A list of the Evergreen Ingredients of Indian Food
Indian recipes often have a very long list of ingredients. As you scroll through the recipes one it is not hard not to notice that most of the ingredients used comprise of spices. The spices and herbs used in homemade food in India makes the dishes aromatic, tasty, and sometimes downright spicy. These herbs and spices are mixed according to the traditions of each region and in proportions chosen by each cook. There are many types of spice blends in India besides the popular garam masala and each has a unique flavor. Here you get a list of few:
- Asafoetida also known as hing, is a very popular spice in India. It is one of the most remarkable spices in the world. In fact, asafoetida is a dry resin that has a soft and pleasant taste, and powerful aroma which the reason why most recipes advise to use just a pinch of it. Apart from the aroma it lends to a dish asafoetida is used in Indian cooking since it aids digestion. It has a long shelf life, especially if it is purchased en bloc and grated a little every time it is needed.
- Saffron is a treasure plus a spice. For many years, saffron has been the most expensive spice in the world, a gold-worthy spice. Saffron is appreciated for its rich, smooth, and characteristic flavor, as well as for its intense yellow color. It lasts a long time, so you can buy it in quantity and get a better price.
- Cardamom is a spice native to India. It is a member of the ginger family and has a very peculiar flavor. It is better to buy it in the sheath. What are used are seeds, either whole or ground, toasted or not.
- Fresh coriander leaves are often used to decorate Indian home made food, but the seeds are more important. The coriander seeds are usually roasted and ground, but can also be used as a whole. The coriander seeds are added to many dishes. The ground cilantro that is normally found in the shops is acceptable, but not as fragrant.
- Like coriander, cumin is an important spice in Indian cuisine, usually roasted and ground. The available cumin powder in the stores is adequate but has such a weak taste. Cumin seeds powdered at home is more flavourful and aromatic. Once the whole seeds have been taken, they have been toasted, and have been ground just before using them, the first time, it is difficult to go back to the cumin which have been procured of the shelf from a grocery store.
- Garam masala is a very popular spice mix in India; many consider it to be the “real” blend that should be used for curry. The composition of garam masala may vary but will generally have dark cardamom, black pepper, clove, bay leaf, cinnamon; sometimes it has coriander, nutmeg, or mace seeds. Fennel has a distinctive anise flavor, and seeds, whole or ground, add that particular flavor to many dishes. It is better to buy whole fennel seeds than fennel powder. It also has many health benefits.
- Black pepper is quite common in pantries around the world, but is probably used more in India than anywhere else. The black peppercorns are crushed to a powder, more or less thick, with the mortar or with a spice grinder. In other cases, ground black pepper may be used.
All the above mentioned ingredients have their own Health benefits and they make the food extra tasty.