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Spices, the essence to Indian food

It is difficult to imagine Indian food without the fragrance and flavours of spices. The tantalizing aromas, vibrant colours, and of course the spicy, sweet and tangy flavours make all dishes stand out.

Often home cooks, who love experimenting with different cuisines and recipes, strike off Indian dishes from their list because of the number of spices used as ingredients. Though it can be a daunting to keep track of all the goes in, the end result can be most satisfying.

The key to successful Indian dishes is using the right spices in accurate amounts. Spices sometimes come in the form of seeds, coarse or fine powder, which is either roasted and ground. 

While some curries require strong spices, for others minimal and mild condiments accentuate the dish. There are few spices like jeera (cumin seeds) or dhania (coriander seeds) which have an earthy texture that balance well with the use of onions and tomatoes or sometimes yogurt. 

To stock up the right spices, it is essential to know what they are regionally popular as. Here, we put together a list of most used spices and condiments that are used in Indian meals.

•          Tulsi – Basil

•          Tej Patta – Bay leaf

•          Kali Mirch – Black pepper

•          Hing – Asafoetida

•          Kala Namak – Black salt

•          Elaichi – Cardamom

•          Ajwain – Caram seeds or Celery seeds

•          Dalchini – Cinnamon

•          Laung – Cloves

•          Dhania – Coriander

•          Kadi Patta – Curry leaves

•          Jeera – Cumin seeds

•          Amchoor – Dry mango powder

•          Saunf – Fennel

•          Adrak Powder – Ginger powder

•          Amla Powder – Gooseberry grass

•          Lahsun Powder – Garlic powder

•          Javitri – Mace

•          Rai or Sarson – Mustard seeds

•          Pudhina – Mint

•          Haldi – Turmeric

•          Imli – Tamarind

•          Chakri Fool – Star Anise

•          Til – Sesame seeds

•          Gulkand – Rose petal conserve

•          Sendha Namak – Rock salt

•          Anar dana – Pomegranate seeds

•          Kesar – Saffron

•          Sukhi lal mirch – Dried red chilli

•          Chinni – Sugar

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