Indian food means lots of spices. Varieties of spices are used in Indian cooking. Again the spices are used in different forms: whole, grounded, roasted etc. But I believe in minimalism. I use very less amount of spices in my cooking . Every vegetable or fish or meat has its own taste. Too much spices may spoil the real taste of the vegetables or fish or meat. Here is a list of 12 spices which I used to store in my kitchen for everyday cooking.
1. TURMERIC :
Turmeric is one of the main spices of Indian cooking. It's a bright yellow coloured powdered spice which is used in many Indian dishes. Turmeric is used to brig colour in the dishes and it is used in Indian cuisines since time immemorial. Fresh turmeric is quite orange in colour from inside with an aromatic and spicy fragrance. Fresh turmeric can be also used in cooking. But it is easy to use in dried powdered form.
Cumin is again an important spice of Indian cooking. Cumin can be used as a whole or in powdered form. Cumin gives an warm earthy flavour with aroma . Powdered cumin is generally used in meat and curries. Roasted and ground cumin powder gives a strong aroma.
3. CORIANDER :
The third important spice to store for everyday Indian cooking is coriander powder. Coriander seeds too have a warm earthy flavour unlike cumin. Coriander seeds can also be used as a whole or in powdered form.
4. RED CHILLI POWDER :
Red chilli powder is an integral part of Indian cuisine. Dry red chilies are grounded into power and used as a spice. It not only gives colour to the dish but also gives taste and aroma to the recipe.
5. BLACK PEPPER :
Black pepper is a classic staple of almost all the cuisines of the World. Pepper plant is a flowering vine in the family of piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit. The cooked and dried unrip fruit is called black pepper.
I generally used black pepper in soups and fish and meat recipes.
6. PANCH PHORON :
Panch phoron or five spices mixture. I used this spice mixture in many of my recipes. Panch phoron is used in many parts of India specially in Bengali and Assamese cuisines. Five spices are equally mixed together to make this spice recipe. Panch phoron we can buy it readymade from the market. But I like to prepare it at home. Because one that we buy from the market doesn't contain equal amount of every spices. I always notice more fenugreek seeds than other spices. So it's better to prepare at home and always keep it in an airtight container. To know how to make panch phoron at home click here .
7. GARAM MASALA :
Garam masala which literally means 'warm spices' is a blend of ground spices used in Indian cooking. More than ten spices are used to make garam masala. I generally used garam masala in making meat curries. One can make garam masala at home but I prefer to use the packet garam masala found in the market. It is good to add garam masala in any recipe five minutes before removing from heat to preserve the aroma of the spices.
8. FENUGREEK SEEDS :
Fenugreek seeds are used in cooking too. I often use fenugreek seeds in making lentil curries. Fenugreek seeds are good for diabetic patients due to its bitter taste.
9. BAY LEAVES :
Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf used in cooking. I brought fresh bay leaves from the local market and keep them for drying. After drying I store them in air tight container for later use. I use fresh or dry bay leaves in tea and curries to get their distinctive flavour and fragrance.
10. CINNAMON :
Cinnamon is used in cooking for its distinctive aroma and flavor. Cinnamon is used in many dishes, tea, curries, sweets and savoury etc. I generally used cinnamon sticks in meat curries, pulao and briyani recipes.
11. CARDAMOMS :
Unlike cinnamon cardamons are also used in cooking for its distinctive flavour and fragrance.
12. CLOVES :
Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree. It is used in cooking for its warm and aromatic flavour .