Indian Spice Ingredients For Cooking - The Art Of Using Indian Spices.
Indians spice their dishes in layers harmoniously blending subtle spices with aromatic ones and layering it with herbs, ginger, garlic and lime juice or tamarind. For practical purposes cooking with Indian spices could be divided into 3 stages. The Dance of Spices In Indian Cooking Is The Following:
Part 1. BASIC OR ESSENTIAL INDIAN SPICES IN INDIAN COOKING
Part 2. AROMATIC INDIAN SPICES
Part 3 - HERBAL INFUSIONS,SWEETNERS MORE
HERBAL INFUSIONS IN INDIAN COOKING -
Fresh herbs like mint and cilantro and other ingredients like coconuts, green chillies, fresh ginger root and garlic are mixed together with water to make a herbal paste to make infusions to add to spices in Indian cooking. This infusion forms the soul of Indian cooking.
SWEETNERS USED IN INDIAN COOKING
Indians prefer to use jaggery or Gur in their cooking. It has a much more character than plain sugar. We love jaggery in vegetables like squash and zucchini and lentil dishes.
SOURING AGENTS USED IN INDIAN COOKING
Dried mango(amchoor), Tamarind (imli), tart Yogurt and Lime Juice is used to add a tart taste to Indian dishes
THICKENING AGENTS USED IN INDIAN CURRIES -
Indian curries are thick and this is achieved with chickpea flour, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion purees and nut pastes. These are traditionally used as thickening agents. They add body to Indian dishes.
SPECIAL INDIAN FLAVORS -
Saffron (kesar or zafran) to color and flavor rice and desserts, by soaking its threads in hot milk for about 15 minutes before using to bring out the color in fancy Mughal dishes, not usually in everyday cooking.
Black salt is used in pickles and Chat Masala (a northern Indian spice mix sprinkled over fresh fruit)
Fenugreek leaves are aromatic, tasty and are added to tomato dishes, curries and meat stews
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© Kavita Mehta
photo credit Kavita and Vinay Mehta