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Indian Spices are the main source of bringing flavors and aroma in Indian cuisine, hence it’s considered as the backbone of our recipes. The heating of spices releases its oil into the food giving the food its flavor and aroma.
Below I have listed out most of the Indian spices, herbs, and condiments for your easy referrals or quick lookup. Most of the spices that we use in our recipes and tutorial videos can be found below as a quick lookup to clarify any doubts.
This Spice Glossary is constantly updated with newer spices so keep coming back if you don’t find what you are looking for now.
काली मिर्च (Kaali mirch) | کالی مرچ (Kaali mirch)
These little peppers with a round shape contain less heat but still pack an intense, spicy aroma that makes for delicious curries and biryani.
तेज पत्ता (Tej Patta) | تيج پات (Teejh pat)
The bay leaf is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine. It has an intense and aromatic flavor that you can use to spice up any dish, but it’s also unique compared with the laurel leaves because they have different fragrances.
काली इलाइची (Kaalee ilaichee) | کالی الائچی (Kaalee ilaichee)
The spice, black cardamom is an integral part of Indian cuisine. The dark brown pods come from seeds and have an earthy aroma with hints of sweetness like other spices used throughout the cuisine.
लौंग (Laung) | لونگ (Laung)
Cloves add an aromatic and unique flavor to food. The right amount can bring out your favorite dishes without overpowering them while using too much could be a problem if not used correctly.
शाहजीरा (Shahijeera) | شاہجیرہ
The Indian name for caraway seeds is Shahi Jeera. The flavor and aroma are much stronger than common Jeera. The seeds are dark and much sweeter than normal Jeeras.
दालचीनी (daalcheenee) | دالچینی (daalcheenee)
The cinnamon stick is the perfect spice to keep on hand for both sweet and savory dishes. It can easily be stored in an airtight jar, making it great as a pantry staple.
जीरा (Jeera) | جیرا (Jeera)
To add a distinct flavor to most Indian dishes, we use cumin seeds. These little spice packets are great for giving that authentic taste you won’t find anywhere else.
साबुत धनिया (Sabut Dhaniya) | دھنیا کے بیج (Dhaniya ke beej)
The most popular way that these round sour and citrusy flavored seeds are used is in Indian cuisine. They’re mostly ground up into a powder form to be added as a spice or as a whole to cook.
करी पत्ता (Kari patta) | کری پتے (Kari patta)
Curry leaves have been used in Indian cooking for centuries and they’re still a key ingredient today for many Indian recipes. They are most often added into the tadka of a recipe releasing their natural flavors.
चिया बीज (Chia beej) | تخ ملنگا
Chia seeds are great for adding texture and flavor to your everyday dishes.
They add an amazing nutritional boost to your favorite breakfast cereal, a rice dish, and more. You can eat them raw or cook with them by mixing the ground chia into vegetables.
Dry Fenugreek Leaves
कसूरी मेथी (Kasuri methi) | قصوری میتھی (Kasuri methi)
This simple herb, dry fenugreek leaves or Kasuri methi leaves is made by drying fenugreek leaves.
Dry fenugreek leaves are more than just a spice, it’s an aromatic ingredient that can be used to flavor your dishes.
Dry Red Chili
सूखी लाल मिर्च (Sookhi lal Mirch) | خشک سرخ مرچ
One of the most common spices in Indian cuisine, red chili is used to enhance all types and levels of spiciness while also adding color. Dry whole chilis are usually added during the cooking time for an extra kick that cannot be achieved with just spice alone.
सौंफ (Saumph) | سونف کے بیج (Saumph ke beej)
Fennel seeds are commonly used in Indian cooking to give dishes that unique taste and aroma. They can be ground up with coconut or curry spices for an aromatic spiciness or stirred into soups as part of the vegetables themselves.
मेथी (Methi) | میتھی کے پتے (Methi ke pathe)
Fenugreek is a herb that can be found in many foods, and it has been used for centuries to help with digestion. The methi leaves are an excellent source of folic acid so if you’re looking into losing weight or regulating blood sugar levels – these will do the trick.
मेथी दाना (Methi dana) | میتھی کے بیج (Methi ke beej)
Fenugreek seeds have a unique flavor that can’t be found anywhere else. They add an earthy, mustardy essence to dishes and bring out the best in spices.
गरम मसाला (Garam masala) | گرم مصالحہ (Garam masala)
The use of garam masala in Indian cuisine has been prevalent for centuries. From curries and vegetables and korma, this spice blend is found all over India.
It has been used for centuries to season food, making it one of those essential ingredients you just don’t want to miss out on.
हरी इलायची (Haree ilaayachi) | سبز الائچی
Cardamom pods are triangular in shape, with the seeds found at their base.
They can also be ground into powder for use in food preparations or drinks like chai tea latte, sweet dishes, and Indian desserts.
अदरक (Adrakh) | ادرک
You can’t have a healthy diet without ginger.
Ginger is a root vegetable that’s used in many cultures for its spicy flavor and medicinal properties. It can be found anywhere from Asia to Africa, but it has been cultivated since ancient times because of how useful this little sprig really is.
लहसुन (Lasson) | لہسن
One of the most important ingredients in a kitchen, garlic has been treasured for its versatility around the world. It can be used as both food and flavoring to complement meats, vegetable bread, eggs, etc.
Garlic is a plant in the allium family that also includes onion, shallots, and leeks.
लहसुन (Lasson) | لہسن
Indian Gooseberry which is also called Amla in India is a tree that grows in most of the South Asian countries and a few middle eastern countries. They are called as they are mostly found in India and used in various Indian cuisines. They are having great health benefits and are hence used in medicines (Ayurvedic) as well.
आमचूर पाउडर (Amchur powder) | آمچور
Nutmeg is a spice made from the seed of a tropical evergreen tree. It has a distinctive pungent fragrance and warm, sweet taste that can be used to flavor many types of baked goods as well other things like meat or sauce for vegetables!
The Nutmeg trees are native to Indonesia.
कलौंजी (Kalongi) | کلونجی
Nigella seeds are small and black in color, which almost looks like onion seeds but it really belongs to the flower buttercup family. These seeds can also be found under a different name- Black Cumin.
खसखस (Khaskhas) | خشخاش
Poppy seeds are an integral part of Indian cuisine. Especially, the white poppy seeds are used to give dishes their thickness in texture and flavor. For example, korma recipes are made with sauce which is typically prepared with ground poppy seed paste alongside coconut milk or cream as well as other spices as per recipe requirement.
लाल मिर्च (Lal Mirch) | لال مرچ
This fiery ingredient can bring alive any dish you like. It’s used in the preparation of some Indian favorites like rasam, laal maas (a rich curry), and Rogan Josh, etc., but it also makes for delicious dips, chutneys, or accompaniments that will spice up your taste buds no matter what you’re eating!
केसर (Kesar) | زعفران
Saffron is a spice that can take any dish from ordinary to extraordinary. It has been used for centuries in different cultures’ cooking and it still remains one of the most valuable ingredients around today, especially with its many culinary uses such as Indian cuisine or Mughlai foods among others!
चक्र फूल (Chakra phool) | بادیان کے پھول
I love the way this spice tastes and looks. It has a sweet and delicious flavor that goes well with anything you would cook or make medicine out of it too.
तिल (Til) | تل کے بیج
Sesame seeds are a delicious and healthy addition to any meal. They are known to be an excellent source of protein & grow in pods of a plant called Sesamum indicum. These tiny seeds can be eaten raw, or you could toast them before adding on top of breads like bagels, burgers, and even as toppings to salads.
इमली (Imli) | املی
Tamarind is a tree that produces brown, pod-like fruits. The sweet and tangy pulp of this fruit in used all over the world in cuisines from different cultures! Tamarind also known as Imli locally in India is used to spice various Indian cuisines like Chana Chaat, Chicken kolhapuri etc.
हल्दी (Haldi) | ہلدی
This spice-like herb has been used as a prized ingredient in cooking since ancient times because of its attributes. Turnmeric also has immense medicinal properties that make it a popular ingredient. In India, we call it ‘Haldi’ and its used as a side ingredient in most of the cuisines. It has a strong flavour and a poignant smell with a little bitter, hot and earthy taste to it.