A- Z Blogging challenge and blogging the letter I. This will probably be my most colorful post ever since am blogging Indian Spices. My speciality since I spent half my life in India ‘The land of Color and Spice’. Indian cuisine is quite popular all over the globe and for those who attempt making it at home, you know you cannot make an authentic Indian dish without Indian spices. There are several, but am going to describe a few of the basic ones, explain their properties and some ways you can use them in your dishes. A lot of these have healing antioxidant properties.
Properties and common uses for Indian Spices:
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Curicumin Aka Turmeric : My favorite or all Indian spices and probably the one I use the most. Turmeric has been getting a lot of attention proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Use liberally in chili, curries and in soups. You can use it in egg salad, chicken salad and to flavor rice. I have a lemon, turmeric flavored rice and a lentil chili with spinach and curicumin which are infused with turmeric and taste delish!
Chili : Can add spice to your meals and a zest to your dishes. Chillies may also help in weight loss by speeding up the metabolism. After eating hot peppers you tend to perspire, this is a sign that your metabolism is increasing and that food calories will be burnt more efficiently. It is also said to be an anticoagulant and helps prevent the formation of blood clots which can cause heart attacks and strokes. This is hot stuff, so use sparingly in dishes where you want the ” hot” taste. I generally don’t use more than 1/2 to 1 tsp even in the spiciest Indian dishes. Chili is strong and even a little bit goes a long way. Use in Curries, Chili, and in sweet & sour dishes.
Cumin : Another favorite of mine I use this spice a lot. If you have a coffee mill, you can grind your own cumin powder using fresh seeds. It’s so fresh and the aroma of freshly ground cumin is exotic. An excellent source of iron, cumin seeds have traditionally been noted to be of benefit to the digestive system. Cumin seeds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties.This effect may be due to cumin’s potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is also said to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes. Use to flavor anything where you may use pepper. Use in omelette, veggies, salads, soups, meat dishes, curries, chili, dips etc. It has a nutty peppery flavor which add a punch to any dish.
Coriander Powder:The seeds are excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zincand magnesium. They have a high antioxidant score and unlike other dry spice seeds that lack vitamin C, coriander seeds contain ample amount of this anti-oxidant vitamin. Use in pickling, chutneys, stews, curries, marinades , soups, chili, meat dishes similar to Cumin.
Garam Masala : Literal translation from Hindi to English is ” hot spices’ . It is a combination of spices and is generally used at the end of cooking to add a subtle spicy flavor and aroma to a dish. Since it is a combination of most of the above spices the properties would be the same. I make my own garam masala and it’s so much fresher and gives me the flexibility of adding my own special spices to it. I have shared my recipe, but you can add and omit spices to customize. Hope you like it !
Spicy Spicy Spicy with a heady aroma
- 2 tbsp – coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp – cumin seeds
- 2 tbs – pepper corns
- 2 tbs – fennel seeds
- 2 inch stick cinnamon
- 2 tbs – cardamom seeds
- 2 long dry chili ( optional)
- 1 tbsp – cloves
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 1 long bayleaf
- Roast all ingredients for 2 minutes over the fire without oil.
- Blend all ingredients together in batches if required in a coffee mill or spice grinder till you get a smooth powder.You can also grind in a pestle as seen in the picture above. When I want my garam masala coarse I use the pestle method. You can make it the consistency you want.
- Store in an airtight containers and use 1/2 tsp at the end of cooking to and dish where you want a subtle spicy taste and aroma.
For more posts in my A- Z blogging challenge click here ! Check back tomorrow. I am blogging the letter J and have a juicy post Talking about the benefits of juicing !!!!