India is famed for a plethora of things all over the globe and spices are one of those that sit on the loftier end of the list. However, it can be quite an overwhelming task to pick out spices from the ocean of exotic spices that flood the aisles of any Indian grocery store Cambridge, especially, if you are a beginner to the exotic cuisine. So, we have picked out 5 spices that are an absolute kitchen essential for cooking delectable Indian dishes at home.
The bright yellow color of the curries you relish at Indian delis is imparted due to the generous use of this spice. Turmeric is a powerhouse of a bioactive compound called curcumin which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric widely used in meat and fish dishes in India where they rub the spice on the meat as a marinade. This not only adds a beautiful flavor to the dish but also does a great job at keeping nasty germs at bay due to its strong antimicrobial properties.
Apart from using it as a spice in your cooking, turmeric is also a great beauty remedy which is being popularized by Priyanka Chopra in the west. She swears by her grandmom’s face mask recipe featuring the spice and gram flour to get a bright and radiant complexion.
Garam masala is a mix of ground spices which is known for its zesty flavor. Only a little teaspoon of this magical mix is enough to add a punch to any boring dish. The mix generally features 3 main spices that include cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Often times it is also elevated with other spices like cumin, mace, nutmeg and aniseed just to name a few. The garam masala is a must have in your kitchen and is a great way to add flavor to not only Indian curries but also your generic sauces and pies.
Carom seeds are a must have spice in every Indian kitchen and happens to be a spice which delivers flavors as well as medicinal benefits. The spice has quite punchy flavor which is what makes it an essential addition to tadkas. It is also a great home remedy for indigestion and acidity. So if you happen to cook something on the richer than usual, then, adding even a tiny teaspoon of this spice will ensure that you do not upset your stomach. You can also chew on the seed and drink a glass of water to relive heartburn in a jiffy.
How can we list must have Indian spices without the mention of red chilies! The invigorating heat that brings your taste buds to life after enjoying a vindaloo is all because of this spice. Any Indian dish is incomplete without a little smoky spiciness from dried red chilies. You can get the whole ones or get a pack of the crimson powder depending on your preference when you go shopping for Indian spices online .