The spices are India's culinary anthem where intense scents of the spice bazaar and the strong flavors of spicy food come to mind. Merchants and conquerors have come to India from far away following the aroma of spices. They are powerful enough to lead to the discovery of new continents (Colombus tried pepper, as well as gold). Most Indian spices are indigenous, but some have been imported from foreign and India has amalgamated and its done.
The spices are fundamental in Ayurvedic medicine, but in everyday life are used in abundance primarily to service the palate. You want know what you are in the pot? Follow us on this journey to discover the most common spices. Continuing to eat Indian taste and you'll discover that there's more of a spicy thali.
The king of spices, black gold with which the ancient Romans in 408 BC paid Attila to save Rome from complete destruction, comes from the forests of the Western Ghats in southern India. India now produces 50% of pepper grown all over the world. In Cochin, Kerala (the land of pepper), there is the bag of spices, where you share every day pepper.
The plant is a climbing from the cluster berries, red when mature. The black pepper (the berry plant) teases the tip of the tongue, while white pepper (the seed) throat. In the kitchen it is used everywhere-except in sweets! Aids digestion and prevention of intestinal gas. In infused cure colds, sinusitis, while the oil is used in massage as anti-inflammatory.
If you have been to India or you ate at an Indian restaurant, you will agree with us that the chili is the most Indian spice: there is no flat and there is no Indian who does not love his strong taste. Instead chili is a foreign spice, introduced in India by the Portuguese from South America in the sixteenth AD the spicy, with no bitter aftertaste, conquered in a few years India, now the largest producer-and consumer-to the world. If the cook has gone too far and you have the fire in my throat and tears in his eyes, ordered the yogurt or a glass of milk: a fresh and immediate relief to let you enjoy your meal. Green, as well as in the kitchen, is also used as an amulet to hang with the files door of the house to ward off the evil eye and evil spirits (Italy and India are not so far.
It was once a wild plant that arose spontaneously in the hills of Kerala and producing scented berries used to flavor foods, treat and produce aromatic ointments (highly sought by ancient Greeks and Romans). Then, in the nineteenth AD, the English they cultivated extensive plantations and today cardamom has become the queen of spices, worthy companion of pepper.
There are two types of cardamom: one black , largest, used in the mix of spices known as Garam Masala that flavor to savory dishes of northern India, to cook lentils, vegetables and meat (curry) and biryani (rice with basmati rice) and the green used in the preparation of sweets and masala chai, the spiced tea. It has anti-inflammatory properties; We may want to keep it in the mouth to numb the gums and teeth pain or perfume the breath, but beware, it's so good that soon becomes a healthy habit!
The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were ready to shell out lavish digits for the cinnamon, plant native of Sri Lanka that does not grow in Asia Minor and Europe. In the Middle Ages, the spice helped to enrich the coffers of the maritime republics which imposed a duty on imports from India. The Indian cuisine is used for the preparation of pulao, biryani and side dishes. It is fried in oil and when the aroma fills the air you add the other ingredients. Rarely used in sweets, except for the masala chay . As a medicinal freshens breath and has anti-inflammatory qualities.
The ancient Egyptians used cumin for mummification, however the Indians have always used to cook and prepare refreshing mash whey, red pepper and salt to sip, recovering fluids, vitamins and minerals sweaty on hot summer days. When stomach feel the need to light the cumin seeds turn a simple dish of boiled rice in a pleasant and tasty meal.
The coriander plant could disappoint, though seeing a foretaste similar to parsley flavor. The leaves and use are similar, but the flavors and aromas differ. Coriander is found everywhere and gives the food a fresh, sweet flavor. After the chili is the spice that you learn to recognize immediately. Particularly popular in northern India, coriander and dried powder is working in pan for dal and curries, while the leaves are added at the last moment, to avoid burn the aroma.
Once the ginger was common on the European table, but with the fall of the Roman Empire the West lost this root by the great healing powers (studied in detail in ancient Indian medicine is that Chinese). In the southern cooking ginger, both fresh powder, is one of the main ingredients of rasam and sambar, variety of soups that season the rice consumed daily. In northern flavor to the curry and the fish. Fresh ginger infused or chay is ideal for fighting colds.
Turmeric, a rhizome like ginger, was once used as a coloring agent in India. Then Ayurvedic doctors they discovered the healing properties and quickly became a ubiquitous spice in Indian homes, for flavor and the bright yellow color reminiscent of saffron.
In the kitchen you use turmeric powder (yellow), not the rhizome fresh, to prepare vegetables and meat dishes, fish and risotto. The flavor is intense as the color: dosed with caution. Turmeric has antiseptic and antibiotic properties, excellent for treating and preventing skin problems. Maybe that's why like the Naga , the snake deity, and of others to which the devotees offer of yellow dust baths. Ritually symbolizes purity and fertility: the day before the wedding the woman applies a mask made of turmeric arms and face (like a beauty cream) and after the ceremony will track all morning on the front of the sindhur, traditionally made with turmeric powder.
The most expensive spice is made from massive amounts of flowers that grow in the Jammu and Kashmir valleys, where saffron was introduced by Persian conquerors in 500 BC However, the local legend attributes the coming of spice to two Sufi saints in the XII AD, the whose tombs are venerated in a country surrounded by saffron plantations. in the kitchen a few stigmas are added to flavor and color the kheer , semi sweet liquid made from milk or to prepare risotto and other savory dishes. The healing properties of spices are numerous, mainly helps the prevention and treatment of muscle cramps and respiratory problems.
The word curry creates a bit of confusion. Originally kuri , a word of the ancient Tamil, indicated (and points) a plant native to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh whose leaves are used to flavor vegetables and sauces. With the British kuri became curry , and began to indicate to comfort a preparation of spices, ground and blended, that the Indian traders were preparing for the British.
Later the word was adopted anglicised by the Indians to refer to food prepared with a blend of spices. But the spice there is no doubt: the curry is a plant with small leaves and fragrant, added to the mixture of vegetables, meat and fish. From South India the leaves have traveled to the north and are now present in every kitchen.Masala is an Indian word meaning "spice" with which, in fact, refers to mixtures of spices.
Widely used especially in the Indian and South Asian, to flavor a variety of dishes, the masala are the heart of every Indian dish and represent, with their colors and aromas, the colorful and magical soul of India
Preparing masala goes back to Ayurvedic medicine and is still today a focal point of Indian cuisine. Each family has its own recipe and doses spices differently. In a masala can lick it up to 50-60. The spices are mixed in different ways depending on the dish to which must be added, and you can sometimes distinguish a single flavor or be a unique often very spicy, almost irritating to our taste buds. The masala can be powdered. In this case, the spices are roasted and then ground by hand, with a stone, on a granite slab, which represents the symbol of the hearth. They are typical of northern India. Then there are, the masala sauce obtained by adding, to the ground spices, coconut milk, or vinegar and water. While the masala powder can be stored for months, in airtight jars, away from light and in a dry environment, the sauces should be eaten in a day.
If powder, you can be added to foods in cooking; or fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes to flavor the gravy or, alternatively, cold after cooking. If they are in sauce, are added to a tomato sauce, a chopped onion or garlic and fresh ginger, with the addition of a monosemi vegetable oil, of excellent quality. The basic mixtures of some of the best known are the following masala .
Curry Masala, a native of Persia, is now mainly used in Pakistan and India, particularly in Punjab. The mixture is added to copious amounts of ghee or butter or curd. Usually never fail cumin, black mustard, red pepper, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, coriander, turmeric (which gives the characteristic color of the mixture), chili. The recipes for curries are numerous, from the famous curry rice, meat dishes such as chicken, pork, lamb; It also goes well with fish, especially salmon and shrimp, as well as soups and legumes. It is used, unexpectedly, even in sweet recipes, paired with chocolate or caramelized bananas.
Garam Masala is a native of Persia, is now mainly used in Pakistan and India, particularly in Punjab. The mixture is added to copious amounts of ghee or butter or curd. Its a mix of cinnamon, coriander, cumin, green cardamom and black, black cumin, cloves, turmeric, black pepper and bay leaf to which, as we have said, may be aggiunte depending on the recipe, of which every Indian cook is other spices like mace, chilli and ginger. With vegetables, basmati rice, chicken and white meats and fish. You can use it with unexpected and pleasing results even in desserts and ice cream, and, along with other mixes, barbecue. Unlike other masala is added to the end of cooking or sprinkled directly on food.
Tandoori Masala made of chilli, coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamom, greek hay, cinnamon, allspice and ginger is named after the tandoor, the traditional oven in terra cotta, a native of Central Asia and then spread across India. The oven is situated outdoors, on the bottom are made to burn wood or coals, and the temperature can reach 500 °. Used to flavor the chicken and white meat strung on long skewers placed vertically in the oven. In the tandoor chicken cooks in five minutes, but you can also get good results with my own oven, after leaving marinate the meat overnight in a yoguth and tandoori masala sauce.
Chat Masala made of mango powder, salt, cumin, black pepper, red pepper, peppermint, garlic, onion, lemon involves the use of asafoetida, often to meet at a more western taste is replaced with garlic, onion and salt. Traditionally is used to flavor the fruit, vegetables, potatoes, but also for chicken dishes. It is also used to add flavor to chutneys, to cocktails and some snaks as Moongphali Chatpata, fried peanuts with several spices including masala chat.
Panch Phoron, is a mix of 5 spices that, unlike the other masala, where the spices are finely ground, is made from whole spices. Used particularly in Bengal, in dishes such as Shukto, Tarkari, Tarkari Dal, it can easily be prepared by themselves, because the 5 spices are mixed in equal quantities. In equal parts: the greek hay seeds, nigella sativa seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds.
Moderately spicy, is used in the seasoning of vegetables, poultry and fish. The spices are fried in a little oil, with the typical technique of India until they burst, then the oil is filtered and added to the dish to be flavored. With this firing, all the aromas are released due to the essential oils that are released with the increase of temperature.