Spices in India

Spices in India

The basics of Indian cuisine is its specific spices and their combinations in dishes.

The aroma of Indian spices is notorious enough, I will just add that it is worth visiting the regional fair, because they are usually solelling fresh spices, which aroma has surprised me many times, despite the culinary experience.

I cataloged the spices and herbs used in Indian cuisine, both those most commonly used in India as well as some less known.

The following table of spice names allows you to get a brief overview. The table includes the Latin, – to be sure what kind of plant we speak – English and Hindi names.

anis, aniseed, sweet cuminsaunfPimpinella anisum
star anischakra phool, badal phoolIllicium verum
asafoteida, devils dunghingFerula Asafoetida
chilli mirch lalCapsicum annuum
cinnamondalchini, darchiniCinnamomum verum
cassia, cinnamon cassiadalchini, darchiniCinnamomum cassia
charoli, chironjipriyal , chironji, charoli, char Buchanania lanzan
thai ginger, siamese ginger, greater galangalkulanjan Alpinia galanga
muskatnus, nutmeg jaiphal Myristica fragrans
mustard blacksoarson Brassica nigra
mustard red, m.brownrai, sarson Brassica juncea
clovelwang, laung Syzygium aromaticum
pomegranate seedsanardana Punica granatum
gingeradhua, sonth, adrak Zingiber officinale
black stone flowerpathar ka phool, dagad phool
Parmotrema perlatum
cambodge, brindleberry, malabar tamarindgoraka, kudampuli, garcinia gummi-gutta Garcinia cambogia
edible camphor, borneo camphorkachha karpoora, pacha k. Cinnamomum Camphora
black cardamom, brown c., greater c., nepali c.badi elaichi, moti elaichi, bara Amomum subulatum
green cardamom, true cardamomhariyo elaichi, chhoti elaichi, sukumel Elettaria cardamomum
curry livescurry patta, kadi patta Murraya koenigi
carom seeds, thyme, bishops weedajwanTrachyspermum ammi
kokumGarcinia indica
corianderdhonia Coriandrum sativum
coriander freshdhonia patta, cilantro Coriandrum sativum
dillsaua Anetheum sowa
fennel seedssaunf, sanchal Foeniculum vulgare
fenugreek seedsmethi Trigonella foenum-graecum
fenugreek dry liveskasoori methi Trigonella foenum-graecum
fenugreek freshmethi patta Trigonella foenum-graecum
black kumin, black seed, black caraway
kalonji Nigella sativa
shah kumin, black kumin, black seed, black carawayshahi jeera Bunium bulbocastanum
kumin, white kuminjeera, zira Cuminum cyminum
turmerichaldiCurcuma longa
bay leaf, malabar leaf tej patta Cinnamomum tamala
red aril, macejavitriMyristica fragrans
poppy seedskhakhas Papaver somniferum
mango powderaamchur Mangiphera indica
mintpudinaMentha piperita
black pepperkali mirch Piper nigrum, P. officinarum
long pepperpipli, pipali Piper longum
sichuan pepper, nepali pepper, china peppertirphul, teppal Zanthoxylum rhetsa
radhuniajmoda, ajmod Apium graveolens
sesame seedtil Sesamum indicum
saphronkesar Crocus sativus
false saphron, safflowerkusum Carthamus tinctorius
tamarindimali, imli Tamarindus indica


It is an annual plant from the celery family, giving the gray-brown fruits of an oval shape, about half cm long, crowned with an oblong stalk.

Anise has a sweet and very aromatic, characteristic aroma.

Seeds, whole or ground, are used to prepare teas and drinks.

In India, anise is served after eating to refresh.

It is cultivated mainly in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Star anis

Star anise fruit is dried in the sun to a gray-brown color.
Taste and smell of this spice is reminiscent of anise or licorice.

Used as an exotic spice in Indian and Chinese cuisine. His strong. the enchanting aroma blends well with chicken, biryani (Indian rice dish), seafood and many vegetable dishes.

It comes from South-East China. Growing Illicium verum requires specific climatic conditions, the same as in the region of origin of the plant, and the plant prefers sunny slopes and in partial shade in regions with a lot of forests.


This spice is a dried oily resin obtained from the rhizomes of several species of ryegrass.

Widely used in Asian cuisine, the food used actually gives the dish a pleasant aroma resembling a combination of garlic and leek. Available in powder or natural form. The latter requires further processing for fragmentation – especially that its taste and aroma in its concentrated form is very intense, even unpleasant, which justifies its usual name ‘Devils dung – Satan’s dung’.

This resin comes from the desert regions of Iran and the mountains of Afghanistan.


There are at least 20 chili varieties in India. Most varieties include Capsicum annuum or Capsicum frutescens.

Originally from Chile, Chilli came to India only in the fifteenth century brought by the Portuguese. Nowadays, India is the largest consumer of chilli and the second largest producer after China.


The spice popular from around the world is obtained from the bark of a tree – the species of cinnamon tree determines the type of spice obtained. Two types are most popular – Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon

It is the most valued and the most expensive cinnamon variety. It is characterized by a sweet, subtle taste. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are reminiscent of rolled parchment scrolls, they are soft and can be easily ground. Color – light brown, almost yellowish.

Cultivated in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Seychelles, as well as – in small quantities – in the South Indian state of Kerala. This species comes from the hills in the central part of the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Cinnamon cassia (pictured next)

Is harder and darker, more spicy and slightly tart in taste, and moreover more easily available. Originally in Indian cuisine – mainly in the popular Garam Masala mix – Cassia cinnamon is used. Cultivated in many regions of Asia, mainly in China – where it comes from – and Indonesia.

Black cumin

A small plant with white and blue flowers, issuing black, triangular seeds.

Black-cumin flavored slightly resembles a combination of onion, oregano and black pepper. I recommend to try this spice before buying – the seeds should have been full, aromatic, though slightly bitter in taste – while the poor quality of the kalonji/ nigella will be small, dry and spicy.

Black cumin seeds are widely used as a spice in India, Nepal and the countries of the Middle East. It is one of five ingredients of the popular Bengali spice called ‘panch phron’.

Roasted seeds are used for seasoning curry and vegetables. In recipes using only poultry, fruits, vegetables and salads, it can be used instead of black pepper.

It comes from the regions of Iraq and Turkey, currently grown in many regions of the world.


The stone fruit can be black, gray, cream. Usually an oval shape, about 1 cm in diameter, hard. In the middle is a soft stone with a taste similar to almond, slightly sour.

The seeds should be immediately roasted and stored in this form for no longer than 6 months in a closed container. Stored open quickly lose their flavor and aroma and become bitter.

These seeds are eaten in raw form or baked, which strengthens their aroma. Used as a spice for curry in the northwestern states of India. They are usually added to sweets based on kheer, payasam and kulfi. Chironji nuts are an important element in the preparation of the heap and various types of sweet pastes, especially popular in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Sometimes they are also used to thicken dishes.

The charola tree is grown all over India, especially in the north of the country.

Thai ginger

The spice is obtained from the dried root of the Alpenia galanga plant. Its aroma is unique, reminiscent of a combination of ginger and cinnamon.

Galangal is often used in dishes with seafood and fish, it is particularly useful in combination with fish with a not very nice aroma or taste. It is combined with garlic, ginger, chili and lemon or tamarind. It is also often used in dishes with fried noodles, fried rice, various kinds of stuffed baked goods and fried bread rolls. Characteristic mainly for Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China.

Greater Galanga is a perennial, strong, robust, rhizome herb. He comes from Indonesia and is now also cultivated in India, Bangladesh and China.

Galangal is one of the spices that rarely reaches Europe, getting lost among the enormous herbs in one flavored family with ginger or pepper.


It is obtained from the fruit of nutmeg tree. The spice is dried and powdered – in the home conditions on the grater – a fruit seed (knob), and a dark red stone moth (macis). The aroma is clearly bitter, strongly aromatic. Macis has a more subtle flavor than the nut itself.

Widely used worldwide. Characteristic mainly for the cuisines of Indonesia, Pakistan and northern India. Also used in the preparation of Indian sweets, especially in the region of Kerala and Karnataka. It is one of the basic ingredients of Garam Masala.

The nutmeg is mainly grown in Indonesia and Granada, as well as in Sri Lanka, India, China, Malaysia, Zanzibar, Mauritus and the Solomon Islands. It develops well in a warm and humid climate at an altitude above 600 m.n.p.m. In India, cultivated in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.


An annual plant grown in India mainly for oily seeds.

It is used as a spice – and here there are three varieties from three different mustard species. In India there are two of these varieties – red mustard (brown) and black mustard, which are mainly used for curry and pickles.

In Indian cuisine, the whole mustard grain is used as a spice, while in Bengal itself, ground mustard is used mainly for seasoning fish curries. Mustard meal adds special flavor and color to dishes, and also has preservative and antioxidant properties. Mustard is mainly used for preparing various types of curry and chutney. Roasted previously – in whole grains – adds a surprisingly delicate but specific aftertaste resembling some poppy seeds. Raw is spicy, with the harsh aftertaste known to us from mustard.

Popular – especially in Bengali cuisine – is also mustard seed oil that gives the dish a specific slightly spicy aroma.
Cultivated around the world, mainly in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Canada, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States.


This spice is obtained from dried buds of an evergreen small tree.

It gives the dish an intense spicy aroma. Clove in the number of just 2 buds can easily dominate the dish.

In Indian cuisine, it is used for seasoning curries, meats, fish and drinks, as well as some rice-based dishes. Its taste goes well with sweet and spicy dishes.

The plant is native to Indonesia, it is also grown in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Madagascar. In India, cultivated in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.


Dried pomegranate seeds are used as the spice.

It serves mainly for seasoning hot dishes and for acidification.

Fruit juice has a cooling and refreshing effect.

The pomegranate fruit comes from the Mediterranean region, and is now widely cultivated in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and in India, mainly in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.


It is a popular Asian spice obtained from the root of a tropical plant. It is used in various forms: whole fresh root, dried root, ginger powder, marinated ginger or preserved.

It gives the dishes a fresh, slightly spicy flavor.

It is one of the most basic spices in Indian cuisine, used to prepare various types of curry and many other dishes in all states of India, as well as in the preparation of confectionery.

Today, it is grown in India, Malaysia, Japan, southern China, as well as Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Jamaica.

Black stone flower

Kalpasi belongs to lichens, has a shade of black and white, gray and green.

Kalpasi aroma is not felt until heat treatment. It resembles star anise during frying, but it has a stronger and warmer aroma. To achieve the desired effect, kalpasi should be fried in a small amount of oil.

This seasoning is used in meat and vegetable sauces, such as mushroom curry, chicken curry, kuzhambu pakora, thatta payaru kuzhambu, etc. – mainly in West Indian cuisine and in the state of Maharastra. According to some experts in Indian cuisine, it is a secret ingredient of curry, allowing to achieve a unique effect.

Kalpasi is a type of moss growing on trees and stones in the hilly and mountainous regions of Eurasia.


This spice is obtained from the dried skin of Garcinia cambogia fruit.

Used for acidification of dishes, especially fish curries. One of the popular names of this spice – malabar tamarind – comes from its widespread use to acidify the dish instead of tamarind (Tamarindus indica). It is also used to prepare cooling drinks, it is known for its slimming properties.

The plant comes from the Malabar Islands region (Western Ghats in India) – the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa – and also from Indonesia, it is also widely grown in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In its natural environment, it develops best in humid forests.


This is a waxy, flammable substance of white or transparent, formerly obtained by steam distillation from leaves and wood of a large evergreen camphor tree of camphor cinnamon. Nowadays, however, camphor is made of pine resin. Used during religious rituals, it gives off a pleasant smell. In the picture, the ritual camphor.

Camphor and edible camphor (Kachha Karpoor) are two different substances, obtained at various stages of resin processing. In addition, you should know that edible camphor can be safely consumed in an amount of not more than 1 pinch.

For centuries, camphor has been used in Asian cuisine, especially in the preparation of desserts. It gives the dish an intense aroma resembling slightly eucalyptus, also released during the burning process during religious rituals.

The camphor laurel tree – a traditional source of camphor – grows in southern and southeast Asia, mainly in Indonesia.


It is the fruit of a plant from the Zingiberaceae family.

The spice is obtained from two separate plant species, yielding two different types of cardamom: large cardamom black or brown and smaller green with a more subtle flavor. Within these two types, there are also different cardamom varieties. There is also a so-called white cardamom, which is actually chemically bleached (for commercial purposes, at the expense of losing flavor) green cardamom.

Black cardamom

It has a more smoky aroma (thanks to the specific process of drying cardamom fruit over an open fire) with a note of clearly cooling, similar to peppermint. The taste is clearer and sharper than the green cardamom.

In Indian cuisine, it is mainly used for seasoning meats and curries and in dishes with bitter boiled deciduous vegetables. Characteristic mainly for the cuisine of northern India.

It is also one of the main ingredients of spice blends, such as garam masala. Commonly used – alongside ginger – to prepare popular, especially in the south of India masala tee – milk tea.

As the seasoning for dishes, only black cardamom seeds are used, but you should buy and store all the pods, because it allows you to keep the aroma of spices for a long time.

When buying it is good to choose thick and hard pods to be sure that they contain seeds.

Cardamom black comes from the Eastern Himalayas region, is grown mainly in eastern Nepal, in southern Bhutan and in north-eastern India – Sikkim and West Bengal.

Green cardamom

As a spice both small black and brown seeds are used, as well as greenish pods in which they ripen.

Cardamom green has an intense, warm aroma, resembling a little eucalyptus, although one of its kind. The taste is slightly spicy and rather sweet. In Indian cuisine, it is mainly used for preparing desserts and curries of various kinds. Like the black cardamom – it is used in the preparation of masala tee.

The plant comes from the region of the Malabar Coast (the states of Kerala and Karnataka). Today, it is grown mainly in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and outside India in Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand and Central America.

Cardamom powder always has a lower quality than sold in pods, mainly because it loses its aroma very quickly.

Cardamom – just after saffron and vanilla – is the third most expensive spice in the world, with green cardamom considered to be more exclusive, although it should be remembered that both spices have different uses and come from different species.

Curry lives

Murraya koenigii tree leaves are widely used in the cuisine of southern India. Delicate aroma, however, adds a specific flavor to the dish. When preparing the food, the sheets of oil should be topped up in a crisp form.

Carom seeds

Ajwan fruits resemble the shape of native cumin, but they are slightly smaller, more bulky, and have a characteristic ‘tale’. Clear lines run along the fruit.

The aroma is similar to thyme, which is associated with a high content of the substance called thymol. Taste slightly spicy, easily dominate the dish in just a few grains.

It is used in Indian pickles, salty fried and roasted rolls, potato dal and vegetables. It has a strong anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, it also has other beneficial healing properties, which is why it is often made of reinforcing meals for people with special dietary requirements. For example, in the south of India, it is common for young children to have milk with ayana extract. Dishes with its use are recommended for elderly or sick people as well as for pregnant and nursing women.

Cultivated mainly in Iran and the Indian state of Rajasthan.


This is a small red fruit from a family of kluzjowatych.

Dried and then soaked sour fruit peel is used in Goan cuisine to acidify dishes – in other parts of India it is used for this purpose tamarind.

Kokam is also used in other South Indian states. In the cuisine of the state Gujarat is added to the distance to balance the taste. In Assam, it is used in the preparation of many dishes – like fish curry and tenga daal. Soaked in water – just 20 minutes – the skins take on a beautiful ruby-red color. Such a drink, called a lot of healing properties, is especially given – according to Ayurvedic teachings – to people with the majority of the pitta constitution.

The skin of the sun-dried fruit is sold as a kokam. Sometimes salt crystals, acting as a preservative, are added to the dried coconut. Over time, the dark purple skin becomes black. Fresh fruit is usually not available for sale.

One of the most popular cocktails based on kokum is a refreshing solkadi, drunk in many Indian homes on Goa, prepared from kokum and coconut milk with the effect of accelerating digestion and counteracting hyperacidity. If dried coconut shells are not available, bottled coconut syrup is used – it is available in many stores in the state of Goa – mixed with coconut milk.

Garcinia indica grows naturally in the band of Western Ghats – in the state of Goa. Also cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka and the southern district of Maharashtra, Assam and West Bengal.


Light brown balls with a slightly sharp lime flavor obtained from dried coriander fruits. Roasted, they take on a delicate, slightly nutty, pleasant aroma.

One of the basic spices in Indian cuisine. Widely used in the preparation of both spicy dishes and sweet delicacies.

It comes from the Mediterranean region. Today, cultivated and used all over the world. In India, it grows mainly in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Coriander fresh

Apparently, the herb is very close to our native parsley, it is generally best to distinguish it from the aroma. Coriander has a very intense aroma.

Commonly – often excessively – it is added to dishes in Indian restaurants. It blends well with spicy dishes and soothes them.

Cultivated throughout the Indian subcontinent.


Dill is cultivated in India mainly for medicinal purposes and also for aromatic herb.

In addition, in some regions is used dill seed – small, flat, oval shape.

The aroma of seeds is reminiscent of a combination of cumin and parsley, with the Indian fennel having a more pronounced aroma than its European cousin.

In the kitchen sometimes used as part of the Bengali panch phron spice replacing the fennel.

Indian dill comes from northern India and is grown in many regions of the country.


Fennel fruits are similar in appearance to aniseed or cumin, but are slightly larger and have a distinctly green color.

Taste and aroma strong, refreshing, also similar to anise, a bit more sweet. A very aromatic spice widely used in cooking and medicine.

In India, used to prepare broths and curries. Characteristic for Kashmiri and Gujarat cuisine. It is one of the five ingredients of the panch phron spice from Bengal.

He comes from the Mediterranean region, now cultivated all over the world. In India grown in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.


Seed of a square shape, light brown color, ripening in 10 cm long pods of about 15 pieces.

In the raw form, very bitter, roasted and ground, they add a mild, warm taste, resembling maple syrup.

Spice – previously roasted – is mainly used in the preparation of meat curry and daal. Salads from fenugreek sprouts are also popular. Used throughout the Indian subcontinent, as well as in many Asian countries.

Contraindicated for people with known peanut allergy.
It is believed that originally fenugreek was grown in the territories of Iraq. Nowadays, the largest producer of this spice is India – crops are concentrated mainly in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra.

Fenugreek fresh

In India remains both – fresh sold in bunches, and dried. Fresh coriander leaves are small, tripartite, each of the three leaves on the twig is clearly triangular. Delicate in both taste and aroma. Fresh leaves are often used in vegetable curries.

Shah cumin

So-called black cumin is related to cumin Cuminum cyminum. Due to “black cumin” name cumin Bunium bulbocastanum is sometimes confused with Nigella sativa. Grains, however, are slightly narrower, more delicate, easier to crush in your fingers. The color is clearly darker.

The aroma is much more delicate, essentially imperceptible compared to the Roman cumin.

Roasted adds a smoky, earthy taste to the dish. Used in the cuisines of northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Used mainly as a seasoning for rice or root vegetable curry. It is practically unknown outside these areas.

The root of this plant is eaten boiled or raw, in a taste reminiscent of a combination of chestnut and potato. Every year, the root produces additional tubers. Shah jeera leaves can be used as a substitute for parsley.

One plant yields only about 7 grams of spice, which contributes to its high price. Because shah jeera is considered rather an exclusive spice, and at the same time quite delicate in taste, it is used only in the form of whole seeds, because the ground lose their flavor, among other spices.

The spice is produced mainly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India – in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The plant grows wild in south-eastern Europe and southern Asia.


Sometimes called white. In fact, the seeds of cumin are rather light brown in color. The shape resembles – somewhat smaller – European caraway Carum carvi. The spice is available as dried grains or in the ground to a brown-green powder.

The dried cumin has an intense, slightly tart smell.

This spice adds an intense and heavy, quite warm, spicy-sweet aroma to dishes. Like many other spices, it requires roasting at the beginning of cooking. Ground cumin can be added at any time when preparing a dish.

The ingredient of almost every masala in Indian cuisine. Used in the preparation of many Asian dishes, popular throughout India and in most Asian countries.

The Roman cumin comes from the regions of modern Iran and the Mediterranean. Today, India is the largest producer of cumin.


A plant with large characteristic leaves growing wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia, for centuries used in Ayurvedic medicine and the South Indian medicine of Siddha.

The dried and ground root of the plant is used as the spice.

Curcuma longa belongs to the same family as ginger. The turmeric root looks the same as the ginger root, the cut can be yellow. Powdered spice is easier to distinguish – ground turmeric has a distinctly yellow color.

Fresh root has a very bitter taste. The taste of ground turmeric is earthy, slightly bitter, but it gives the dishes a specific yellow color. Used mainly in rice dishes or curry. An ingredient of many spice mixtures.

India is currently the largest producer and exporter of turmeric – cultivation is carried out in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Maharastra and Gujarat.

Bay leaf

The spice is obtained from a tree of the same species, from which the bark is produced one of the varieties of cinnamon. Sometimes it is confused with a bay leaf originating from the Mediterranean region. However, they differ significantly in both aroma and appearance.

Aroma tejpatta resembles a combination of cinnamon and pine.

Both, however, have a similar application – they add flavor to all kinds of sauces – in India they are used to prepare various curries.

There are three varieties of Indian bay leaf – Indian, Sri Lankan and Chinese.

The tree grows on the southern slopes of the Himalayas and the mountainous regions of Northeast India. The largest producers of Tamil Cinnamomum are the countries of Bhutan, India, Nepal and China.

In India, the spice is produced in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala and Karnataka, and the states of north-east India.

Poppy seed

Poppy seed is widely cultivated and used in cuisine all over the world. Different varieties are available in different regions.

In India, the white variety is harvested. It is used in traditional culinary art throughout the country. For example, in the state of West Bengal poppy potatoes – named aloo posto – are very popular. In the state of Maharashtra poppy is used in making anarsa – an occasional delicacy for the Divali festival, while in Gujarat it is a component of sweet ladoo balls. In addition, seeds – previously roasted and ground – are used to thicken sauces or to give the dishes a nutty aroma.

Mango powder

Dried white powder from immature mango fruits is used in India to acidify dishes, as well as to prepare chutney, fish sauces and various regional snacks and Asian pickles.

This spice is made of raw green mangoes, cut and dried in the sun.

Aamchur – ground powder of green mango – is used just like lime, but the taste is more acrid, a bit spicy. Used for acidification of soups, dales, vegetable dishes and chutney.

Mango is grown widely throughout India and Southeast Asia, both for obtaining fresh fruit of sweet mango, green mango for culinary uses, and for the production of aamchur.


Mint leaves are used as a spice all over the northern hemisphere – in India the most common is peppermint.

In India, it is used as an ingredient in various types of chutney, as well as for flavoring sweet dairy drinks, such as Indian lassi.

It does not require special conditions grown all over the world. In India, on an industrial scale, it grows mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

Black pepper

Widely known all over the world, it grows naturally in sub-tropical regions as a heart-shaped vine. The spice is obtained by harvesting and then drying pepper fruits growing in clusters along the vines.

Fresh, fully ripe pepper fruits are half a cm in size, dark red and contain a single grain.

Due to the method of obtaining the spice is divided into three types:

  • black pepper: is obtained from the collection of immature fruits, subjected to cooking and drying and fermenting,
  • white pepper: is obtained from ripe fruit, it is milder in taste,
  • green pepper: is obtained by harvesting immature green seeds, marinated in acetic or lactic acid or preserved with brine.
  • red pepper: is obtained from ripe pepper fruits by preserving them in brine and vinegar.

Black pepper comes from India, is grown in many countries of the tropical zone. Often planted near homes in the southern states of India, it climbs along old fruit trees, adding charm to home gardens.

Long pepper

The plant comes from the same family as black pepper, similarly as it climbs along the trunks of tall trees. The spice is a small, longitudinal dried fruit, about 3 cm long, reminiscent of a spruce cone, much smaller than it.

The aroma can be defined as a combination of black pepper, cinnamon and menthol.

Long pepper is widely used in the cuisines of northern India and Nepal to prepare vegetable pickles. It is a part of Nihari, a regional meat dish made in New Delhi and Lucknow in northern India. In addition, the spice fits well in simple dishes based on vegetables with characteristic flavors, such as spring artichokes, asparagus or mushrooms. Freshly ground pipel can be an excellent seasoning for sweet dishes and salads substituting black pepper.

The plant is cultivated in almost all states of India as well as in many neighboring countries. It is rarely imported to Europe.

Sichuan pepper

This spice is obtained from the fruits of a tall tree harvested in August and September, then dried in the sun. Fruit seeds are thrown away and the pods are stored and used as a spice.

Tirfal has a bitter taste that causes numbness of the tongue and lips, causing a tingling sensation almost electrically.

Pods of Sichuan peppers used in cooking – wholly or heavily beaten – have the ability to harmoniously combine acute and sour flavors. Fresh berries or dried spice is a must-have ingredient of almost every curry in the Malabar Coast region of India. In addition, it is a component of many traditional Chinese dishes, it is also a component of the Chinese spice of five elements.

Sichuan pepper is grown and used also in Nepali cuisine under the name of timmur – you can read about it in the article on Nepalese spices.

Sichuan pepper comes from the Sichuan region of China and until 2005 its export was banned by law. Today, China is its largest producer, offering several varieties of this spice, moreover it is grown in Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia and on the Malabar Coast in India.


Celery seeds are obtained from the dried fruits of this plant.

It has a strong aroma reminiscent of parsley and a taste similar to celery. A small pinch can easily dominate the dish.

The spice is fried on very hot oil at the beginning of the cooking process. Using celery seeds you can prepare masoor daal, served with rice, fried potatoes or an omelette. Radhuni sometimes occurs – instead of mustard – as one of the five ingredients of the Panch Phron Bengal spice.

The homeland of this plant is the whole of Eurasia. Today, cultivated mainly in South and Southeast Asia. In India, it grows mainly in the states of Punjab and Uttarkhand.

Sesame seed

A kind of sesame grown in India. Depending on its variety, you get white, black, yellow or red sesame. Often, in one crop, there are different colors of seeds that are segregated for commercial purposes.

Sesame is a herbaceous plant that includes many species and varieties grown for obtaining seeds and sesame oil. Sesame seeds are oval, slightly flattened, only 3 mm long. They ripen to dozens of pieces in green bags that break when the seeds are ripe.
Sesame has a pleasant nutty flavor, roasted with a delicate warm aroma. Sesame consumption is contraindicated for people with allergies to this type of seeds.

Sesame seeds are widely used throughout India. Mostly sesame combines with jaggery or sugar.

In many regions of India, idli – traditional steamed buns prepared from rice flour, milagai and a mixture of sesame and red dry chili are added.

In the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states, sesame oil is widely used both in the preparation of dishes to relieve the sharpness of spices and as a preservative.

On the occasion of the Makar Sankranti festival, sweet sesame balls are prepared, as well as til barfi – small sesame cookies, popular all over India.

In Kerala, on the occasion of the Onam festival, sweet sesame balls called Ellunda are being prepared.

In the northern Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand, a tilkut made from sesame or jaggery or sugar is popular.
In northeastern state of Assam, on the occasion of the Bihu festival, rice pancakes stuffed with stuffing from roasted black sesame with jaggery called til pitha and tilor laru or balls of black sesame are prepared.

Most sesame varieties come from the Sahara regions. Sesame indicum, which he writes about here comes from India. Currently, the largest producer of seeds is China and India.


The most expensive spice in the world obtained from dry purple crocus of the Crocus sativus flower.

It gives the dishes a delicate but specific flavor that proves the content of iodine in these parts of the plant and at the same time stains the red-orange color.

Mostly used for seasoning regional sweets – such as the Malai races, as well as white rice prepared as a prasad (holy meal) during Hindu festivals. It is particularly important in the religious rituals of almost all regional denominations of the Indian subcontinent.

This seasoning is most often pre-soaked in warm milk or water, used at the end of cooking.

The largest saffron producer in the world is Iran. In India, it is produced only in the north of Jammu and Kashmir.

False saphron

Means safflower, it is a plant whose flower petals are reminiscent of saffron stamens. Like saffron, safflower has coloring properties. However, both the taste and the healing properties of saffron are clearly stronger.

In the kitchen, the spice is mainly used to color dishes as a cheaper substitute for saffron. It is often sold as a saffron with an inflated price.

Safflower is mainly produced for obtaining oil from seeds. This oil does not have any particular color or aroma, its nutritional values ​​are similar to sunflower oil. It is mainly used for the production of margarine type fat products.

Today, Kazakhstan and India are the largest producers of safflowers .


The spice is obtained by drying the meaty flesh contained in the young yet pods with a hard brown shell, 12 cm long.

Dried and then soaked sour tamarind fruit pulp is used in India to acidify curry sauces, spicing fish and seafood. They also prepare a sauce for Mrs puri – inflatable balls of dough stuffed with potatoes – a popular snack available on the streets of India.
Older and sweeter fruits of this tree are eaten raw.

Tamarind comes from Madagascar, currently grown mainly in the countries of Southeast Asia and the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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