Spices: The How’s and Why’s!

New to cooking? Can’t figure out how to use your favorite spice? Messing up with flavors? Can’t find the balance? 

Don’t worry! We’ve got your back! Learn about Spices: The How’s and Why’s!

Indian dishes are seasoned with a variety of spices that add different layers of flavor to every recipe. It’s easy to assume that making Indian food is just adding a variety of spices to a hot pan and mixing them up.

But an experienced mind knows that it’s a complicated process that requires a lot of precision and patience. 

What many don’t understand is that timing is also very important when it comes to adding spices to your recipes. ‘When you add’ them is just as important as ‘how much you add’. So, we’ll discuss the how’s and the why’s of every common spice used to make tasty Indian delicacies with balanced flavors!

1. Amchur Powder: Amchur powder or dried mango powder is a powder that gives a smack of tang to every recipe. It’s very easy to play around with this spice as long as you don’t use too much of it. Just a bit of it is good enough to add a sharp piquant edge to your dishes.

While cooking with it, you should add it right before you take the food off the stove.

2. Black Mustard Seeds: Black mustard seeds are the spicier variant of all the mustard seeds. Their pungent smell and strong flavor make them an appealing flavoring agent.

But, to really make the best use of their flavor, it’s always better to add them right after you heat the oil. That helps the oil retain the flavor and later add it to every ingredient that’s sautéed in the recipe.

3. Garam Masala Powder: Garam Masala is one of the most famous Indian blends of spices in the world. It is also one of the most commonly used spice mixes in India. Almost every Indian recipe uses Garam Masala. Its warm blend of spices adds a lot of flavor to every recipe.

With so many flavors added in just one spice mix, it requires some cooking to blend all the flavors. So, Garam Masala Powder is generally added right after all the vegetables, and mixed and cooked thoroughly to get the most out of it.

4. Fenugreek Leaves: Fenugreek leaves are dry and have a nutty and sweet flavor. Hence, they’re very commonly used in sweeter Indian recipes as a garnish. Adding Fenugreek Leaves to a hot gravy or stew right after it’s taken off the stove will give the dish an earthy and balanced flavor.

As they’re dried leaves, they get cooked very easily and as mentioned are not to be cooked but only used as a garnish on hot dishes.

We hope we’ve added more flavor to your life by helping you understand how to use these spices. Your next visit to the kitchen will surely be an adventure to FlavorTown if you choose to use any of these amazing spices!