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Indian Spices

The flavour of India


The secret ingredient that makes Indian food truly Indian is the generous use of signature
spices. From ancient times of the maharajas, spices have added unforgettable flavours
and life to Indian cuisine. Its no wonder that many a nobleman has travelled the seven
seas to get a taste.
Do explore the variety of spices that makes Kitchen of India so very regal.

Asafoetida Cumin Seeds Mustard Seeds (Black)
Bay Leaf Dried Ginger Nigella Seeds
Cardamom Dried Mango Nutmeg
Carom Fennel Seeds Pepper (Black)
Chilli (Powdered/fresh/dried) Fenugreek Saffron
Cinnamon Garam Masala Sesame
Cloves Mace Star Anise
Coriander Seeds Mint Turmeric


Asafoetida


Indian Names :
Hing, Heeng, Kayam are the Indian names for Asafoetida.

Asafoetida is a hard resinous gumlike spice, which is grayish-white when fresh. It
gradually darkens with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is sold in blocks
or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder, which again is
sometimes crystalline or granulated. It has a very acute smell which evanesces with
cooking. It is a very common and vital ingredient in giving Indian recipes a unique
and authentic flavor.







Bay Leaf


Indian Names :
Tamal Patra are the Indian names for the bay leaf.
A basic curry enhancer, the bay leaf coalesce an extraordinary flavour to curries,
sauces and pickles. The usage of bay leaf is mainly restricted to the cookery of
various curries. B ay leaves are a spice used almost exclusively in the kitchens of
Northern India . Mughal cuisine had made extensive use of this spice.

Flavours
Has a Slightly bitter and strongly aromatic flavour.

Culinary Pertinence
Soups, sauces, stews and curries are the main users of bay leaf. It is also an
appropriate seasoning for fish, meat and poultry and is often included as a pickling
spice.







Cardamom


Indian Names :
Ellaichi, Yellakai, Ellakaya are the Indian names for cardamom

Cardamom is a very popular spice in the whole of India . It has a strong but very
pleasing flavor and is one of the spices used in garam masala. Cardamom is an
expensive spice used in curries, masala chai, certain vegetables and various Indian
desserts. Cardamom is one of the world's oldest spices and is native to India ,
originating in the forests of the Western Ghats in Southern India . Indian
cardamom comes in two main varieties: Malabar cardamom and Mysore
cardamom.

Flavours
Warm and eucalyptic, with lemony undertones. Black cardamom is blunt, and is
suggestive of a camphorous flavour.

Culinary Pertinence
Cardamom can be used whole or split when cooked in Indian substantial meals,
such as pulses. The seeds can be bruised and fried before adding main ingredients
to the pan, or also pounded with other spices as required. The pods are kept whole
until use. Cardamom is mostly added in Indian sweet dishes and beverages. High
pricing, makes it a 'festive' spice. It is also used sometimes in pickles and often
chewed freely as a natural mouth freshener.


Carom


Indian Names :
Ajowain or Ajwain is the Indian name for carom seeds.

A spice used mainly in North India for its strong and pleasing flavor. Used as a
digestive. It is suited to the delicate vegetarian fare found in the state of Gujarat .
The seeds are often chewed for the medicinal value it pertains; giving a hot and
bitter feeling that leaves the tongue numb for a while. Cooking ajowain mellows it
down. It has an aroma similar to cumin.

Flavours
Starts off with a harsh flavour with a mild and pleasant aftertaste.

Culinary Pertinence
Ajowain has a particular fondness to starchy foods like pastries and breads,
especially parathas. Snacks like Bombay mix and potato balls pack a punch from
ajowain. It is also good with green beans and root vegetables, lentil dishes and
recipes using chick pea flour. It is an occasional ingredient in curry powders.




Chilli (Powdered/fresh/dried)


Indian Names :
Lal mirch, Hari mirch, Mulagu, Marichiphala are the Indian names for the chilli

Chilli, is an Indian spice which is used mainly for its pungent and fiery taste. It is
added to bring in a hot flavour to curries and various other rice preparations like
curd or lemon rice. It is found in both the red and green varieties, each bringing out
a different taste.

Flavours
Has a distinctively pungent flavour.

Culinary Pertinence
Using chilly in cookery brings about a piping flavour to food. Though chilly is
from the same pedigree as that of pepper and capsicum, the acrid taste produced by
it gives a zestful feel to food.



Cinnamon


Indian Names :
Dalchini, Pattai, Patta are the Indian names for cinnamon.

The bark of the cinnamon tree, this spice is used throughout India for its sweet and
pleasing flavor. An essential ingredient in Garam masala, it is used to flavor
curries, masala tea, vegetables and Indian desserts. Cinnamon comes in strips of
bark, rolled one in another. Cinnamon is very similar to cassia, and the best
variants are pale and parchment like in appearance

Flavours
Sweet, fragrant and warm.

Culinary Pertinence
Cinnamon being a delicate spice is normally used more in dessert dishes. It is
commonly used in cakes and other baked goods, milk and rice puddings, and fruit
desserts, particularly apples and pears. It is used in curries and in garam masala,
creams and syrups.









Cloves


Indian Names :
Laung, Lavang, Girambu, Karayampu are the Indian names for clove.

Used throughout India , for the pleasant flavour it gives. Cloves are used to flavor
curries, masala chai, vegetables and also are an essential ingredient of garam
masala. They project a warm, pungent and aromatic sense.

Flavours
Cloves are sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic.

Culinary Pertinence
Cloves are strong, particularly when ground, so only a small quantity need be used.
Cloves are often used to enhance the flavour of meat. They are used in a number of
spice mixtures, curry powders, mulling spices and pickling spices. Rice is often
aromatized with the use of cloves.








Coriander Seeds


Indian Names :
Dhaniya, Malli are the Indian names for Coriander seeds and leaves

This spice is used for its freshness, cooling powers and soothing taste. The
coriander leaves have a distinctive fragrance, while the seeds are sweet and
aromatic.

Flavours
Mild and sweet, with a citric undertone.

Culinary Pertinence
Coriander seeds are heavily used in curry powders, often ground roughly to give a
crunchy texture. The seeds can be used in stews and soups, and blend well with
smoked meats. Coriander is an ingredient of garam masala and various pickling
spices. It enhances fish dishes and, with other spices, may form a delicious coating
for spiced fish or chicken.








Cumin Seeds


Indian Names :
Jeera, Jeeragam, Kala Jeera, Shah Jeera are the Indian names for Cumin seeds.
This is an essential Indian spice, used mainly in Northern India. Cumin seeds have
a strong yet pleasing taste and high digestive powers. This spice can be ground,
roasted or fried whole in oil, to give you different results. It has a bouquet which is
heavy and warm, and gives off a spice sweet aroma.

Flavours
Has a powerful, sharp and slightly bitter flavour.

Culinary Pertinence
Cumin is used mainly where highly spiced foods are preferred, and has a place of
prominence in Indian cookery. It is an ingredient of most curry powders and many
savoury spice mixtures. Cumin adds up excitement to plain rice and is also the
main ingredient in zeera pani, which is a delightfully refreshing Indian drink.







Dried Ginger


Indian Names :
Adrak, Sont, Injee are the Indian names for Dried Ginger.

Ginger comes in various forms, the most common of which are; whole raw roots,
or fresh ginger, Whole fresh roots that provide the freshest taste, Dried roots that
are available as whole, or sliced, Powdered ginge r made from dried root, stem
ginger which is extremely hot and spicy, and Crystallized ginger that is cooked in
sugar syrup. All forms of ginger are warm, sweet and pungent.

Flavours
Ginger brings forth a fiery and piquant flavour.

Culinary Pertinence
Fresh ginger is very essential to Indian cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys and
curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders.
Meat, fish, chicken, fruit sauces and green salads are also garnished with ginger.
Ginger also contains medicinal properties and is sometimes infused in hot
beverages like tea to give a strong and refreshing feel.





Dried Mango


Indian Names
Amchur is the Indian name for Dried mango powder.
Ripe mango slices are dried until they turn orange-brown in colour. Amchur
powder is finely ground, with a slightly fibrous texture. They have a sour-sweet,
warm and slightly resinous projection.
Flavours
Have a slightly sweet and acidic flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
The use of dried mango is confined mainly to Indian cuisine, where it is used as an
acid flavouring in curries, soups, chutneys, and also as a condiment. The dried
slices add pungency to curries and the powder acts as a souring agent similar to
tamarind. Chicken and fish are enhanced by amchur and so is machli kabab or
skewed fish.


Fennel Seeds


Indian Names
Saunf, Sombu are the Indian names for Fennel seeds.
Fennel seeds are used mainly in North India . It is used as a digestive, and for its
strong and pleasing flavour. Fennel seeds split into two, one sometimes remaining
on the stalk. They project a warm, sweet and aromatic essence.
Flavours
The flavour is reminiscent to a mild anise.
Culinary Pertinence
Fennel is traditionally considered to be one of the best herbs for sea food. It is also
used to flavour breads, cakes and other confectioneries. A few curry powder and
even some variety of liquor is flavoured with fennel.


Fenugreek


Indian Names
Methi, Vendhayam are the Indian names for Fenugreek seeds and leaves.
Fenugreek basically comes from the lentil family and is used all over India . It is u
sed for its bitter taste and wonderful medicinal properties and is considered to be
one of the most useful domestic medical herbs as well. They are available in
various forms like, whole and dried, or as a dull yellow powder, ground from the
roasted seeds. Fenugreek, gives off a penetrating and spicy aroma.
Flavours
Carries a powerful, aromatic and bittersweet, flavour, with a slightly bitter
aftertaste
Culinary Pertinence
The major use of fenugreek is in curry powders, it figures in many mixtures. It is
an ingredient in Panch phoron, which is a traditional Indian five-spice mixture.
Many chutneys and pickles incorporate it, to give a tangy aroma to vegetables. The
leaves, both fresh and dried, are also used in meat curries, dal, vegetable dishes and
chutneys. In India , the roasted ground seeds are infused to form a substitute for tea
or coffee.

Garam Masala


Indian Names
Garam masala, Masala is how the combination of hot spices is known in India.
Garam masala is a powdered blend of spices that includes cloves, cardamom,
cinnamon, black peppercorns, nutmeg, mace. The word 'garam' which is of Hindi
origin, carries the meaning 'hot', as these spices are said to increase body
temperature. Different regions through out India use different mixtures in various
proportions. Garam masala will also vary from household to household as it is
traditionally a homemade spice mixture.
Flavours
Garam masala combines all the flavours of its ingredients to add a totally different
taste to food.
Culinary Pertinence
Powdered garam masala is often added at the end of cooking, in small quantities.
Whole garam masala is used in north Indian cooking, especially meat dishes.
Garam masala is fried in hot oil before other wet ingredients such as meat; onions,
garlic, and/or ginger are added. Cooking with these spices release a wonderful
botanical odor and adds a twang to your cooking.


Mace


Indian Names
Javatri, Jaypatri, Jajipatra are the Indian names for the Mace.
Mace is used throughout India , for its warm and pleasing flavor. One of the spices
in Garam masala, best results is obtained by using the blades whole and removing
them after cooking. Mace is sold ground and sometimes still enclosing the nutmeg.
Though the aroma is quite similar to that of a nutmeg, it is of a stronger edge.
Flavours
Mace has flavour which is, warm, sharp, aromatic, intense and sweeter than
nutmeg.
Culinary Pertinence
Mace and nutmeg are very similar, though mace is more powerful. Mace has a
lighter colour and blends well with light-coloured dishes. Small amounts of mace
enhance many recipes, adding fragrance without imposing too much flavour. Mace
works especially well with milk dishes, and clear and creamed soups. Adding some
mace to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, conjures an interesting side dish.


Mint


Indian Names
Podina, Pudeena, Pudina are the Indian names for Mint.
The mint leaves are of several species, commonest in culinary use being spearmint.
Peppermint is normally grown for its oil. Spearmint and peppermint leaves are
deep green in colour and aromatic and fresh.

Flavours
Spearmint is generally a sweet, while peppermint has a stronger menthol taste.
Culinary Pertinence

Spearmint is preferred in cookery, and combines well with many vegetables such
as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and peas. Chopped mint leaves make green salads
and salad dressings refreshing and soothing. Peppermint is more commonly used in
desserts, adding fresh flavour to fruits, ices and sherbets. Fresh mint chutney is
served with birianis and other preparations.


Mustard Seeds (Black)


Indian Names
Banarsi rai, Rai, Kadugu are the Indian names for Mustard seeds.
Mustard seeds are used mainly in South and West India , instead or along with
cumin seeds. It is used for its strong but very pleasing flavour. It also acts as a
catalyst for digesting foods. The seed, by itself carries no aroma.
Flavours
Mustard has a very sharp and fiery flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
Mustard is mainly used as a pickling spice and a spice mixture, for cooking meats
and seafood. The seeds are fried in ghee or oil until the seed pops, producing a
milder nutty flavour that is useful as a garnish or seasoning for Indian dishes. It is
also pounded with other spices in the preparation of curry powders and pastes.


Nigella Seeds


Indian Names
Kala Zeera, Kalonji.
Nigella is a cooking spice that is used mainly in North India . It gives out a strong
yet pleasing tartness to the food. It also contains digestive abilities. Nigella is
sometimes referred to as onion seeds, although they are not really seeds from
onion. Nigella gives off an aroma reminiscent of oregano.
Flavours
Has a slightly bitter and peppery flavour with a crunchy texture.
Culinary Pertinence
Nigella is used in India as a spice and condiment and used in Indian cuisines, like
korma.. It is also added to vegetable and dhal dishes as well as in chutneys. The
seeds are sprinkled on to Indian breads like Naans, before they are baked. Nigella
is an ingredient of some garam masalas and is also one of the five spices in panch
phoran, the traditional home made spice mixture from Bengal .


Nutmeg


Indian Names
Jaiphal, Taiphal, Jathikka.
Nutmeg is used throughout India , for its warm and pleasing flavour. It is used to
flavour curries as well as deserts, and is sold whole or ground. The aril, from the
fruit of nutmeg is collected, dried and sold as mace. Nutmeg carries a sweet and
nutty aroma.
Flavours
Nutty, warm and slightly sweet flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
Nutmeg is usually associated with sweet and spicy dishes. It combines well with
many cheeses, and in soups it goes as a good combination with tomatoes. It
complements egg dishes and also vegetables like cabbage, spinach, beans and
onions.

Pepper (Black)


Indian Names
Kala Mirch, Kuru Mulagu.
Pepper comes from several species of a vinous plant and Black pepper is the dried,
unripe berry. Malabar and Tellicherry pepper are the top qualities of pepper
available. Pepper is aromatic and pungent.
Flavours
Carries a very pungent and fiery flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
Pepper is best when ground directly to food. Adding pepper towards the end of the
cooking process preserves its aroma. Black pepper would go well with most
curries, while its white pepper for sauces. Pepper goes extremely well with fried
meat dishes.


Saffron


Indian Names
Kesar, Zafran.
Saffron is very expensive as the harvest season is very short, and intensive labor is
required for harvest. The Saffron threads are soaked in hot milk for about 15
minutes before using, to bring out the color, especially in fancy Mughal dishes. It
has a bright orange - red colour and is strongly perfumed with an aroma of honey.
Flavours
Has a very pungent and bitter honey like flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
Saffron's most common function is to give rice, a yellowish tinge and is used
mainly in Indian festive cookery. It has a very delicate flavour, which combines
well with fish and seafood. Use of saffron was a main reason in bringing out the
exquisite taste in Mughal cuisine.


Sesame


Indian Names
Til, Gingily, Ellu, Yellu.
Sesame is one of the most important oil seeds and also one of the oldest. There are
very different kinds of sesame oil available. The seeds are sold dried and whole or
ground to form 'tahini' paste. Sesame seeds have an earthy feel about it.
Flavours
Has a very nutty flavour.
Culinary Pertinence
The commonest use of sesame is to be sprinkled over cakes and breads. Indian
festivals like 'Sankranti' are celebrated with multi-coloured sweet preparations like
tilguds made from sesame seeds and sugar and til-laddus made from sesame and
jaggery. Til-polis is offered for lunch during Indian festive occasions.


Star Anise


Indian Names
Badayan, Anasphal, Anisu.
Star Anise is used in various Indian recipes, and also is an ingredient in Garam
Masala and other curry powders, though this spice is a native of China . It is also
used as flavouring in alcoholic drinks, and in confectionery. Has a liqourice- like
smell
Flavours
Has a flavour which is harsher than that of anise.
Culinary Pertinence
Apart from its use in sweetmeats and confectionery, it contributes to meat and
poultry dishes, combining especially well with pork and duck. Star anise is nearly
always added to beef and chicken dishes while also flavouring egg preparations.


Turmeric


Indian Names
Haldi, Manjal.
Turmeric, being a very basic Indian spice, is used mainly for its medicinal
properties, and the lovely colour that it gives to the dishes. It projects an earthy and
slightly acrid feel.
Flavours
Is warm and aromatic with a bitter undertone.
Culinary Pertinence
This spice is a condiment as well as a culinary dye and is used to tint sweet dishes
and curries, providing a yellow colour.























Food Travelogue
In this section we take you on an informative journey down memory lane, taking a look
at India`s culinary heritage, tracing its history and legends. Traditional Indian cuisine is
rich and diverse in flavours, using distinct cooking methodologies and authentic utensils,
originating from a particular region in India.
Below is the map of India showcasing some of the significant regions. Clicking on any
one of these would open up the information pertaining to the history and culinary
tradition of that particular region. To go back to the map and view another region, simply
click on the `back` button at the bottom right corner of the map.
Have an enlightening tour





































The Bukhara cuisine truly captures the essence of North West frontier tradition, of
camaraderie around the warm glow of a campfire succulent tandoori fare, low on oil
and high on authenticity.
The food is cooked in clay ovens known as tandoors in the traditional style of the Indian
North West Frontier region. It takes a chef years of meticulous training and dedication to
master the art of making the breads that are so much vital part of the cuisine, or to acquire
the ability to gauge spices, mix marinades, and the most vital of all, to judge the heat of
the tandoor and the time necessary for each dish to be perfectly cooked.
The world renowned Dal Bukhara, whipped up by our Master Chefs, is cooked overnight
in the traditional Bukhara way on the tandoor, simmered all night and finished with
tomato, ginger and garlic.
A unique concept, the restaurant offers a sophisticated yet totally ethnic experience where
the kitchen is part of the restaurant. The decor comprises stonewalls and flooring, hung
with Bukhara carpets. The view of the kitchen with the busy chefs adds to the warmth of
the restaurant, inviting one to take time off to photograph the activity inside the kitchen.