Every cook needs a well-stocked spice cabinet to bring out the best flavour in their dishes. The key to successful Indian dishes is using the right balance of spices. And, the most important step is to ‘blooming’ the spices.
Blooming means cooking the spices is some oil, ghee or butter to bring out the flavour of the spices. Cook the spices until they release their beautiful aroma and get toasty, without overly burning them.
Stock up on these essential spices and cook fragrant and delicious dishes with a lingering flavour:
5 Must-Have Spices
1. Black Peppercorns –
A staple Indian spice that every kitchen needs, whole black peppercorns come with a slight pungency that adds a distinct flavour to your dishes. You can use it in their whole form or grind it fresh and add them to your dishes for a fiery taste.
From curries to chutneys and pickles to salad, these pepper seeds can be added to all dishes for several health benefits. They stimulate digestion and are a natural remedy for cold and flu. Use this spice in your cooking to make any dish healthy and tasty.
2. Cumin -
An essential ingredient in Indian cooking, cumin adds a warm flavour and dimension to several dishes. Whole cumin seeds are often used in tadka and the roasted and ground cumin powder can also be added to gravies and curries to further enhance their taste.
One thing to keep in mind when using cumin seeds in tadka is not to burn them as it can taste bitter. Toast this spice until you see them sizzle and are able to smell a whiff of smoke and fragrance, about 30 seconds max and then add it to your dishes.
3. Turmeric powder
Cooking is simply incomplete without adding this vital spice powder that is well-known for its therapeutic benefits. Haldi or turmeric is the basic essence of Indian cooking that has a pungent, earthy fragrance.
It gives a beautiful and resilient colour to your dishes, whilst boosting their vitality. Add Haldi to any dish and enjoy its vast health benefits.
4. Coriander powder
Coriander is one of the oldest known spices and is characterized by its light green colour and gently corrugated structure. Ground coriander powder is used as a base for several spice mixes and can be added to curries and gravies to release a distinct flavour.
Like the leaves and seeds, coriander powder also comes with potent medicinal benefits and widely used in medicines. It is a cooling spice that is healthy for scorching summer heat and also helps to detoxify your body.
Another common spice that you should not miss is cloves. Cloves come with a strong flavour and needs to be used with caution as they tend to overpower when added in too many quantities. They are well-known for their health benefits and used in several medicines.
Cloves are best used in their whole form and can be popped into your food and drinks for an instant boost of taste. This spice comes with a unique whiff of sweetness, bitterness, astringency and pungency with the balance of almost all the tastes.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food! The way to make your food medicinal with therapeutic properties is by adding the above spices. Adding these distinct spices will not just boost the flavour of your food but also boost their nutrient profile.