‘Spicy food is the trademark of India. All our recipes have a blend of spices that makes them unique and delectable. We talk a lot about food and flavors. But what adds these flavors to our favorite dishes, is not often talked about. We assume that all the spices that are present in our food are from our own land. But let us break the bubble for you, more than half of these are not from India but are used extensively in our day-to-day lives.
Cloves are native to Indonesia. We use them often enough to assume it to be a part of Indian spice culture. Be it ‘Chai’ or ‘Pulao’, cloves are quite essential to go with every second dish that we cook. It has a number of medicinal benefits. It reduces inflammation and also provides temporary relief from a toothache.
Primarily from India and Iran , ajwain is integral to Indian cooking. Ajwain has a bundle of health benefits. It provides relief in gastric problems and when taken along with honey and vinegar is proven to cure kidney stones too. Ajwain has a very strong and pungent smell, along with a sharp taste.
A native of Iran and Afghanistan, asafoetida is grown in the region nearby India. Commonly known as ‘Heeng’, asafoetida is a part of every curry that we cook. It has a peculiar smell and taste that makes it a great choice for putting ‘tadka’, on anything. It helps in thinning of blood and preventing blood clotting. It also helps in digestion and is beneficial in curing a number of menstrual problems.
Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the World. And is a native of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Cardamom has a very fresh smell and taste, for which it is used in almost all of the aromatic dishes. Cardamom tea is a perfect way to fight depression as it has anti-depressant qualities. It also cures bad oral breathe. Guatemala is the largest producer of cardamom.
Black Cardamom is an Indian Spice that is erroneously known as a substitute for cardamom, whereas it has a different smell as well as taste too. It is mostly used in dishes that are either hot and sweet or spicy in nature. It has antioxidants in abundance, therefore being quite helpful in flushing out toxins from the body. Nepal is the largest producer of black cardamom.
Cinnamon is native to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Malabar Coast of India, and Burma. It was brought to Egypt in around 2000 BC and was so expensive that it was regarded as a gift for ‘Monarchs’ and even ‘God’. Cinnamon is a mysterious fortune of health benefits. It is of assistance in Type 2 diabetes and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Cinnamon is proven to lessen the effects of PCOS, which is an ovarian disorder found in a large number of women.
Coriander is native to South-Eastern Europe, often known as ‘Cilantro’, in the west. Coriander seeds’ aromatic smell comes from the volatile oils and fatty acids present in it. The seeds are chewed as a remedy to prevent halitosis (unpleasant breath).It is also a good source of Vitamin-C.
Cumin was originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region. It is the perfect partner in crime for all our ‘curries’ and ‘pulaos’. Cumin is bliss for curing skin problems. It helps in treating dandruff and makes hair long and shiny.
Believed to be originated from South-Eastern Europe, fenugreek is used in all Indian households either for medicinal or edible purposes. It improves digestive problems and cholesterol levels. It also promotes milk flow in breastfeeding.
Last but not the least; this is undoubtedly the ‘King of all spices’, as traders and merchants from all around the world came to India, searching for black pepper. Thus, changing India’s history forever. It is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent. Currently, Vietnam is the largest exporter of Black Pepper.