When it comes to cooking Indian food, one of the main focuses you need to hone in on are the spices. These are essential for adding the flavour and giving it its own unique twang. Here we take a look at five popular Indian spices.
Cardamom is a very popular Indian spice and is made from the seeds of a host of plants. These come from Indonesia and India and are in the Amomum and Elettaria families. It is said that there are a host of health benefits to Cardamom which make it the perfect spice to cook with. This includes as an antioxidant and it is said it can help to lower blood pressure and protect you from diseases. It has also been used to help with digestive problems and treat bad breath. Cardamom is a fragrant and warm spice that often is described as a cross between mint, eucalyptus and pepper. It has sweet and citrusy notes.
Example Purple Poppadom Dish with cardamom: Nawabi Chicken
Ginger is one of the most popular spices out there and is favoured for the sweet yet tangy spice that makes it ideal for both desserts and savoury dishes such as curries. It grows as a flowering plant and is packed with antioxidants and healing properties. Ginger is also part of the Zingiberaceae family which includes the other spices cardamom and turmeric. Ginger is most often used in Indian cooking to make things such as pickles, curry pastes and chutneys and is used in the form of a paste, fresh or dried – the choice is down to the person who is cooking.
Example Purple Poppadom Dishes with Ginger: Malabar Fish Curry, Tiffin Seabass, Alleppey Prawn Curry, Pan Seared Scallops (Chef’s Taster Menu)
Mace is another popular Indian spice that is often used in cooking. It is made from the red outer layer that you can find on the seed of nutmeg and often comes in a dried form.
It is favoured for its delicate nutmeg flavour that isn’t overpowering and is used in things such as curries, soups, stews and other sauces.
Example Purple Poppadom Dish with Mace: Nawabi Chicken
If you cook Indian dishes regularly then you will be familiar with the popular spice Saffron. Saffron comes from the Crocus sativus flower and is known for its distinctive purple flowers and vivid red styles. Saffron can come as a powder or as dried threads and is known as being one of the most expensive spices in the world. This is because it is labour-intensive to harvest. In order to produce just one pound of saffron, you need to harvest at least 75,000 crocus blossoms of which each produces 3 strands. This means it takes a long time and requires a lot of plants to make.
Example Purple Poppadom Dish with Saffron: Lamb Rogan Josh
As well as being strong and fragrant in flavour, it is said that Tumeric has a host of active health benefits. Known for being one of the main ingredients in curries it is a very popular spice in Indian cooking and is widely available.
It is a species of ginger and comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant. There is evidence it is anti-inflammatory so good for your health. It is an earthy almost bitter flavour with a hint of pepper.
To find out more about how we use these spices enjoy them by dining at Purple Poppadom where your server will be delighted to tell you more about our dishes. Alternatively order a takeaway from our restaurant and enjoy at home!