South Asian Cooking Basics: Spices

Photo Credit: jo-h
Clockwise from the top: Coriander, Mustard Seed, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin(in the middle)

My husband always likes to joke that his ancestors traveled around an entire Continent in order to obtain spices from my ancestors. And what do we know, the world of cooking was changed forever.

Spices are a big part of South Asian cooking. Almost every dish has some sort of spice that adds a whole new element to the overall taste. Here is a basic list of spices in every South Asian household:

  • Cumin, ground or seeds
  • Coriander, ground or seeds
  • Cinnamon, usually sticks
  • Turmeric, powder
  • Cayenne pepper, powder
  • Ginger, powder
  • Bay leaf,- never eaten
  • Cloves, whole-never eaten
  • Cardamom,green, in pods or ground
  • Mustard Seeds, whole
  • Fennel Seeds, whole
  • Peppercorn, black, whole
Many South Asians also make a spice blend called Garam Masala (Hot Spice). I will post a recipe of this mix, later this week.



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