India- a country of many shades is considered one of the unique countries in the world due to such diversities and “THE UNITY IN DIVERSITY.” Our diversity gives us a chance to explore different Indian flavours. Hey do you remember we got colonised? Obviously how can we even forget it! These Spices are sort-off involved in our colonisation. Britishers at that time got attracted by our Indian spices, tried to sneak in by starting the export and slowly colonised us. Spices commonly known as “Masala” in Indian households get all the credits of making us foodie as they find their place in almost every edible item from “Chips to gol-gappa” and “aloo chat” to ‘pav bhaji and curry.” These Spices not only make the food tastier and blow our taste buds but also carry medicinal benefits. Let’s have a look at the ‘Pied-Pipers” of tasteless food.
Asafoetida sounds heavy right? But this bulky name spice is our very own “Hing”, which is dried latex. It is widely known for its pungent odour (as the name suggests-fetid smell) and digestive properties. We people are so much in love with our food and spices that we even have spice based idioms. One such associated with hing is “Na Hing Lagi Na Fitakari aur Rang Bhi Chokha.” This idiom is used when you are rewarded heavily for a little effort. This spice is also known as Devils dung, food of gods, fum etc.it is typically used as a flavour enhancer and is a basic ingredient in the preparation of pickles. The spice is a native to deserts of Iran and is also cultivated in India. aren’t you happy to the richness we have?
Cinnamon-The Native of India. Cinnamon is commonly known as Dal-cheeni in Indian households. An ironical Hindi name it is, as it neither carries the taste and appearance of Dal (pulses) nor that of cheeni (sugar). Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of “Cinnamon Verum.” Cinnamon sticks are used in the preparation of Pulao, Biryani and is also used in various types of curries due to the sweet aroma and a delightful taste. It is also used in the preparation of chocolates especially in Mexico. The flavouring agent that can change the taste of alcohols must be a powerful one, agree with me?
8. GREEN CARDAMOM
It is my personal favourite, I find my tea incomplete without it really! Cardamom is obtained from Evergreen forests of India, commonly known as “Choti-Elaichi” in Indian households, which I guess is a commonly heard flavour in ice-creams and flavoured milks and is the only spice which is famous for deodorising property. It’s beautiful and tempting aroma makes it a multi-utility spice. It is added to the tea along with various food items and now it has found its way in Ayurveda also due to health benefits it offers. It can help in digestion and detoxification purposes along with giving a pleasing effect to your taste buds.
It is Pot-like fruit commonly known as “Imli” in Indian households. It is known for its Sour taste. It is almost the main ingredient of various Indian sauces which are served along North and South Indian cuisines. South Indian food like “Dosa” is often considered incomplete without this “khatti khattti imli chutney” Today India is considered a big daddy in the production of tamarind. It is available in fresh as well as dried form. The fruity pulp is edible in raw form but the outer green coverage is used in savoury dishes as a pickling agent. Along with having mouth-watering taste it also has medicinal benefits. In Southern Asia it is used as poultice which is applied on foreheads in severe headaches.
6. CUMIN SEEDS
From the identity of a traditional medicinal plant to an integral part of many cuisines across the world, is the popularity of cumin in the world. It is known as “Jeera” in India households and holds an irreplaceable position in Indian drinks along with the dishes. It is used in the preparation of Jeera rice, various types of curries, Jal-jeera (a digestive drink served in summers) etc. You must have heard a saying “unth ke muh me jeera.” An idiom, reflecting the influence of this spice on the minds of people.
5. CAROM SEEDS
Some people might not recognise the spice by the name of CAROM SEEDS. Carom seeds also known as Ajwain in India is one of the digestive spices that has the capability of changing the taste of any food item. Although it is slightly bitter and pungent but still, It is commonly used in the preparation of Indian all time snacks like samosa, pakora etc. Rajasthan is considered the largest producer of Ajwain (pale brown coloured pods resembling cumin), Wow! We have one more native plant that means.
Don’t think I have lost the plot guys, I’m still talking about Indian spices and there is nothing Greek in it except the name. Fenugreek is our very own “MEETHI SEEDS.” Which are used in preparation of pulses in common households and are also considered a medicinal boon. It is one of those spices that maintains the digestive health along with providing many health benefits to the consumer. India is one of the largest producers of this spice along with France, Spain, Morocco, and Turkey etc.
A HEALTH TIP- Regular consumption of this spice can help you in maintaining your weight and treating problems like PCOD at home.
The yellow coloured powder in your Kitchen’s spice box is the turmeric powder. It is available in both raw and grounded form and is considered one of the best natural food colouring agent with well-known benefits for skin and wounds. Turmeric is your pocket friendly doctor for liver disorders and forms a miraculous combination when added to milk. Turmeric also holds a mythological importance in marriage purposes too.
2. BLACK CARDAMOM
Time to welcome our “QUEEN OF SPICES.” Black cardamom called ‘Moti-elaichi’ in India holds a very position in Indian Cuisines due to its smoky flavour and pleasant fragrance. Unlike Green Cardamom it is suitable for meat and beef dishes and helps in the digestion of such food items whereas Green cardamom is widely used in the preparation of sweets as black cardamom’s strong flavour can supress the natural sweetness of various food items. Nepal followed by India and Bhutan are the World’s largest Black cardamom producers.
1. RED CHILLI
Here comes the most Dominant spice of all, the king of spices- Red chilli. The only spice which if consumed in excess quantities can cause various intestinal issues along with a burning sensation in urinary tract. Dried red chilli is on top of the list if we talk about the preparation of curries and there is hardly any Indian dish that lacks Red chilli powder in its preparation. Along with adding colour to the dish it just sets the food on fire (not literally). Another name for RED-CHILLI is Lal-Mirch and as they say red is the colour of LOVE along with colour of “DANGER.” This thing goes for you if you refrain from having spicy food. But there is an advice, try having it and set your taste buds on an adventure.
HAVE A TASTY DAY!