Spices in India

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 ā€“ 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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24 thoughts on “Spices in India”

  1. The one crucial element in Indian cuisine – Maharaja of spices is Turmeric for me!! A glass of warm milk with haldi and kaali mirch powder is my favorite!
    I know its not a common choice among others but i don’t know why but i like it a lot.!

    1. I agree with you about that Maharaja of spices Turmeric. I’ve seen people having milk with haldi but black pepper is something new to me. Interesting šŸ™‚

  2. That’s a great description of the spices there. While I cook little and into that phase of learning every day, I can relate to all the things you have written here. Thanks for this šŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for your kind words Ashwini. Am glad that you liked the post. I’m passionate about cooking and I thought this would be a good post in this genre.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Your comment means a lot. Am glad that my post could add some value to your knowledge and you got to know something new.

  3. Superb post and so true what you said there – the attitude of those cooking and serving are so important… Turmeric is my favorite when it comes to using spices for their medicinal properties.. and cumin is a close second.. packed with numerous benefits

    1. Thanks Sabeeka for stopping by my blog and your comment šŸ™‚
      Yes very true about the medicinal aspects of the spices – Turmeric leads the way!!
      Am glad that you liked the post šŸ™‚

  4. People don’t believe me but I eat even raw turmeric. Strangely I like it. And, again a wonderful post from you. Your posts are detailed & loaded with info!

    1. Thank you so much Disha for your kind words šŸ™‚
      I used to have raw turmeric too. Its not the raw turmeric powder, right?
      Try raw turmeric with little bit of honey… it tastes good and has good effect on health too šŸ™‚

  5. That is so true, one blog post is not enough to mention the aromatic and healthy spices of India. I loved reading your blog.

    1. Thank you so much Kavita for visiting my blog and your comment.
      Yes that’s why I did not want to make it lengthy by feeding all the information about spices in India. Will come up with different posts covering different aspects of spices… Stay tuned šŸ™‚

  6. Sham, I am nominating you for “The Mystery Blogger Award” under the category of Food & Cooking. Check out the below link for additional details. It was a pleasure to get to know you during MFA campaign!

    1. Thank you so much Keerthi for the gesture… That’s so sweet of you šŸ™‚
      It has been a pleasure me as well to connect with you and your blog through the MFA campaign šŸ™‚

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