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All the spices

Posted By sonisofia on May 21, 2007 at 2:41PM

These spices can be combined in amounts to make specific spice mixtures used in everyday cooking. A very well known spice mixture is the Garam Masala. The word garam means hot, not "hot" as in spicy chili hot, but due to the fact that the spices blended in the mixture are said to increase the body temperature.

Masala is a word very commonly used in Indian cooking and is simply the Hindi word for "spice." So, whenever a combination of spices, herbs and other condiments are ground or blended together, it is called masala.
The whole masalas often includes, as the name suggests, whole spices such as whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns. These are fried in hot oil before other wet ingredients such as onions, garlic or ginger are added.

The classic Indian curry often combines the following spices - coriander, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic as well as other spices.

THE BASIC SPICES
There are a few basic spices in Indian cuisine that go into most dishes. Often a very basic vegetable dish is made by adding cumin or mustard seeds and asafetida in some hot ghee (clarified butter) or oil until they sizzle and pop. Then the vegetables are added and steamed.

Cumin seeds - whole and powder:
This is mainly used in North Indian food and is used for its strong distinctive taste. When roasted, whole cumin seeds release more of the aroma and gives the dish a sweet flavor. Cumin seed powder lends a sweet and mild flavor to a dish and is one of the main ingredients in the Garam Masala.
Hindi name - Jeera

Coriander seeds - whole and powder:
Mainly used for its fresh, soothing and cooling taste, coriander seeds are very light weight and have a mild flavor. Although they come form the same plant, they should not be mixed up with cilantro. In powder form it is an indispensable spice in the spice box. The aromatic fragrance of the roasted coriander powder enhances the taste of any dish.
Hindi name - Dhaniya

Turmeric powder:
This is mainly used in Indian dishes for its medicinal properties and for the gorgeous intensive color it gives to the dishes. It is mildly aromatic and has a delicate scent of ginger. Turmeric is a wonder spice and is used throughout Asia to treat cases of stomach and liver ailments. It is also used exteranally to heal sores and in cosmetics. As a matter of fact one of my childhood memories of my mum is her in her weekly turmeric, sandalwood and honey face masks - LOL!
Hindi name - Haldi

Chili powder:
The Indian chili powder is made from ground chilies and is often hotter that the chili powder available in the US/European stores. It has a pungent, hot aroma with a strong bite to it.
Hindi name - Lal Mirch

Asafetida:
This is often used as a digestive. It has a strong odor and a slight garlicky flavor. Do not taste this raw - it is NOT a pleasant experience. Using it in the recommended recipe however, works wonders. Just a pinch is used for cooking in dishes with lentils and beans.
Hindi name - Hing

Black mustard seeds:
In India the black mustard seeds are preferred over the larger yellow ones found in the western world. It has a strong but pleasing flavor and known for its digestive qualities. Mustard seeds are used in India to flavor vegetables, pulses and pickles.
Hindi name - Mohri

Garam Masala:
The mixture may include a variety of ingredients from cumin, fennel, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, saffron, pepper, chilies, and black cumin seeds and more. It can be used whole or in powdered form. It is often added at the end of cooking, so that the full aroma is not lost.

Complementary Spices
In our vegetable dish from above, a complementary spice, like fennel or nigella seeds may be added. The dish may be flavored with ginger and sprinkled with turmeric and coriander powder.

Fennel Seeds:
Although this is a basic Indian spice, it is not essential. It is mainly used in North Indian cuisine and posses digestive qualities. If you often visit Indian restaurants you will find these coated with colored sugar and offered after meals as a mouth freshener. Fennel seeds are also often used to spice up teas and drinks.
Hindi name - Saunf

Fenugreek seeds:
This spice, which is actually a lentil, is used throughout India for the distinctive flavor it gives the dish and for its wonderful healthful properties. As a matter of fact, after turmeric, fenugreek seeds is the most medically useful item in an Indian kitchen.
Hindi name - Methi

Nigella Seeds:
Also known as onion seeds, these are often used in North India to enhance vegetable dishes. Toasting the seeds briefly brings out the flavor. Oh ... and no they are not really seeds from onions.
Hindi name - Kalonji

Carom seeds:
These have a strong peppery-thyme flavor. This poppy seed like plant comes from the lovage plant. It is very popular in North Indian cooking. It is used in preparing many Indian vegetables and pulses.
Hindi name - Ajwain

Aromatic Secondary Spices
Going back to our vegetable dish, you can choose to additionally add any of these secondary spices to jazz it up. Before adding the vegetables, add chopped onions, tomatoes and herbs to the spices above. Now you can add any of the secondary spices. Then add the vegetables and steam with a bit of water.

Green Cardamom - whole and powder
This is used throughout India to flavor curries, vegetables, rice, dessert and the ever famous masala chai.
The pod itself is neutral in flavor, it is the brown sticky seed inside the pod that gives that wonderful flavor. The pods should be kept whole, as ground cardamom quickly loses flavor. It is recommended to grind small quantities at home using a coffee mill. When a recipe calls for whole cardamom, the pods should be cracked open slightly to release the full flavor of the spice. This is such a versatile spice and is often used to flavor many desserts and cakes as well as savory dishes.
Hindi name - Choti Elaichi

Black Cardamom:
This is larger in size and darker in color. It is often used to flavor meat, poultry and rice dishes. The spice is coarser in flavor than the green variety. The inner seeds are often one of the spices used in Garam Masala
Hindi name - Kala Elaichi

Cinnamon Sticks:
It is the bark of the cassia tree that is mostly used in India. The real cinnamon stick, as we know it, found in most supermarkets have a more delicate flavor than the Cassia bark. Cinnamon sticks lend the dish a sweet and mellow flavor. In India it is often used in many curries and puloas to give the dish a rich flavor.
Hindi name - Dalchini

Cloves - whole and powder:
Cloves are strong, pungent, and sweet. They are used in many meat dishes, marinades, pickles and in many garam masalas. Cloves are used whole or in powder form. In India clove oil is also used due to its medicinal value. Many Indians chew on cloves to relieve toothaches and it is used also as a mouth freshener after a meal.
Hindi name - Laung

Nutmeg
This is usually used in powdered form, grated freshly using a whole nutmeg. Often it is used to flavor Indian sweets, but may be used in some savory dishes.

Finally there a few other spices and flavorings used in the Indian kitchen. These all help to add a special tastes and seasonings to the dish. Most households probably already have them stocked in their pantries.

Garlic
Ginger
Bay Leaves
Black Peppercorns
Saffron
Fresh mint leaves
Curry leaves
Coconut - fresh, dried and milk

Tagged with: Asian food

The spices

Posted By sonisofia on May 21, 2007 at 2:39PM
The spices
These spices can be combined in amounts to make specific spice mixtures used in everyday cooking. A very well known spice mixture is the Garam Masala. The word garam means hot, not "hot" as in spicy chili hot, but due to the fact that the spices blended in the mixture are said to increase the body temperature. Masala is a word very commonly used in Indian cooking and is simply the Hindi word for "spice." So, whenever a combination of spices, herbs and other condiments are ground or blended together, it is called masala. The whole masalas often includes, as the name suggests, whole spices such as whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns. These are fried in hot oil before other wet ingredients such as onions, garlic or ginger are added. The classic Indian curry often combines the following spices - coriander, turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic as well as other spices. THE BASIC SPICES There are a few basic spices in Indian cuisine that go into most dishes. Often a very basic vegetable dish is made by adding cumin or mustard seeds and asafetida in some hot ghee (clarified butter) or oil until they sizzle and pop. Then the vegetables are added and steamed. Cumin seeds - whole and powder: This is mainly used in North Indian food and is used for its strong distinctive taste. When roasted, whole cumin seeds release more of the aroma and gives the dish a sweet flavor. Cumin seed powder lends a sweet and mild flavor to a dish and is one of the main ingredients in the Garam Masala. Hindi name - Jeera Coriander seeds - whole and powder: Mainly used for its fresh, soothing and cooling taste, coriander seeds are very light weight and have a mild flavor. Although they come form the same plant, they should not be mixed up with cilantro. In powder form it is an indispensable spice in the spice box. The aromatic fragrance of the roasted coriander powder enhances the taste of any dish. Hindi name - Dhaniya Turmeric powder: This is mainly used in Indian dishes for its medicinal properties and for the gorgeous intensive color it gives to the dishes. It is mildly aromatic and has a delicate scent of ginger. Turmeric is a wonder spice and is used throughout Asia to treat cases of stomach and liver ailments. It is also used exteranally to heal sores and in cosmetics. As a matter of fact one of my childhood memories of my mum is her in her weekly turmeric, sandalwood and honey face masks - LOL! Hindi name - Haldi Chili powder: The Indian chili powder is made from ground chilies and is often hotter that the chili powder available in the US/European stores. It has a pungent, hot aroma with a strong bite to it. Hindi name - Lal Mirch Asafetida: This is often used as a digestive. It has a strong odor and a slight garlicky flavor. Do not taste this raw - it is NOT a pleasant experience. Using it in the recommended recipe however, works wonders. Just a pinch is used for cooking in dishes with lentils and beans. Hindi name - Hing Black mustard seeds: In India the black mustard seeds are preferred over the larger yellow ones found in the western world. It has a strong but pleasing flavor and known for its digestive qualities. Mustard seeds are used in India to flavor vegetables, pulses and pickles. Hindi name - Mohri Garam Masala: The mixture may include a variety of ingredients from cumin, fennel, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, saffron, pepper, chilies, and black cumin seeds and more. It can be used whole or in powdered form. It is often added at the end of cooking, so that the full aroma is not lost. Complementary Spices In our vegetable dish from above, a complementary spice, like fennel or nigella seeds may be added. The dish may be flavored with ginger and sprinkled with turmeric and coriander powder. Fennel Seeds: Although this is a basic Indian spice, it is not essential. It is mainly used in North Indian cuisine and posses digestive qualities. If you often visit Indian restaurants you will find these coated with colored sugar and offered after meals as a mouth freshener. Fennel seeds are also often used to spice up teas and drinks. Hindi name - Saunf Fenugreek seeds: This spice, which is actually a lentil, is used throughout India for the distinctive flavor it gives the dish and for its wonderful healthful properties. As a matter of fact, after turmeric, fenugreek seeds is the most medically useful item in an Indian kitchen. Hindi name - Methi Nigella Seeds: Also known as onion seeds, these are often used in North India to enhance vegetable dishes. Toasting the seeds briefly brings out the flavor. Oh ... and no they are not really seeds from onions. Hindi name - Kalonji Carom seeds: These have a strong peppery-thyme flavor. This poppy seed like plant comes from the lovage plant. It is very popular in North Indian cooking. It is used in preparing many Indian vegetables and pulses. Hindi name - Ajwain Aromatic Secondary Spices Going back to our vegetable dish, you can choose to additionally add any of these secondary spices to jazz it up. Before adding the vegetables, add chopped onions, tomatoes and herbs to the spices above. Now you can add any of the secondary spices. Then add the vegetables and steam with a bit of water. Green Cardamom - whole and powder This is used throughout India to flavor curries, vegetables, rice, dessert and the ever famous masala chai. The pod itself is neutral in flavor, it is the brown sticky seed inside the pod that gives that wonderful flavor. The pods should be kept whole, as ground cardamom quickly loses flavor. It is recommended to grind small quantities at home using a coffee mill. When a recipe calls for whole cardamom, the pods should be cracked open slightly to release the full flavor of the spice. This is such a versatile spice and is often used to flavor many desserts and cakes as well as savory dishes. Hindi name - Choti Elaichi Black Cardamom: This is larger in size and darker in color. It is often used to flavor meat, poultry and rice dishes. The spice is coarser in flavor than the green variety. The inner seeds are often one of the spices used in Garam Masala Hindi name - Kala Elaichi Cinnamon Sticks: It is the bark of the cassia tree that is mostly used in India. The real cinnamon stick, as we know it, found in most supermarkets have a more delicate flavor than the Cassia bark. Cinnamon sticks lend the dish a sweet and mellow flavor. In India it is often used in many curries and puloas to give the dish a rich flavor. Hindi name - Dalchini Cloves - whole and powder: Cloves are strong, pungent, and sweet. They are used in many meat dishes, marinades, pickles and in many garam masalas. Cloves are used whole or in powder form. In India clove oil is also used due to its medicinal value. Many Indians chew on cloves to relieve toothaches and it is used also as a mouth freshener after a meal. Hindi name - Laung Nutmeg This is usually used in powdered form, grated freshly using a whole nutmeg. Often it is used to flavor Indian sweets, but may be used in some savory dishes. Finally there a few other spices and flavorings used in the Indian kitchen. These all help to add a special tastes and seasonings to the dish. Most households probably already have them stocked in their pantries. Garlic Ginger Bay Leaves Black Peppercorns Saffron Fresh mint leaves Curry leaves Coconut - fresh, dried and milk

Asian food

Posted By sonisofia on May 21, 2007 at 2:35PM

Pictures of mouth water dishes

How do you like your curries?

Posted By sonisofia on May 21, 2007 at 2:18PM
Tagged with: Asian food