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6 Essential Indian Spices You Need to Know

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Indian Spices

Essential Indian Spices, One of the hallmarks of Indian cooking is of course the use of authentic Indian Spices which give the dishes such rich flavor However, if you are new to Indian style cooking then all of the huge array of all of the different Indian spices can be a little overwhelming.

You may also like: South Indian Dinner Recipes, Punjabi Vegetarian Dishes and South Indian Dishes

That is why we have put together a guide to all of the most commonly used spices to help you out.

6 Commonly Used Indian Spices

1. Black Cardamom

Black Cardamon is often referred to as ‘the Queen of Indian spices’. It has a strong and smoky scent and is used in a wide range of dishes including Dahls and Curries. It is also a key ingredient in the famous Garam Masala – a blend of hot spices used in some dishes.

Indian Spices - Black Cardamom
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2. Coriander

Coriander is probably familiar to most cooks even if they have never tried an Indian recipe. It is not considered exclusive to Indian spices and it is used in dishes all over the world. In India it is known as Dhaniya and is purchased as either whole seeds or powdered form.

Indian Spices - Coriander
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Coriander is perhaps more of a herb than a spice, but nevertheless, it adds a beautiful sweet aroma to food and is a staple ingredient in every Indian kitchen.

3. Cumin

Cumin is better known as Jeera in India and the seeds have a bitter but aromatic smell. It is widely used to flavor curries, breads, cakes and cheeses. It can also be used as a condiment. Roasting cumin seeds releases more of the flavor.

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4. Red Chilli Powder

The spicy kick in most Indian food comes from red chilli powder. This is among the most well known of all Indian spices.

Red Chilli Powder
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5. Tamarind

One of the most unique Indian Spices is Tamarind paste which is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree. It has a sour taste but is widely used to add flavor, especially in South Indian cookery.

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6. Turmeric

Turmeric is best recognized by its distinctive bright yellow color and it is a commonly used ingredient in both south and north Indian cuisine. The turmeric plant is native to India and it is closely related to ginger.

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Turmeric has a dual purpose when used in Indian cooking. It adds flavor, but it is also used to create color in the dish making it one of the most important Indian spices for cooks hoping to make authentic Kashmiri dishes.

This is by no means a fully comprehensive list of all of the different Indian spices that you will come across in learning to cook Indian food, but it will give you a good base for building up your spice rack as these are among the most commonly used.

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