CURRY ESSENTIAL SPICES (Guest post for ‘THE SOCIETY’)

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Yes my friends, another post on Indian spices and this one is on curry essentials. However, this one is a special feature/ guest post for ‘The Society’, an online lifestyle magazine dedicated to young and modern South Asian generation. Founded by two lovely young ladies, Nisha and Pankita, the portal has a wonderful mix of traditional with modern. And as they rightly put it, there is something for everyone; from style spotting, beauty tips, recipe ideas, wedding inspiration, and more. You can check out my guest post here.

“Think of an Indian kitchen without spices. Yeah, the thought itself is inconceivable. They are the soul of Indian food. Spices are to Indians what cheese is to the French. Spices are not just an inextricable part of Indian food they are also a pertinent part of its history. We are what we are today because of the spices and how they changed the course of our history. Spices have been used in the Indian food for times unknown. One would be naïve to think of Indian spices as simply aromatics; they are packed with health benefits and even used in medicines for their therapeutic value.

There is a huge array of spices that line the shelf of an Indian kitchen. Spices can be used whole, ground, toasted or fried – depending on how much strength of flavor is required for a particular recipe. Each treatment lends a different tone and character to the spice. The spice can be the fruit, leaf, flower, bark, root or even resin of a plant. Spices are potent little bombs and need to be used judiciously.

There is a huge range of spices (black cardamoms to saffron) that are used in an Indian kitchen however I will walk you through Indian spices and spice blends that are a must for any Indian curry and also lentil soups & legume preparations; call them curry essentials if you may.

Cumin (Jeera) is the most commonly used amongst all spices. It has earthy flavors that are suited well for curries. The seeds can be added to the oil and fried in the beginning of making a curry or roasted & ground and added towards the end of a curry dish. It aids in digestion and interestingly this spice makes for a refreshing Indian cooler i.e. the Jal Jeera that can be served as an appetizer or digestive.