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Complete Guide on Organic Spices and Masalas for Indian Cooking

Spices from India have been sought after for centuries. They are filled with rich flavors that can elevate practically any dish into something extraordinary. The flavors that distinguish the cuisines of many civilizations worldwide are based on spices, herbs, and essential oils.

Buy whole Indian spices and crush them yourself in an inexpensive coffee or spice grinder; however, a mortar and pestle also work well with herbs. Entire spices have a longer shelf life and keep their flavor better than unground ones.

It becomes even more affordable when purchased in quantity. Using ground spices speeds up preparation. You won’t have to worry too much about losing its flavor if you use it frequently and continuously replace it.

Different Ways to Cook with Spices

To give Indian food an authentic flavor, many spices are used in one Indian recipe. The flavor and taste of the cuisine are also impacted by the addition of these spices in what order. Therefore, the outcome depends on how these spices are prepared. The following is a list of some of the most well-known spice-based cooking methods utilized in Indian food.

  • Steaming-Dum (Dum Aloo)
  • Roasting-Tandoori (Tandoori Paneer)
  • Sauteing-Bhuna
  • Frying- Talna
  • Tempering-Tadka (Tadka vali Dal)

These methods are used to prepare various specialized dishes, adding multiple flavors.

Before Cooking, Gather the Seasonings

Before beginning to prepare Indian food, read the recipe once. So that you don’t have to simultaneously browse through several herb jars for instructions, collect all your spices in a small bowl. When preparing meals, prepping your ingredients ahead of time can save you time and worry. Additionally, it helps keep spices from burning.

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When do you use which spices?

  • Indian spices that intensify color include chili powder and turmeric.
  • Black pepper and chili powder are two heating spices.
  • Curry-thickening spices: cumin powder and coriander powder
  • Fennel seeds, cardamom, asafoetida, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, or mixed spices like garam masala, kitchen king masala, chat masala, and curry powder are the fourth groups of flavoring spices.
  • The five finishing spices are mustard seed, cumin seed, fenugreek seed, and dried fenugreek leaves.

Overview of Indian Spices

The spices used in Indian cuisine is not all included in this list.

Haldi (turmeric): Indian food needs turmeric to be flavorful. The aroma of turmeric is rich, earthy, and bittersweet. This spice provides the most health advantages compared to other herbs used in Indian cooking. It also has a lovely golden hue.

When seasoning and coloring food for a family of four, a teaspoon is frequently used; add a little black pepper to your dish for therapeutic purposes. Excellent anti-inflammatory properties belong to turmeric. However, the lack of black pepper lessens its potency.


Saffron is not frequently used as a spice in Indian cooking, but it is unquestionably required in several dishes. It can be messed up. It gives dishes like biryani and rice pudding a kick when added in the right amounts.

Pepper, Black (kalimirchi)

Black pepper is frequently forgotten when discussing other spices used in Indian food. However, Indian food cannot exist without black pepper. Because it is the only pepper believed to be indigenous to India, this spice initially gave Indian food its heat.

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Ground black peppercorns are used in some recipes, while whole black peppercorns are called for in others. You should buy the entire and grind it yourself, as advised.



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