I have had a passion for collecting spices and a fascination with their different culinary uses. Whole Spices (or Sabut Masala)are just spices in their natural dried form, before they’re ground into powder for easy use. There is a whole variety of whole spices available all over the world, but these are a few that you’ll likely find in every Indian household and are very commonly used in everyday cooking.
Star Anise – Chakra Phool
As the name suggests Star Anise it is of the shape of a star, now commonly used worldwide as the substitute of Anise or aniseed.
Coriander Seeds – Dhania
Coriander leaves are popular herb for garnishing salads, soups and entree dishes. In Indian subcontinent called Dhania or Dhania Seeds, has a warm, nutty and spicy flavor.
Dried Red Chili – Sukhi Lal Mirch
Chili Pepper is mostly used in powdered form to season and color dishes. India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of red chili in the world.
Cloves – Laung
Mainly used in Indian, African and Middle Eastern cuisines to flavor meats, curries and marinades, due to strong aroma 2 – 3 pieces of whole cloves are enough for a curry.
Green Cardamom – Hari Elaichi
World’s third most expensive spice after Vanilla and Saffron, native to India, Nepal and Bhutan, they are recognized by their small seed pods, aroma and green colored papery outer shell.
Black Peppercorns – Sabut Kalimirch
The most common spice added to European cuisine often paired with salt either in crushed or powdered form, widely grown in Southern part of India, world’s most traded spice is sometimes referred to as Black Gold.
Cinnamon Sticks – Dalchini
Pungent taste and nutty scent of Cinnamon is in no need of introduction among cooks all over the world, whether it is soups or deserts a pinch of cinnamon always gives new dimension to flavors of the dish.
Mace – Javitri
Mace forms the outer shell of nutmeg of nutmeg seeds with a flavor similar to Nutmeg with a hint of pepper, widely used in powdered form in savoury dishes and desserts.
Cumin Seeds – Jeera
In different cuisines used either in whole or powdered form, whether it is Mediterranean or Indian dishes roasted cumin powder is used to add a nutty flavor to dishes. Cumin is seed of dried herb from Parsley family.
Nutmeg – Jaiphal
Nutmeg and mace have a similar rich, fresh and warm aroma. Nutmeg is widely used in deserts, puddings and stews.
Black Cardamom – Kali Elaichi
The seeds have a tarry smell and ataste of pine with a astringent, smoky, earthy note. They are used to give depth to masalas and tandoori style spice mixture.
Bay Leaf – Tej Patta
Bay leaves are oval in shape with three long veins. They are commonly used in the cooking of North India.
Black Cumin – Shah Jeera
Darker than plain cumin seeds, black cumin seeds are also smaller. They have a sweeter smell and a complex, mellow flavor that lies somewhere between cumin and caraway.
Complex flavors are built up in mixtures by using whole spices that compliment each other. Successfully making your own blend of spices gives a sense of achievement that nothing squeezed out of a tube or poured from a bottle can equal. Here are some basic recipes for different spice mixtures: