Spices

Learn about Spices used in Indian Vegetarian Cooking.




Garam Masala

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Garam Masala is a blend of several spices. Garam means hot and masala is mix of spices. This is a very aromatic spice mix which should be sparingly used. Garam Masala is very pungent but not as hot as chili powder. This is a popular spice mix In North Indian dishes. This is my Mom’s recipe.

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Turmeric (haldi)

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Turmeric is an ancient spice, a native of south east asia, commonly used in curries, dyes, and as a condiment. It is still used in rituals of the hindu religion. Turmeric is a mild digestive. An ointment base on the spice is used as an antiseptic. Turmeric water is an asian cosmetic applied to impart a golden glow to the complexion. Turmeric is splendid against skin diseases.

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Tamarind (imli)

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Tamarind’s acidic, juicy pulp is used to flavor a variety of foods. It is used as a souring agent in indian lentil dishes, curries and chutneys, where its flavor is more authentic than vinegar or lemon juice. Tamarind is considered a mild laxative and digestive.

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Saffron (kesar)

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Saffron offers the distinctive aroma and taste. Saffron is used in cooking as a seasoning and coloring agent. Saffron oil has therapeutic properties. In India, saffron is used in winter because it provides heat.

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Red Chili (lal mirch)

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Red chilies are used in indian cooking as one of the main spice. Red chilies are used whole, crushed or in powder form. Sun dried red chilies vary from red to blackish brown in color. Red chilies comes in many varieties some are hotter then other. The intense heat of the chili is concentrated in the seeds.

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Paprika (dagi mirch)

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In india, a similar powdered spice comes from a fruit locally called ‘deghi mirchi’ the seasoning is used in many cuisines to add colour and flavour to dishes.

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Mustard seed (rai)

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Dry mustard seed has no aroma but hot flavor is released when this mixes with water. It is often used in indian cooking specially for pickling.

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Mango Powder (amchoor)

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Mango powder is made from raw green mangoes that are cut, sun-dried, and pounded into powder. Mango powder is used much like lemon. But it gives food a tangy, sour taste without adding moisture. Its tart flavor is used as a souring agent in soups, dals, vegetable dishes and chutneys.

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Fennel seed (saunf)

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The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, it is commonly used to treat asthma, bronchitis, colic disease, food poisoning and motion sickness

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Fenugreek Dry Leaves (methi)

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Fenugreek is used both as an herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). The yellow colored fenugreek seed, commonly called methi, is frequently used in the preparation of pickles and curry powders. The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as greens. Fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor dishes. Fenugreek is mainly used as digestive aid. It is ideal for treating sinus, lung congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection.

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Ginger (adrak)

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Fresh ginger added to tea is believed to relive sore throats and head colds. Ginger is used in cooking, pickles and drinks. It is valuable for disorders of the digestive system.

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Cumin seed (jeera)

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This is my very essential herb for cooking. It is very aromatic, used in ayurvedic medicine in india. It is sad that cumin seed helps in headaches, nausea and liver problems.

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Corn Starch

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Cornstarch is often used as a binder. It can be used as a thickener in many recipes, can be replace with arrowroot.

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Coriander (dhania)

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Coriander seed is generally used coarsely ground or more finely powdered, depending on the texture desired. It is best bought whole as, being brittle, it is easy to mill or pound in a mortar. Ground coriander is apt to lose its flavor and aroma quickly. The most common use of coriander seed is in curry powders. Coriander is an ingredient of garam masala, pickling spices. Coriander seed oil is an aromatic stimulant, a carminative (remedial in flatulence), an appetizer and a digestive stimulating the stomach and intestines. It is generally beneficial to the nervous system.

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Cloves (long)

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India’s traditional ayurvedic healers have used cloves since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments. Cloves are said to have a positive effect on stomach ulcers, vomiting, flatulence, and to stimulate the digestive system. It has powerful local antiseptic and mild anesthetic actions.

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