Exquisite aroma, sensuous texture, sublime taste and age-old medicinal value are the privileges spices bring to the table. Apart from being a part of every house-hold and restaurant kitchen, spices have been involved in the history of building and destroying empires; discovery and capturing of land and were also once compared to the worth of gold.
We use spices whenever we want to spice up the food, to make it more delicious and tasty; exotic and hot. In simple terms, it is used to create an enthralling and rejuvenating experience for the person who is eating the food. Spices can be used in different forms like whole, ground, roasted, fried, sautéed, topping and chopped. Spices with strong flavours are added at the first and lighter spices are added later.
Below are 7 most popular & exotic spices which are found in most of the lavishing restaurants kitchen's of India.
Black Pepper: Black pepper or king of spices is one of the most popular and widely used spices in the world. Apart from adding vigrous flavour and aroma to the food it is also an excellent source of manganese, iron and vitamin K. Tellicherry black pepper of Malabar Coast, Kerala is one of the renowned and finest peppercorns in the world. It is known for its refreshing fruitiness, subtle sweetness and tantalising aroma.
India is one of the largest producer and consumer of cumin in the world. Cumin is known for its radiant flavour and splendid aroma which is brought by the essential oil content in it. It is a significant source for iron and manganese and it enriches the digestion process. Gujarat and Rajasthan are the main producers of cumin in India. They are dried and uniformly elongated seeds which can be used as whole or ground form. It is extensively used in the preparation of curries, dals and rices.
Coriander seeds are spicy and nutty with subtle citrus flavour. It is adequately used in engineering of garam masala powder, sambhar powder and rasam powder. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are the largest producers of Coriander in India. These seeds provide sufficient amounts of dietary fiber, calcium and other minerals which stimulate the appetite and aids in proper digestion. Heating and roasting of these seeds enrich the aroma and flavour.
Mustard Seeds are seeds with modest size and round in shape; and are available as yellow, dark brown and black mustard seeds. It can be used as a whole along with cumin seeds and turmeric for adding rich and warm flavour in cooking oil for tempering the food or it can be used as cooking oil (mustard oil) for readying of dishes. It has large health benefits since it is rich in proteins and omega fatty acids as well as other minerals that assist in the digestion process. It is extensively used in the architecture of curries, vegetable dishes and pickles. It is also an ingredient of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.
Cardamom or queen of spices is one of the most expensive spices in the world and is predominantly cultivated in India in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is easily recognisable with its green colour, unique flavour and aroma. India is one of the largest producers of Cardamom. These spices are used in adding flavours to many dishes, curries as well as drinks. It is also used as a mouth freshener and in preparation of sweets.
Clove is dried flower buds used as whole in flavouring curries, dishes as well as hot beverages for creating a refreshing and aromatic experience.It is usually cultivated in Western Ghats of India since it requires cooler climate and well distributed rainfall.The chemical Eugenol is found abundant in oil extracted from clove. It is the essential component that creates substantial flavour and aroma. It has high medicinal value and can be used in many ayurvedic therapies.
Turmeric is a yellow colour spice with earthy aroma, slight bitter and hot flavour. It is one of the popular spices used in the India in nearly every vegetable or meat dishes. Some use it has an ingredient to provide yellow colour to the dishes. It is also used in bakery products, biscuits, sauces; and creation of rice and curries. India is the major producer and exporter of turmeric in India. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh account for the majority of the production. Apart from its uses in culinary field, it extensively used in the treatment of type of cancer and digestive problems. It is an artistry of the chef on how he uses the spices in permutation and combination to create a magical experience with the dishes. Whether he blends and mixes; few or all uniquely aromatic cardamom, radiant smoky cumin seeds, earthy and peppery flavour turmeric, brown robust mustard seeds and flowery dried clove to create an alluring and memorable episode for the customer.