Indian Spices and Pantry Essentials
Indian Pantry Essentials
Indian cooking utilizes the spice drawer like no other style for distinctive flavors and aromas. The process begins with "blooming": Toast spices with a little fat in a skillet, releasing essential oils and magnifying flavor and aroma. While the method is simple, it delivers incredibly complex aromas and intense flavors that linger on the palate, turning humble and familiar veggies into exotic and unforgettable dishes.
Woodsy, earthy flavor. Often used in Indian cooking to balance the bright citrus notes of coriander or as a finishing spice in yogurt-based dishes like raita.
Distinct anise flavor. Used whole and ground but sparingly because of its intensity. Popular in northern Indian cuisine.
Root resin of the carrot-like plant asafetida (often sold powdered) is extremely pungent when raw. But heated in oil, it releases tantalizing allium aroma and flavor.
Lends distinctive yellow color to dishes. Added sparingly at the beginning of the cooking process to mellow its pungent, earthy astringency.
Black Mustard Seed
Nutty and pungent. Used for both flavor and texture. More popular in southern Indian dishes.
Chiles de Arbol
Bloomed in hot oil to toast and develop smokiness. Used whole or crumbled to release their seeds and full heat. Roughly as spicy as cayenne pepper.
Very strong flavored and intense; a little goes a long way. Warm, sweet, numbingly evergreen.
Sold fresh or frozen. Prized in south Indian cooking, they release citrusy, woodsy, sweet, and slightly bitter taste.
Citrusy and bright, with faint licorice taste. Used whole in rice dishes and ground in sauces. Often paired with cumin for flavor balance.
Floral and perfumy, with notes of eucalyptus and citrus. Used whole or ground in Indian cuisine for both savory and sweet dishes.