Know Your Spices!

Spices are the foundation for South Asian cuisine. They can transform any dish into a tasty meal and give life to even the simplest ingredients. The right combination of spices in any dish enhances the flavour of meats, fish or vegetables.

Cardamom (Elaichi) - There are 2 kinds of cardamoms: Black & Green.

Black - Used mainly in Garam Masala blends and Rice dishes, these pods are used whole.

Green - Can be used whole or ground, in sweet & savoury dishes, in teas and on ice-cream!

Chapati Flour - Chapati Flour is finely milled whole-wheat flour, also known as 'Atta'. This is used not only to make traditional chapati (roti) but also in 'parantha's'

Chilli Powder - Made mainly of hot red chili peppers and blended with other spices including cumin, onion and garlic powder. Great to use in tandoori dishes, like chicken.

Coriander (Dhania) - Used fresh, ground and whole. It is an essential herb in most South Asian dishes.

Cumin (Jeera) - Used whole or ground, adds a depth of flavour to dishes when roasted whole. It is also a typical ingredient in many spice blends, such as curry powder.

Fenugreek (Methi) - Methi is used in a variety of ways in cooking, fresh leaves are used in 'Methi Roti' - a herb and spice filled roti. Used dry fenugreek adds an amazing flavour to dishes, usually accompanying potatoes or spinach dishes.

Garam Masala - A combination of several spices which have been dry roasted and then ground. It has a lovely, rich aroma and is added to most dishes. It is usually added towards the end of a curry dish.

Gram Flour - This is chickpea flour and mainly used for making Pakoras.

Kashmiri Basaar - is widely used in Pakistan and Kashmir. It is a complete blend of several spices, The blend is packed with flavour and produces a takeaway style curry.

Madras Powder - A fiery blend of ground spices, including cayenne chilli pepper and roasted coriander seed, mustard seeds and coriander. It adds an intense flavour and heat to curries. It is available in hot and mild strengths.

Paprika - There are 3 types of paprika, sweet, spicy, and smoked. Paprika is made from dried sweet peppers ground to to a fine powder. It is usually added to dishes like Daals for its intense red colouring. For most recipes, the paprika is added near the end of the cooking process, since heat diminishes both the color and flavor.

Star Anise - is used in curry dishes to enhance the flavour of meat. It is also an essential spice while preparing biryani and other masala items.

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