Everyday Masala (spices) from Masala Box
Ajawain (Ajamo) – These are small seeds also known as carom or bishop weed seeds and looks like celery seeds but taste like a pungent version of thyme. They are used in chickpea flour recipes, savory biscuits, Indian breads, vegetables and legumes.
Red Chilies and Chili powder (Maracha and Marachu) – The dried whole chilies are used in many recipes to flavor the oil or clarified butter (ghee) by adding into Vaghar. The chili powder is used in almost all savory dishes. The varieties of chilies are almost like cayenne pepper, very hot.
Blend of Ground Coriander and Cumin (Dhana-Jeeru) – Coriander seeds look like white pepper and they highly aromatic. They are mostly used in ground form and it is the most used spice in Indian cooking. In Gujarat it is used along with ground cumin so the name Dhana-Jeeru, in all savory dishes. This blend is the basis of Garam (Hot) Masala (spice blend) and Curry powder. The coriander seeds as whole are used in very few recipes.
Cumin Seeds (Jeeru) – Lightly brown in color they are highly aromatic seeds; it is another important spice in Indian cooking. They are used in vegetables, dals, soups, breads and kathol recipes in seeds as well as ground form along with ground coriander. Ground cumin is also used in salads and lassi (chash).
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) – Fenugreek seeds are rectangular and brownish yellow in color; they have bitter taste and aroma. They are used in making Tuvoor Dal (split pigeon peas) soup and some vegetables. But the most important use of these seeds is in making Pickle Masala. For making pickle masala, the seeds are hulled and then used along with other spices.
Mustard Seeds (Rai) – The brown mustard seeds are used in Indian cooking to spice almost all main dishes. The hulled mustard seeds are used in making pickles.
Turmeric (Haldar) – The roots of ginger like plant are dried and ground into powder, which have intense yellow color. The yellow color in the curry powder is the result of turmeric. Turmeric is used in all savory dishes to give it a distinct color and aroma. During winter months pickle is made from fresh turmeric.
More Everyday Spices and Fresh Herbs
Asafetida (Hing) – It is a sap, which dries as a hard resin from a giant fennel like tree. It comes both in lump or ground form. Only ground form is used in almost all vegetables, dals and kathol recipes. It is used very little as it has a fetid aroma. It leaves behind garlic and onion like flavor after it is cooked, enhancing the flavor of any dish. It is also used for its digestive properties.
Cloves (Laving) – Cloves are used in flavoring the oil or Ghee for Dal, Kathi and rice dishes. It is also used in making Garam Masala.
Cardamom Pods and Seeds (Ilaichi) – Small green and white pods, hold clusters of very aromatic black seeds. The green pods are more flavorful than the white ones. The whole pods are used in rice dishes. The seeds are main flavor in blend of spices, Garam Masala and Chai (Tea) Masala, but the main use of these seeds are in all desserts and sweat meats.
Cinnamon (Taj) – It is used to flavor rice dishes. It is also used in making blend of spices, Garam Masala and Chai Masala.
Garam (Warm) Masala – Garam masala is a spice blend of warm spices, hence the name. In Gujarat it is also known as Dal-Shak no Masalo. Blend of spices differ from places to places as well as from household to households. But the main spices are ground cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper.
Fresh Green Chilies (Maracha) – Fresh finely chopped or crushed chilies are added in all savory dishes to give it hot taste.
Fresh Coriander or Cilantro (Dhana or Kothamir) – Cilantro is used as garnish as well as herb in making savory breads and dishes. It is also used in making salads and chutney.
Fresh Curry Leaves (Mitho Limado) – These highly aromatic leaves are used in flavoring oil and Ghee for some savory dishes.
Garlic (Lasan) – Garlic is sometimes used in making vegetables, legumes and savory breads for garlic taste instead of asafetida.
Fresh Ginger (Aadoo) – Fresh finely chopped or crushed ginger, is added in all savory dishes for intense taste and digestion.
Usually most households keep a week worth of minced green chilies, ginger and garlic in their refrigerator. Ginger-garlic paste is also common in most households.
© 2010 kyg