Essential Spices in Indian Cuisine
Spices are not just important in Indian cuisine, they’re vital to creating bright and zesty dishes. Without them, food wouldn’t be the same. The vast array of recipes that compose Indian cuisine uses a wide variety of spices, which have to be used in certain ways so that their flavour is maximised. And, as an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh, we know how to take advantage of those spices to make sure our dishes are bursting with flavour.
Two different kinds of cardamom are used when preparing Indian food, green and black.
The green variety is the most common one, and its light and sweet flavour is used in vegetables, meat and rice – it’s also one of the main ingredients of Garam Masala. Another use for green cardamom is in deserts, although the pod should be open and the seeds inside crushed to release more fragrance.
Black cardamom is smokier and should be used with more caution, since the pod is extremely spicy. The pods are cooked slowly and for a very long time, which intensifies the flavour. Because of this, black cardamom is not usually used for deserts, since the fragrance can be overpowering.
One of the oldest-known spices, it’s also commonly used in other cuisines, and is characterised by an aromatic flavour with a hint of citrus. Ground coriander is normal in Indian food, although seeds and fresh leaves can also be used.
Although Indian cuisine can use black, white and brown mustards for cooking, black seeds are the most commonly found in recipes, since they’re the strongest in terms of flavour. To release this bold flavour, they tend to be added to hot oil, which makes them pop. Certain regions in India also use them to make a paste or pickles.
This spice gives many dishes their characteristic yellow colour and it’s often found in rice, stews and curries. In its natural state, turmeric resembles ginger root (although it’s orange inside) and has a stronger flavour compared to when it’s dried – this flavour is pungent and earthy, so it should be used in small quantities.
Crushed red chillies are used in a lot of recipes, and some offer more colour than heat. Others, however, are specifically chosen because they add a lot of heat to the dish, which is useful when creating curries like Madras or Vindaloo, since both need to be incredibly spicy and hot.
A large selection of spices is used to create the dishes that characterise Indian cuisine and they add those strong, bold flavours that you love! If you wish to arrange a booking with us, you can do so online, and you can also contact us or call us on 0131 476 9999 and we’ll be more than happy to help with any query you might have.