7 Wonders in Indian Spice Box
Also known as hing , asafoetida is the resin or powder obtained from the roots of a giant species of fennel plant.
It is local to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan however is developed in numerous different areas..
Used as a spice since the days of ancient Rome, it has long been popular in Indian medicine and cookery.
Uses: It is frequently added to dhal, possibly because of its alleged properties as an anti-flatulent, but it also enhances other flavours with its slightly bitter, slightly garlicky aroma.
Use only a pinch as it is strong and extremely pungent.
BLACK CARDAMOM (Baid Elaichi)
The Big Black cardamom pod, also known as badi elaichi, is used in savoury dishes.
This aromatic spice is from the ginger family and native to India.
The outer skin is hard and dark brown.
The crushed seeds are hot on the tongue, and have a peppery flavour with a slight lemony taste.
Uses: Both the skin and seeds are used in rice dishes, meat dishes and the creation of garam masala.
Because of its heat-giving properties, some cultures use it medicinally, extracting the aromatic flavour as a tea to clear chest clog.
GREEN CARDAMOM ( Elaichi )
Elaichi, or green cardamom pods, are native to India and are almost as highly prized as saffron.
The first reference to cardamom are found in Sumer, and in the Ayurvedic literature of India.
Uses: The pods can be used whole, or peeled to remove the seeds, in sweet or savoury dishes.
IIt is very aromatic and a pod or two is sufficient to give a rice dish an extraordinary aroma.
The pods are sometimes sugar-coated and sold as breath fresheners, and a concentrated essence and an oil are extracted.
Cardamom essence is used to flavour syrups for sweetmeats and drinks.
CAROM SEEDS (OVVA)
Carom seeds are also known as thymol or ajwain, or in marahi also called as ovva.
Visually they resemble parsley seeds and, being allied to the liquorice family, taste similar to dill.(lol dill means badi shep he erase kar ha bracket madhala)
They have a slight lemony taste and aroma.
Carom is not indigenous to India, but most carom is now cultivated in north India.
Uses: Carom seeds are commonly used in pickling spices, savoury batters and vegetarian dishes.
Medicinally, the infused seeds or ground carom are recommended for minor ailments ranging from indigestion to sore joints.
For the latter, the seeds are crushed into a paste with mustard oil.
Dhania seeds, also known as coriander seeds, are used in a wealth of savoury dishes.
The seeds can be planted directly in the soil as soon as all danger of frost has passed or they can be grown in a pot.
Uses: Dhania seeds are the foundation of garam masala.
This can be made using as few as five or as many as 15 different spices; but never without dhania.
Roasting or heating the seeds in a dry pan heightens the flavour and makes them crisp enough to grind to a powder.
The fenugreek (methi) plant comes from the east but is cultivated almost everywhere.
The dried herb is known as kasoori methi.
Uses: Both the leaves and seeds are used to make curries.
The seeds, which are small yellow rectangles, are added to the hot oil when braising meat or vegetables for a curry.
The flavour released is quite bitter, so use sparingly.
The seeds can also be toasted and ground to form part of a seafood masala.
Fenugreek tea is used as a detoxifying diuretic.
Part of the ginger spice family, galangal is a rhizome that resembles ginger root.
Though it looks like ginger, it is not used as a substitute.
Also known as China Root or India Root, galangal has a peppery taste and is used fresh or dried.
Uses: Originally from Southeast Asia, it is used in many Asian cultures in cuisine and medicinally.
It is used widely in Thai and Vietnamese food.
The tea of infused galangal is sometimes used as a remedy for nausea and sea sickness.
Mustard Seed (Mohari)
Mustard seeds come in black, brown and yellow and grow mainly in North America and Nepal.
Though brown is more widely used, black seeds have the strongest flavour. White seeds are
Uses: Mustard is one of the “five spices” considered essential to Indian cooking.
Mustard powder’s heat is activated by water whereas whole seeds are added to hot oil.
The seeds are also used in pickling vegetables.