One of the things that people find intimidating about cooking Indian food is the vast array of spices used — both whole and ground, which are often combined into complex spice mixes. However, having taught classes on Indian food, I find that as soon as people are able to identify and understand the spices we use, then suddenly they find this cuisine is not as hard to make after all.
Here are the 11 spices I reach for most often when cooking Indian food and how I use them!
Using Indian Spices
Most spices, with some exceptions – notably, nutmeg – are dry-roasted to release their essential oils before being ground into spice mixes. While some spices can be blended using a mortar and pestle, I normally recommend the use of a spice grinder or powerful blender to make sure your mixes are finely ground, especially because some spices, like cassia bark, are very hard and tough to blend down to a fine powder.
Cardamom, Clove, Cassia bark, Black pepper, Cumin, Coriander, Nutmeg and mace, Mustard seeds, Fenugreek, Turmeric, Saffron