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7 Important Spices of Indian Cuisine

Updated: May 10, 2020

India is a land of spices, right from early invasion people flocked to our country for spices. We have a varied spice which provides unique flavour and taste to the recipes to which it is added. Indian food is incomplete without spices, its a delicious mix for the senses: aroma, vibrant colours, spicy, sweet and tangy flavours.

Spices (Image: Wix)

In this blog post, I'll take you through 7 important spices that are used in Indian cooking as the key to successful dishes is cooking with the right spices. A most important step is tempering them in oil, butter or ghee as this brings out the flavour and enhances anything that you add to them. In South Asian Culture spices are used for health and medicinal purposes such as treating ailments, helps in digestion and to preserve food.

Coriander | Kothamalli | Dhaniya

Coriander leaves (Image: Wix)

The plant's seeds and leaves are used. Coriander powder is made from grounding coriander seeds. It imparts nutty and earthy flavour. Coriander leaves are used for chutneys and to garnish any curry, sambar or stirred veggies. Coriander is also believed to settle an upset stomach.

Coriander seeds (Image: Wix)

Turmeric | Manjal |Haldi

Turmeric is also known as the miracle spice, thanks to its medicinal properties. This vivid yellow spice gives Indian food its characteristic colour. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. No Indian food is complete without adding a dash of turmeric.

Turmeric root & Powder (Image: Wix)

Cumin | Seeragam | Jeera

No Indian food is complete without this strong, aromatic spice. It is used in tempering or as powdered form. It has smokey flavour and compliments with any other spices that are added. It is a rich source of Iron and recommended for lactating mothers.

Red Chilli | Milagai | Lal Mirchi

Red chillies / Peppers (Image: Wix)

Indian cuisine gets its spicy, hot reputation from this fiery red spice. Made from ground dried red chillies which rack up the heat in curries. Used in curries, sambars, for marinating meat, pickling, preserving food.

Whole Spice Mix | Garam Masala

Garam Masala (Image: Wix)

The term garam literally translates to hot and this spice just does that. This masala is basically a blend of spices, it is versatile as it differs regionally. It is a staple spice in Indian cooking.

Fenugreek Seeds | Vendhayam | Methi

Fenugreek Seeds (Image: Pixabay)

Used for both its leaves and seeds, fenugreek is a fragrant and unique spice.

It tastes bitter and used in garam masala and sambar powder. As they are strongly fragrant they should be used with caution. Like many Indian spices, this one is also loaded with many health benefits. It regulates blood sugar, increases milk production in nursing mothers.

Black Peppers | Milagu |Kaali Mirch

Peppercorns (Image: Pixabay)

Black pepper also is known as "King of Spices" or "Black Gold" is the go-to spice of Indian Non-Vegetarian cooking. No dish is complete without this spice. Pongal won't be Pongal without it. It reduces inflammation and helps in relieving cold, rich in Vitamins, Minerals & anti-oxidant.

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