The Role of Spices in Indian Cuisine
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range of Indian spices and seasonings in our online store. Also check our our whole
Garam masala blend and Panch Poran spice blend. We also have mango powder and
tamarind paste to add a sour taste to curries
Here are some
popular Indian spices - the soul of Indian cuisine. We have an extensive line of
spices in our store and we have listed descriptions of the spice and uses of the spice -
in many cases we have also included a recipe.
Spices in Indian
food are not heavy and although Indian food is not bland, most Indian dishes are
delicately spiced to enhance the flavor of the main cooking ingredient. Curry powder
sitting on the grocers shelf may be like saw dust when one compares it to the fine spices
roasted, combined and dry ground or wet ground in the traditional Indian traditions.
Fresh ground spices are the order of the day in an Indian home and will be
chosen according to the nature of the dish, season, individual and family.
The role of spices and herbs goes beyond just cooking. Ancient ayurvedic texts prescribe
the herbs and spices for curative and therapeutic functions. Ayurvedic scripts
dating back to 3000 years, list the preventive and curative properties of various spices.
1. Curative Properties: An Indian cook has learnt to use
this knowledge and weave them into everyday dishes. Ginger prevents dyspepsia,
garlic reduces cholesterol and hypertension and fenugreek is a good resistance builder and
with pepper often serve as antihistamines, turmeric is used for stomach ulcers and for
glow of the skin.
2. Preserving Foods: Spices have been used to make the food
last longer in the days when refrigeration was absent.
3. Aiding Digestion: India substitutes for the western after
dinner mint are fragrant spices such as fennel, cardamom or cloves. Effective mouth
fresheners, they aid digestion, prevent heartburn and curb nausea. Others such as
asafetida and ginger root, have been known to counteract flatulence and colic, and are
added to lentils, a must with every Indian meal.
4. Balancing Tastes and Properties of Food: Each spice
has a property not just a taste property but warm or cooling property to it. It also
has many other properties. The cook generally understands these properties and
cooking is elevated to yet another level by using this knowledge of spices into the
Masala is a word that is often used in an Indian kitchen. It literally means a
blend of several spices. Garam (hot) masala is the most important blend masala and an
absolute essential to north Indian preparations, added just before serving the dish to
enhance its flavor. The rational garam masala is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and
black pepper. Masala may be in dry, roasted ground or paste form. Each State in
India has its own blend and each family is partial to their own blend and each cook is
partial to his bend which may be many and which change daily.
South India has a wonderful blend of wet spices where the spices are ground with various
combinations of spices, fresh herbs and nuts.