From Allspice to Turmeric - 19 Spices to Wow Your Cooking

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The Most Sought After Indian Cooking Ingredients

It is noted that Indian cuisine has always been the most delicious and diverse cuisines in the world. In fact, Indian meals are regarded for their intense spices that are rich in taste and aroma. This is because of the thousands of spice blends which Indians mix in their dishes, making spices the essence of each Indian dish.

An Indian cook is always rated and judged according to their skill in mixing the powders, seeds and pastes in order to achieve familiarity, pungency and exotic warmth that is definitely the Indian style of cooking.

Amongst thousands of spices, the most important amongst Indian cooks are the following:
o Black mustard seed
o Chili pepper
o Ginger
o Genugreek
o Coriander
o Hing
o Asafetida

When it comes to the most common main portions of such Indian cooking, this would include the following:
o Bean dishes
o Rice
o Atta – It is a special kind of whole wheat flour.

In cooking Indian cuisines, it not only requires less oil, it also needs little effort. These Indian spices are actually best utilized within three months from the date of purchase. This is since they can lose their bite and pungency after such time. Many Indian cooks suggest that it is better to buy the whole spices instead of the powdered types. This is because whole spices have the ability to maintain their freshness longer. Aside from this, you can guarantee of a better flavor.

Each region in India actually has its own food ingredients and signature spices. For those who love chili's but cannot seem to tolerate "maximum" heat, you can take out the white pit and seeds while using the chilies in these dishes. This will lessen its heat and pungency.

Most of these ingredients are actually available in groceries, supermarkets or stores. There are also special ingredients that can only be obtained from certain Indian stores. If you will use substitutes, this can change the dish's character. As a tip, it is better to take out the ingredient than to have a substitute for this. However, if it is not available as whole spices, you can also purchase it on ground form which is less pungent.

o Besan or Besan- This is dried chickpeas flour.
o Asafoetida or Hing – This is dried gum resin which comes from various East Indian and Iranian root plants. It possesses a fetid, strong odor. This is also a noted acquired taste.
o Cardamon or Elaichi – This is a plant's dried fruit. However, it is mostly the seeds that are being used. Its seeds that comprise of 4 pods can measure about ¼ teaspoon.
o Cumin or Jeera – This is very reminiscent and aromatic, either sold grounded or whole.
o Coriander or Dhania – This is an aromatic herb from the parsley family. It is either sold as Chinese parsley or Cilantro, dry powdered or as seeds.
o Dals or Dal – This is the Hindi name given to all the members of the pulse of legume family. The most commonly used would be the Channa, Arhar, Masur and Mung; along with Labia or black eyed peas and Rajma or red kidney beans.
o Fenugreek or Methi – This has a sweet odor and a bitter but pleasant flavor.
o Fennel Seed or Sauf – This has a licorice flavor and a pleasing odor. It is available either grounded or whole.
o Chat Masala – This is a variety of Garam Masala.
o Garam Masala – This is a combination of spices.
o Ghee – This is noted as fat for frying food. In fact, the so-called Pure Ghee is actually "clarified" butter.
o Mint or Pudina – This is an aromatic herb, where in, dried and fresh leaves are being utilized in the chutney preparation. Dried leaves are noted to be more fragrant as compared to the fresher ones.
o Mustard Oil or Larson – This is pungent oil derived from the black mustard seed.
o Pomegranate or Anar Dana – This is a type of flavoring agent.
o Turmeric or Haldi – This is a powdered, aromatic root. It is used fro flavoring, especially for curries.
o Saffron or Kesar – This is derived from the stigma of a flower that grows in Spaina and Kashmir. Aside from being aromatic, it also yields a yellow coloration.

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Source by David Urmann

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