Pantry Essentials: Common Indian spices to pick
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Pantry Essentials: Common Indian spices to pick

Indian Spices, cumin seeds, Red Chili Powder, Asafoetida, Turmeric, Coriander

Pantry Essentials: Common Indian spices to pick

If you're new to Indian cuisine and unsure of which spices to stock your kitchen with, fear not! Indian cooking relies heavily on spices and flavours, which can be tasted in almost every meal. Certain spices originated in one part of India but are now commonly used in kitchens across the country. Furthermore, Indian spices are unlike any other in the world due to the abundance of health benefits they provide. Below are seven essential spices in traditional Indian cooking that you should have in your kitchen.


Jeera or cumin seeds are essential ingredients in Indian cuisine. You can bring out their intense flavour by adding them whole to heated oil. They are used in a variety of dishes, including curries, stews, and even bread.

Red Chili Powder

Red chilli powder, also known as Lal mirch powder, is a common spice used in Indian cooking. It is made from sun-dried red chillies and gives curries a bright red colour. The level of heat varies depending on the type of chilli used and the quantity of the powder added.


Asafoetida, more commonly known by its Indian name Hing, is a very aromatic spice that needs to be used correctly to achieve the ideal flavour. Hing, when added to hot oil, can transform a dish. It is particularly popular in vegetarian cooking and is often used as a substitute for onion and garlic.


In Hindi, turmeric is spelt haldi, and it is a key ingredient in almost every kind of Indian curry. Turmeric gives the dish an attractive yellow hue and an earthy flavour. In addition to its other beneficial characteristics, turmeric is widely recognized for its ability to reduce inflammation.


Coriander seeds, which come from the cilantro plant, are a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine. Making a fine powder out of coriander seeds, also known as dhania powder, makes them much more convenient to use. They are often combined with other spices, such as cumin and turmeric, to create a flavorful spice blend.

Bay Leaves

In India, curries and plain steamed rice are given a flavour boost by adding bay leaves, also known as tej patta. Whole leaves are generally used because of the earthy flavour they bring to a dish. They are particularly popular in biryanis and meat dishes.

Green Cardamom

Fragrant elaichi, sometimes known as green cardamom, is a spice commonly used in Indian chai and other non-vegetarian cuisines. The powerful perfume of just two elaichi pods is enough to transform a dish. They are also used in desserts and sweet dishes, such as kheer and kulfi.