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Many historical events like colonialism, foreign invasions and trade relations, have also played key roles in the evolution of the Indian culinary dishes. With the continuous interactions with different societies still going, the Indian cuisine too is evolving accordingly. Hence, the Indian dishes are an assortment of different seasonings brought together by these factors.
With a wide variety of spices available, Indian cuisines are not only an assortment of colorful dishes with different flavors and aroma but, are also loaded with innumerable health benefits that are associated with these spices.
- Turmeric: This bright orange spice adds a rich color to the Indian dishes and is used in almost all Indian curries due to its flexibility of use. Turmeric has a mild taste and flavor. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used by Ayurveda as a remedy for a number of ailments since ages, including digestive problems, skin inflammation and wounds.
- Ginger: Ginger is a very often used tuber in Indian dishes mainly because of the rich flavor that it imparts to food and is mostly ground before being used in Indian cuisine. Ginger chai is a very effective beverage for relieving coughs and colds and is also used for regulating blood pressure and to get relief from joint pains.
- Cardamoms: Cardamoms are green pods used extensively for seasoning in Indian cooking including for making masala chai or tea. Drinks and liquors are flavored with cardamom oil. Cardamom is especially very effective in treating digestive problems like heartburn and gas and is also taken after meals as a breath freshener.
- Cloves: Cloves are flower buds which have been dried up and are used not only for seasoning in Indian dishes but also in Middle Eastern and African cooking. It is one of the ingredients used for making garam masala, which is used to season many Indian dishes. The oils, flower buds and stems of this spice find use in Indian therapy also. It is a natural pain killer and can be used in tea to give relief from sore throat.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is another spice, used together with cardamom and cloves for seasoning in most Indian dishes. They are made from the rolled bark of trees and come in the form of sticks. This is first heated in cooking oil to bring out its flavors which is absorbed by the cooking oil. Naturally, the food that is cooked in this oil soaks up the taste. Cinnamon is used extensively in dishes such as biryani.
- Mustard Seeds: The oil of mustard seeds is the commonly used cooking oil in Indian dishes. The mustard seeds also find use for seasoning in a variety of dishes. It is rich in Vitamin B and also helps in controlling symptoms of asthma and helps in arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and muscle pain.
- Cumin Seeds: In India, cumin seeds are known as jeera and are a commonly used spice in all the curries. It is first ground with other spices and is mainly used to cook meat. Non-curry dishes can also be flavored with cumin seeds for added taste and flavor.
- Black Pepper: This spice is used for both cooking and also as a medicine. Black pepper can help during digestion, upset stomach and congestion. It can also be used topically to stop bleeding from cuts.
- Saffron: One of the most expensive spices, saffron is also known as the “Golden Spice of India”. Mainly used to season food prepared for auspicious occasions, saffron can also improve the appetite and aid during digestion.
India is well known for its spices and the dishes that are prepared with them. Colorful, aromatic and filled with many health benefits, the spicy Indian dishes make great and beneficial meals at the end of the day. Click here to try different Indian spices to season your food.