Indian foods or cuisines get its flavorful aroma from the usage of subtle and sophisticated herbs and spices. These herbs and spices characterize any Indian cuisine and play a very important role in Indian cooking. No Indian food is complete without the spices. Spices in India has a great role to play in adding flavor to the daily food. Some spices are used for making the food more flavorful, some spices are used for adding special aroma to the food whereas some spices are used for complementing other spices in the food.
In the ancient times, spices were regarded as precious as gold and such the variety of spices in India that traders from foreign countries used to sail to India for the trading of spices. India plays a very important role in the world market of spices. The spices in India are broadly categorized into three categories – basic, complementary and aromatic.
The basic spices are the ones that are used in most of our daily cooking. These spices are the basic stuff that you would need in your everyday cooking. The basic spices include jeera or cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black mustard seeds, turmeric, red chili in both powder and whole forms, Asafetida or hing etc. The complementary spices are the ones that are specially added to the Indian cooking to add some extra flavor to the food. These spices are used in combination of both basic and aromatic spices depending upon the dish that is being prepared. This category of spices includes fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, carom seeds and some others. The aromatic spices, as the name suggests, are the spices that add aroma to the food. The most commonly used aromatic spices are green & black cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, mace, white & black peppercorns, saffron and bay leaves.
Certain spices in India also bestow certain medicinal benefits as well. The most common spice, turmeric, is one among them. Turmeric is an antioxidant and is known to fight and manage cancer. Turmeric also helps in curing inflammation of body joints and also in detoxification of liver. Asafetida or hing is useful in treating asthma, coughs and bronchitis. It also helps in improving digestion along with giving flavor to the food. Ginger, a commonly used herb, is beneficial in relieving from cold & cough, joint pains and regulating blood pressure. Other spices like black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cardamoms, cinnamon, clove and saffron also fall under this category.
The spices in India is a vast area of exploration. Just one blog post is not enough to describe every intricate detail of the spices in India. However, one thing can be stated that if you want your food to be spicy, flavorful and aromatic Indian spices would be your first choice.
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