7 Indian Spices that are Indispensable for Indian Cooking

7 Indian Spices that are Indispensable for Indian Cooking

Indian foods are famous for their unique taste and distinctive flavor. They can be best described as hot and spicy. The cooking is a perfect blend of spices, herbs, and condiments. Speaking of spices, it is the story of every Indian household to have different jars for keeping them. So much so, that India is known as the land of spices.

Without these secret ingredients, it is impossible to imagine cooking the curries and stews. While some can be used in the form of powder, other spices can be used in the form of the paste only after blending it in a powerful mixer grinder. Let’s take a look at 7 spices that are an integral part of the best Indian food.



Cardamom - Indian Spices

Cardamom is an expensive spice that is used for cooking an exotic range of Indian dishes. Green and black cardamoms are indispensable for cooking biryani, basmati rice, various curries, and desserts.

The flavor of green cardamom is sweet and light while the taste of black cardamom is powerful and smoky. Besides Indian cooking, cardamom is extremely popular in Middle Eastern cuisines.



For adding a distinct flavor and tantalizing aroma to many Indian meat and rice dishes, cinnamon has no substitute. It is mainly used in preparing chicken curries, cakes, sweet dishes, and apple pies. However, it is always removed before serving.


Turmeric - Indian Spices

The yellow-colored spice is commonly used for enhancing the flavor of the Indian dishes. It is also used for marinating meat. It contains a medicinal compound called curcumin.

Since ancient times and centuries, it is being used in Indian cooking and considered the basic ingredient for cooking Indian food. A top Indian restaurant in Colorado Springs includes turmeric in their dishes for enhancing the taste and flavor.



An extraordinarily potent and unique spice from secrets of the Indian kitchen, nutmeg is loaded with essential nutrients and wellness properties. Right from savories to sweet dishes, nutmeg is an integral part of Indian cuisine.

If we trace back the history and evolution of nutmeg, then it shows that it was mainly used in Mughlai cuisines and Biryani preparations.



If you want to get that rich and spicy flavor in any preparation, then adding cloves is mandatory. In North Indian cuisine, cloves are extremely popular and used in every side dish for enhancing the flavor.


Cumin - Indian Spices

Cumin is the most ubiquitous of spices in the Indian spice category. It has an intense, warm and rich flavor and goes well with coriander. The spice tastes best when it is freshly minced in a mixer.

However, many people also prefer to use it in the form of a powder. In a top-notch Colorado Springs fine dining restaurant cumin is used in almost all the curries and stews.

Black Pepper

Black Pepper - Indian Spices

Black pepper is a popular Indian spice and is known for its nice aroma and distinct pungent flavor. It is used in both whole and powder forms for lending flavor to a dish. Besides, it contains piperine that works wonders for the body by providing vital vitamins, selenium, and beta-carotene.

Here was our list for the best 7 spices used in Indian cooking. Pick your favorite one and let us know whether you want to add more in the comments section.

15 Interesting Facts about Indian Spices

India is known as the Land of Spices. India produces almost all known types of spices. Check out these 15 cool facts about Indian Spices!

  1. Black Pepper was immensely valuable in the 4th century BC. It was known as ‘black gold’.

Black Pepper

2. It is believed that Vasco de Gama discovered India in 1492. He encountered pirates during spice importation from India to Portugal. This was the time when spices were more valuable than gold.

3. Over 5000 years ago, salt was produced in India. Once salt was paid as salary to Roman soldiers. This gave birth to term such as ‘worth his salt’.



4. Americans used to deal with Indian farmers directly for spices in the 18th century.

5. Are you a vitamin C deficient? Include Red Peppers in your diet. It contains a high amount of vitamin C, even more than lemon. It is also rich in antioxidants.

6. Turmeric is an important ingredient of Indian cuisine. Apart from steamed rice, almost all the Indian dishes contain turmeric. This humble spice is said to cure Alzheimer’s disease.



7. Fenugreek increases the lactation amount in nursing mothers. But it also changes urine and sweat smell making them smell like maple syrup!

8. Cardamom is another popular spice used in Indian cuisine. From biryani to chai, Indians love it in everything for its beautiful sweet smell and flavor. However, Scandinavians also love this spice in their mulled wine.



9. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Kashmir produces the highest amount of saffron. Its honey-like aroma makes it a popular ingredient of desserts and special Indian dishes like biryani. The depth of its color defines the purity of saffron.



10. Cinnamon is a popular ingredient in Indian and Western cuisines. Westerners love it for its woody aroma and include it in cakes and desserts. It has various health benefits, such as providing immunity against cancer and helping lower blood pressure. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala produce the highest amount of this spice.



11. Cumin is another famous Indian spice and belongs to the parsley family. The taste and aroma of cumin make it a popular ingredient of Indian cuisine.



12. Hing or Asafoetida is another popular Indian spice that also belongs to the parsley family. It grows in Punjab and Kashmir. Its anti-flatulence properties make it a popular ingredient of kachori and paratha.



13. Bengali cuisine is incomplete without Nigella seeds. Its medicinal properties make it an important part of dal and curries.


Nigella seeds

14. Coriander is a common Indian spice that too belongs to the parsley family. Its sweet, tangy taste enhances the flavor of a dish.



15. Nutmeg or Jaiphal is the seed of the Myristica fragrans tree. Both the seed and the seed-covering are used in several Indian cuisines. Its strong taste and aroma make it a popular ingredient of Indian sweets and the Mughlai dishes.

Indian cuisine is adored all over the world, the main reason being its unique taste and flavor owing to the spices used. Each dish owes its taste and flavor to the definitive spice used in making it. Relish these irresistible dishes and discover more about them!