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Spices and herbs in indian cuisine

Spices and Herbs in Indian Cuisine

Spices are one of the most important ingredients of Indian food. Without them, Indian cooking would lose its uniqueness and be as ordinary as the others. Herbs and spices are also one of the reasons why Indian food is becoming increasingly adored by people all over the world.
One of the most famous Indian food, the curry, is one example of the ingenious blend of herbs and spices in India. Curry which derived from the word kari literally means vegetables drenched in spices. Curry became so attached with Indian cooking that in fact, made it a symbolism of Indian food in all parts of the world.
There are a myriad of spices and herbs that could be found in India, however, you need not know all of them. There are just some spices that you’ll utilize more often than others such as the turmeric, asafetida, tamarind, chilli pepper, black mustard seed, fenugreek, cumin, aniseed, ginger, star anise, coriander seeds and garlic. In sweet dishes, saffron, rose petal essence, cardamom and nutmeg are commonly used. These herbs and spices, as well as other things related with Indian spices would be enumerated below.
Bhuna — Bhuna is a method of cooking Indian spices, particularly gently stir-frying the spices in a substantial amount of hot oil. This process is used to release and preserve the flavors of the spices while removing the raw feel of them. 
Tadka — This is also a process of cooking spices which is similar to Bhuna. However, the difference is that Tadka is used for whole spices only.
Curry — This is an Indian food that is made of assorted spices mixed and cooked together.   The traditional Indian curry is made up of turmeric, fenugreek, red pepper, black pepper, as well as cloves, coriander and other spices.
Fenugreek seeds (methi) are brownish-yellow seeds with a strong odor and bitter taste that lingers on the tongue. It is widely used in South Indian cooking such as chutneys, pickles, batters and lentils, and essential in South Indian curry powder.  Fenugreek seeds and leaves are different and cannot be used interchangeably.
Tamarind — This is the fruit of tamarind tree. Tamarind is homemade into pulp or can be readily bought from groceries before it is used in cooking recipes. This spice is dark brown in color and sour in taste. Tamarind is ideal to be used in cooking chutney, vegetables, sauces, pulses and snacks.
Cumin (Jeera) — Cumin seeds are very frequently used in Indian cooking, particularly that of North Indian. Its taste is distinctive, slightly bitter yet gives a dish a sweet aroma. When roasted or cooked in hot oil, cumin seeds release a more intense flavor. It’s available in whole or in powdered form. Cumin is found to have digestive attributes and is used to flavor food such as vegetables and curry.
Star Anise — Star anise has the wonderful aroma of licorice and is perfect for flavoring biryani’s and other non-vegetarian Indian dishes. As its name suggests, this spice is star-shaped with each of its points containing a star anise seed. Ground star anise should be stored in an airtight container for no more than 3 months in a cool, dark place.
Garlic (lassan) — Sometimes minced or chopped garlic or garlic paste are used and sometimes an Indian recipe will call for whole garlic. Garlic pastes are easily available in Indian grocery stores or online.
Aniseed – It is an aromatic seed that is golden-brown in color. Aniseed is believed to have the property to stimulate the appetite and help in digestion.
Cardamom — Cardamom pods are not generally used but its brownish black seeds contained in the pods are used more often in Indian cooking instead, either whole or split.  Ground cardamom loses its aroma quickly so it’s advisable to grind it only when needed. Cardamom is a very versatile spice which can be used in sweet dishes as well as savory ones.
These are some of the things you need to know about Indian spices and herbs. Indian spices are not really hard to deal with and some are similar to what we use in other cuisine. It is just a matter of blending and cooking them in a right way.

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