7 Whole Spices That are Staples for Indian Cooking

Posted on July 4th, 2020 12:04 AM
Whole Spices

Indian culinary culture is the most versatile and rich in terms of flavors, spices and aroma. The country is invariably one of the spice capitals across the globe. Our traditions speak highly of the origins of our recipes. Every Indian household is accustomed to the usage of a spice box, a mix of all the essential spices that can work up magic on almost any Indian dish. Our mothers and their mothers have preached the importance of these elements with the highest of regards.

The know-hows of using Indian spices for flavoring food have been passed on to multiple generations. One should know that apart from having strong flavoring and aromatic properties, spices are also potent sources of vitamins, minerals and other health essentials. Here is a list of seven whole spices you need to add to your mystery spice box right now:

  • Whole coriander: Whole coriander seeds are given out by cilantro. The aroma rendered by coriander is citrusy with a hint of some leafy and woody notes. It is a core spice element in regions of Madras and Vindaloo, where it makes for a stellar combination with sour elements in dishes. It can be grinded before adding to a sauce or you can flavor your oil with them before adding other ingredients for frying.  It is very good for blood circulation in the body and has amazing cooling properties.
  • Whole cumin: Cumin is a magical spice! It is a staple in almost every Indian recipe. It is a killer ingredient or all tarka recipes. The most famous, Garam masala has significant portions of cumin in it. The seeds are small, crescent shaped and are mostly used in their whole form. The flavor is earthy and the aroma is powerful. These seeds are rich in manganese and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Fenugreek: It is a spice with a very toned down flavor. When tasted raw and individually, they don’t give much hint of the flavor that can be used for cooking. The seeds are bitter and have a tinge of maple. The seeds have a strong aroma and they become spicy when ground. Fenugreek is commonly added to pickles and chutneys for enhancing the flavors. These seeds are interestingly used to make tea as well. It has health benefits like boosting testosterone, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar and inflammation etc.
  • Fennel whole: Fennel seeds have a striking resemblance to black licorice. It is a tremendous flavoring ingredient for tarkas and many other Indian curries. These are also used as refreshment after meals. They have a very pleasant aroma and have culinary as well as medicinal uses. Fennel seeds can cure indigestion, are a good source of vitamin C, build bone strength and prevent cancer.
  • Ajwain: These seeds are also known as carom seeds. Ajwain is a mad spice! The flavor is very strong and hitting, it cannot be eaten alone or raw. These are technically dry fruits even though they look like seeds. Every seed has a significant thymol content, making the flavor similar to that of thyme, however it is much stronger than it. Ajwain is a great source of mono saturated fatty acids, it prevents pre-mature gray hair, it gives relief from acidity and gas, and treats asthma as well as chronic cough.
  • Rai: Famously known as mustard seeds, rai comes in different colors; yellow, black and brown. Regardless of the color, rai is a very essential component in Indian cooking. The aroma is faintly spicy and the flavor is nutty, adding a sharp edge to curries. Rai is great for maintaining cardio-vascular health, it gives relief from cough and cold, boosts hair growth, contains calcium, zinc and dietary fiber along with magnesium and iron.
  • Indian red chili: The quintessential Indian spice, without which a dish can just not be complete. It adds the fire and excitement that cannot go amiss. Red chili can differ in its intensity of fieriness as per where its grown. It is bright red in color and can render the same to food. It adds a very strong flavor to the dish. Red chili boosts the immune system effectively, reduces risk of mortality, is a natural pain relief remedy, clears up nasal congestion and is a good source of beta carotene.

Now that you know of all the quintessential Indian spice, you can prepare your own spice mystery box! It is important that you understand uses of spices before actually going to action mode. The flavors and aroma can be overpowering and therefore spices should be used judiciously. You can also note down the health benefits of each spice to motivate yourself further for their usage.


Your Shopping Cart

Your shopping cart is empty.