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Cooking with Indian spices and Indian food in general, is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are tuning into the tantalizing tastes that come from well chosen Indian herbs and spices. Below is a little background on some common Indian spices that are regularly used in many an Indian dish. You will find partner and other resources to browse for more on Indian cooking, ingredients and food . Via our partners you are able to make your choice from a wide selection of Indian spices and herbs, in any quantity. Plus you have access to some great Indian menu ideas and advice on the properties and benefits of various spices.

Common Indian Spices

Here are some common Indian spices and some detail about he Hindi name for each of the spices is shown in parentheses. For a more extensive list of spices, please see  Glossary of Indian spices   below. You will also find below a little detail on  healthy spices- that can help prevent serious disorders such as cancers.  

Turmeric (Haldi)

A highly common spice, Turmeric has a vibrant yellow color and is the most important ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric is heavily used in Northern and Southern Indian cuisine. It adds to the dishes concerned both visually and in terms of taste. It is made from the roots of the Turmeric plant; a perennial plant of the ginger family. 

Coriander (Dhaniya) 

'Dhaniya’ ( Coriander in Indian and also known elsewhere as 'Cilantro') is like Turmeric available in powder form or as seeds. The seeds can be used with roasting or without. Coriander possesses a particularly sweet aroma. It's a spice that is liable to be found in all Indian kitchens worldwide. Coriander leaves are often used as a garnish and the oil for meat seasoning etc. Coriander is a herb well respected for it health benefits. These are numerous to say the least- but include cholesterol and blood sugar level control.The plant also has antibacterial properties - and can help fight the effects of Salmonella. A welcome ingredient in many a menu.

Cumin (Jeera)

Cumin, usually supplied as seeds or a powder, after the Cumin plants have been processed. The Cumin plants are tropical in nature and grow in countries such as Mexico, China and of course India. Cumin is utilized to improve flavors in curry powder, cheese and some breads- along with other foods. It is during/after the roasting process that the Cumin seeds acquire their strong smell and flavor. One of the most widely known curry spices, if not indeed of all Indian Ingredients.

Cardamom  (Elaichi)

Cardamom can be found being used in many a dish. Cardamom is the dried ripe fruit of the Cardamom plant.Black Cardamom is often used when preparing Curries,and a range of other common dishes. Cardamom oil is used in the preparation of many foods and also various Indian drinks. Grown mainly in southern India- although can also be found growing in many other counties to a lesser degree. It is used ground, and also whole.

Clove (Laung)

Cloves are dried out fully mature flower buds, that have yet to open. The buds grow on an evergreen tree, Syzygium Aromaticum. The buds are sun dried after they are picked. This changes them into a dark, brown color;at which point they are ready to use as a spice in cooking. 

Cloves are spices very commonly found in Indian cooking and create powerful flavors with the dish. Most frequently Cloves are used to give flavor to spicy food- they are used also to flavor various hot drinks. Cloves also have well documented medicinal properties-and can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Cloves can be used whole or in ground form.

Tamarind (Imli)

Seed pods from the Tamarind tree-. Tamarind has a distinctive sweet and sour flavor. You'll find Tamarind is one of the spices used in Chutneys' curry and other dishes. In seed,and paste and also block form. Powder from the kernel is used as a condiment in India. The Tamarind tree originally came from Madagascar. A very well known and highly versatile Indian spice.
Organic Indian spices

Spices and herbs from any plant grown organically, without the need for pesticides, fertilizers are liable to present a healthier alternative to the regular varieties. That said there is a strong market for both organic and non-organic variations.

(Until we are fully up and running 
you can find lots of useful information on Indian Menu ideas and order from a great range of spices here) : 

Glossary of Indian spices 

( The Hindi name for each spices is shown in parentheses)

Aniseed (Saunf)
Asafoetida (Heeng) - 
Strong , highly distinct spice. Smells of roasted garlic when cooked. Typically used in powered form. 
Basil (Tulsi)
Bay leaf (Tejpatta) - 
Gives off sweet, pleasant aroma. Found commonly in rice and curry dishes. Many health benefits.
Black Cumin seeds (Shah Jeera)
Earthy taste. Good source of fiber. High in anti-oxidants, minerals and healthy oils.
Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi) - 
Black Salt (Kala Namak)
Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)     
Cardamom (Elaichi)
Caraway seeds (Shah Jeera) - 
Aromatic spice- used in many a savory dish, with soups, meats, and breads. Roosted lightly just prior to use.
Carom seeds (Ajwain)
Cinnamon (Dalchini)
Chilli powder (lal mirch powder)
Coconut dry (Sukha nariyal)
Cocum (Bhirinda)
Clove (Laung)- 
Further to above- contains Eugenol, widely thought to help prevent a variety of cancers and other disorders. Full of nutrients
The Clove spice is extremely strong and therefore care must be taken not to use too much as it may smother  other flavors in the dish.
Coriander seeds (Dhania)
Cumin seeds (Jeera)-used to create an extensively used curry spice
Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasoori Methi)
Dry Ginger (Saunth)
Dry Mango powder Amchoor
Dried Pumpkin seeds (Magaz)
Fennel seeds (Saunf)
Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
Mace (Javitri)
Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
Onion seeds (Kalonji)
Pomegranate seeds (Anardana)
Poppy seeds (Khus Khus)
Salt (Namak)
Saffron (Kesar)
Sesame seeds (Til)
Thymol seeds (Ajwain)
Tamarind (Imli)
Turmeric (Haldi)
Vetiver (Kewra)
Vinegar (Sirka)

Note of course please- this is by no means a full list of Indian spices, more detail will be added over time
You can find lots of useful information on Indian menu ideas and order from a great range of spices here, until we are fully up and running .. 
Food Network
Here is another resource with a wide range of spices and herbs available in various quantities  
As somewhat of an aside, our website originally belonged to what is a very well established Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh USA. The restaurant concerned has very strong reviews and has a range of great menu choices.  So without wishing to over promote- if you are ever in that area of PA, stop by and try out what is clearly one of the more well known Indian restaurants Pittsburgh has to offer. Their website can be found by search for 'I love Indian Spices' on Google.

Healthy Spices

Many Indian spices have properties that are beneficial to our health. Of course these health benefits are not limited solely to Indian  spice varieties. The  proven health benefits that certain spices can bring are  in some cases highly extreme; this includes the prevention of cancers and related disorders.  Notable spices possessing these anti-cancer qualities include: Capsicum, Chilli Peppers, Oregano, Cloves, Basil, Anise, basil, Garlic, Mustard, Mint leaves, Fenugreek, Caraway Seeds, Rosemary, Limonin ( a lemon that is fresh), virgin Olives,  Avocado, and Vinegar contain cancer-fighting properties. The above list is by no means full and soon, in this section of our site we will list out more of the health benefits of various spices.

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