Indian spices

Spices are the heart of Vedic cuisine. Not only that they make the taste, color and smell of the dishes, they  also have a healing effect. Each of these plant blades, which are used in the preparation of food, has a specific beneficial effect on the body, and their proper use is a true art. Indian spices can be in the form of seeds, powder, dried or fresh leaves, nuts or various liquids and flavorings. Each requires special treatment.

indian spices culture culinary

Indian spices give Indian cuisine it’s character

The golden rule in Indian cuisine is to include a plethora of spices, and maintain the balance between their different flavors.

Spices give Indian cuisine it’s character. However excessive use can be counter productive, and I have seen both Indians and Westerners forced to be wary of spices and oily fare, with good reasons. The good news is that there are several dishes that use the minimum of either, and the bad news is that they are seldom to be found in any Indian restaurant. I have tried to include as many of these “light” dishes as possible.

Most Indian dishes call for several different spices. Do not assume that they are difficult to obtain and that a visit the Indian grocery store with a long shopping list is mandatory before the actual task of preparing a meal. Most are to be found in Western supermarkets, and only a couple are confined to the Indian grocery stores.


The Indian curry is amazing in range and versatility, embracing the majority of seasonal vegetables in addition to mutton, chicken, fish, seafood and eggs. The curries are cooked over an open flame, with liberal doses of spices in vegetable oil. Traditional accompaniments are rice, either plain boiled or fried; and a variety of flat breads – chapattis, rotis and naans – made fresh from wheat or flour dough, and served hot.

To offset the richness of the traditional curry, a side plate of salad consisting of sliced tomatoes, cucumber, onions and lemons lends a pleasing contrast. Try a bite of fresh tomato after a mouthful of hot curry, and the reason will be obvious. “Dahi” or yogurt or curds also provide the perfect foil. Along with grated cucumber and onions, chili powder and cilantro/coriander, the mixture is known as a “raita” and is an indispensable part of the vegetarian meal.


One of the indian spices in the form of seeds, which resemble to cumin. The taste is similar to thyme mixed with oregano and pepper. It can be used for a variety of tomato sauces (eg pizza), and in India it used for root vegetables such as beetroot, potatoes and radishes. Ajwain attempt to dry fry and ground to a powder and add to Raito from beetroots. You will be surprised with the result.


One of the most well-known and specific eastern spices. They get it from resin of tree in family fennel. It is used for all sorts of savory dishes-vegetable sauces, salads, rice, soups, caterers and the like. Be very careful with dosing, because it gives excessive amount of bitter taste. Asefatida is known by its smell, like onions, it is also widely used as a substitute for onion and garlic.

indian spices market cusine culinary

The golden rule in Indian cuisine is to include a plethora of spices

Black salt

Its color is not really black but reddish-gray due to iron and various minerals. It is very healthy and has a specific flavor (some say that the hard-boiled eggs, so it can be used in various mayonnaise).


There are two types of cardamon, black and green. Green is used in various pastries, because it gives a refreshing taste similar to a blend of lemon and eucalyptus. It is used all over (for cooking in a variety of syrups) or minced. Both black and green cardamom can be used for a variety of savory dishes.


Chili is a known spice from the Middle and Far East. It is used as a promoter of digestion. There are various types of stinging, from mild to ‘volcanic’. By careful use of chilli, as well as with the use of salt and lemon, can be fortified foods. Cayenne pepper, which you will find in some recipes is nothing more than powdered chili.

Coriander seeds and leaves

Coriander is one of the most used plants in the world. In the kitchen is also used as the seed leaves. For the Vedic cooking coriander represents what we represent to the parsley and basil. It can be used in savory dishes all, the leaves were added at the end of cooking, the seed can be milled to a powder or to fry ghiju and added to the meat at the beginning or at the end of cooking.


This spice has expanded and it is known around the world in various variants. There are black cumin, Roman cumin or caraway used by housewives in the west (add it to bread and pastry-like). Usually used as an everyday spice and all kinds of vegetable dishes, rice and Dahl. It can be roasted in ghiju and placed in a dish.

Fennel seeds

As well as cumin spice improves digestion, seeds can fry in fat for savory or used as a flavoring various beverages, syrups, etc..

indian spices market cusine culinary

Indian spices also have a healing effect


Use of that spice is only recommended to those who have experience, because you can get inadvertently bitter taste, which is not at all suitable for body and health. We can cook it only until such time as the goods one darkens to reddish brown in color, but not to brown or black. It is used for savory dishes.


A well-known medicinal herb that is widely used as a spice that gives a special flavor similar to a blend of lemon and chilli. It is used for everyday savory dishes as well as sweet (for various compotes and drinks).


You’ll find it under the label “black onion seed ‘, even though this plant has nothing to do with onions. Thus, it is called only because the seeds apparently reminiscent of the onion. It is used in savory dishes, specially it is good for treats such as pakora and snacks.


There are many types of mint, of which the most famous peppermint. From it we make teas, smoothies can also be used for various sauces and vegetable dishes.

Mustard seeds

Small round seeds are available in different sizes and colors. The most commonly used black mustard, which is a mild hot and bitter, while the yellow more bitter. Like Fenugreek can be harmful in large quantities.


If you’ve ever seen a dish intense yellow note that this is because of turmeric. It is a well-known Indian spice, which is obtained by grinding the root of turmeric powder in (like ginger). It is known for its healing properties (purifies the blood, is good for the skin and prevents excessive secretion of mucus in the body). Read here more about turmeric.

turmeric powder

Turmeric is one of the well-known Indian spices


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