Being Indians, we just love spices and every Indian household stocks up on its Spices as much as it stocks up on it staple food. Every region in our country uses some special ingredient that gives that dish a unique flavour which distinguishes it from recipes of other regions. So let us talk about the many ingredients that can be easily found in any Indian Kitchen.
Asafoetida (Heeng): It is a resin with a very strong flavour used in Indian cooking mostly in Uttar Pradesh. Heeng is mostly used for tempering in Dals and in some curries as well.
Bay Leaves(Tejpatta): These are usually dried leaves from Sweet bay or laurel tree and are a staple around an Indian Kitchen. Bay leaves are used in preparation of almost all the curries due to its subtle flavour.
Black Cumin (Kala jeera): It is a smaller and a much darker version of Cumin which is used in a lot of exotic Indian cooking. It is said that Kala jeera imparts the flavour of Onions when cooked and hence they are used for tempering in most of the vegetarian cooking.
Black pepper (Kali mirch): It is fruit which is dried to be used as a spice. While powdered pepper is used for seasoning in soups, broths etc, whole peppercorns are used in Biriyani, pulaos, dals etc.
Caraway Seeds(Shahjeera): These look similar to cumin but have a different aroma. They are used as a spice on breads, soups etc.
Carom seeds(Ajwain): Used as a spice in very few dishes, however, its mostly used to improve digestion.
Cinnamon (Dalchini): These are made from bark of cinnamon tree. It is widely used as a part of Garam masala for flavouring our curries.
Cloves (Laung): These are dried flower buds and is a part of the famous Garam masala.
Coriander seeds (SukhaDhania): These are extracted from fruits of coriander plant and dried. They can be used in both whole and powdered form.
Cumin seeds (Jeera): These are seeds of cumin plants and are used for consumption after drying. Again, these could be used both in whole and powdered forms.
Fennel (Saunf): Commonly used as a mouth freshner, it is used in many Asian cuisines.
Fenugreek seeds (Methidana): They are seeds fenugreek plant and are used in curries and pickles.
Garam Masala: It is a blend of several spices and is used extensively in North Indian cooking. The components include black peppercorns, shahijeera, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, nutmeg, mace and Star anise.
Cardamom (Elaichi): It is an aromatic spice and is one of the major ingredients of Garam masala. Cardamoms are used in flavoring of desserts as well.