala Dubba
Fennel Powder
Clove Powder. ,
Caraway Seeds or Shahi Jeera or Kala Jeera
Tamarind Paste - Tamarindo, Tamar Hind
Ghee - Clarified Butter 64oz
Ghee - Claified Butter Ghee - Clarified Butter
Jaggery - Dried Sugarcane Juice
Ghee - Clarified Butter
Ginger-Garlic Paste
Garlic Paste
Ginger Paste
Pinch of India
Coconut Milk
Coconut Cream Powder .

Granite (Stone) Mortar & Pestle 8 "- Best Seller , Mortar Pestle Granite 6 "

Indian Spice Blends or Spice Masalas

Saffron Biryani - Instant Rice Hot Dish
Aromatic Rice Pilaf with Pure Saffron
Dal or Lentil Spice Blend - perfect flavor for dal
Biryani Rice Meal Spice Blend - a restaurant spiced rice favorite
Malabar Coconut Spice Blend - for veggies, fish and chicken
Spicy Curry Blend for Veggies and Fish
Goan Vindaloo Spice Blend
Southern Spice Indian Blend - spice up veggies, rice
Roganjosh Meat Spice Blend
Indian Stir Fry Spice Blend
Vegetable (subzi) Spice Blend - flavor veggies and achieve a tastes of heaven
Channa /Garbanzo Beans Spice Blend
Korma Spice Blend .

Spice Expeditions came to the Indian Malabar coast throughout history. The Chinese, Greek, Roman traders landed in India in search of silk and spice. Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper were as prized as precious stones. The arrival of Vasco da Gama in 1498, established the Portuguese in control over the lucrative spice trade to Europe upsetting the Arab control. Today India produces 2.5 million tonnes of spices every year and exports about 200,000 tonnes out of the world total trade estimated at 450,000 tonnes.

Spices are important for medicinal, preservative, and seasoning foods.

Spices have medicinal value as they heal, soothe and rejuvenate us. Ayurveda, the indigenous system of Indian medicine, uses a large number of spices in its combination of preventive and curative medicines. Ancient Ayurvedic treatise lists numerous spices for their medicinal properties. Pepper for digestive ailments. turmeric paste for burns, itchy skin, Ginger for tested remedy for liver complaints, anaemia and rheumatism, cadamom for nausea, fever, headaches, or eye diseases, coriander for insomnia, cloves for spleen, kidney, and intestinal disorders.

Spices are important to make food tasty, aromatic and visually stunning. The art of cooking with spices results in artfully blending spices so that the flavors enhance eachother with no one spice over-powering the other. Spice are used to enhance taste while maintaining the true taste of the vegetable or meat.

A blend of spices/masalas and herbs are ground together to form the basis for Indian sauces. Wet masala is ground in a stone mortar along with water, nuts, coconut, onion or garlic. Chaunk or tadka is a spice garnish where Whole dried spices like kashmiri chillies, cumin and coriander seeds, karipatta are added one by one to hot oil until they begin to sputter or pop. This tempering is then poured over dals and raitas.

Spices add that extra zing that makes Indian food so popular the world over!


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Other Recipies  |   Food Guides & Tips  |   Cooking Ingredients  |   Spices  |   Benefits  |   How To Use  |   Pantry Shopping Ideas
Indian Spices And How They Are Used - A Primer
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Indian Spices: Cooking With Basic Spices

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