Since early times, spices have been closely linked to magic, preservation, cultural traditions, medicine and embalming. During India’s external trade with Mesopotamia, Sumeria, China, Arabia and Egypt, spices were an important component along with textiles and perfumes. This was way back 7000 years ago. This was way before Romans and Greeks.
The clove was first mentioned in the Ramayana and some writings dating back to Roman Empire in 1st century AD.
There are a variety of spices that are found throughout India. As India has a lot of climatic regions, it produces a lot of spices. Many of these spices originated in the subcontinent itself and others have been imported and since then have been locally cultivated for ages. There have been many journeys done to Indian subcontinent in search of rich spices. It is believed that King Solomon sent his men to look for Indian spices.
Almost 2.5 million tonnes of spices are produced in Indian continent every year. Almost 200,000 tonnes of spices are exported from the continent every year. Out of about 500,000 tonnes of import that is done throughout the world, India share is 44 %.
Indian spices are well known for their preservative, medicinal and seasoning effects. Besides adding color, smell and taste, Indian spices take care of your health.
In this article, we have collected a list of Indian spices and their delicious recipes:-
In Indian cooking, two kinds of cardamom are there: green and black. Green cardamom is commonly found kind of spice. It is used in many things including spices, desserts and lassis. The flavor of cardamom is sweet and light. It has scent of eucalyptus. When you prepare spices like garam masala, you can make use of whole green cardamom. But if you are preparing sweets or desserts, you should open the pod and crush the black seeds inside it.
Black cardamom is very smoky and powerful. Caution should be guarded when using it.
Clove is commonly used spice of Indian cooking. Its fragrance is present in many Indian dishes. Clove consist of essential oils which give it a strong, medicinal flavor. Cloves are basically flowers. A lot of their oils is extracted before drying and cooking. Cloves can be used as a whole or mixed with spices.
Cassia bark is also known as Chinese cinnamon. It comes under the genus of cinnamon tree. Cinnamon differs from cassia and is also known as “true cinnamon.” The production of cassia is cheaper and a large portion of ground cinnamon is prepared from cassia bark. People prefer using cassia instead of cinnamon as it is mild in flavor.
Black pepper is a spice that is commonly found in India, specially in Malabar region and Western Ghats. This spice is very hard to grow. It takes many natural cycles like a good rainfall, that is why prices for fresh pepper keep on changing. Black pepper requires toasting before blending.
Cumin is used to make Indian dishes spicy and smoky. Its brown seeds have intense fragrance. It should not be confused with anise, caraway and fennel. You can differentiate it with its taste and colour.
One of the most popular spices is Coriander. Coriander is one of the oldest spices of the world. It can be identified by its golden yellow color and gentle ridged texture. The seeds of coriander have very nice fragrance with a touch of citrus. Many spice mixes use ground coriander.
Nutmeg and Mace
Nutmeg and mace are a favourite Indian spice and much used in Indian cooking. Nutmeg is covered with mace, which is dark-red in colour. Fresh nutmeg can be processed if you remove the pulpy outside and sliding the mace.
Mustard seeds, which are brown, black or yellow can be interchangeably used in Indian cooking. Mustard seeds are flavorful and are cooked and crushed. They have nutty and smoky flavor. The oil of mustard is commonly used in Northern parts of India.
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