The Best 10 Indian Spices and Their Usage

Indian spices come in almost forty varieties. Many, like garcinia and stone flowers, are unknown and only utilized in certain areas. Nearly all Indian cuisine, spanning multiple centuries-old culinary traditions from all across the vast subcontinent, uses the ten essential spices on our list.

Coking using traditional spices may be almost mystical in its beauty. Your culinary skills will undoubtedly improve if you experiment with Indian cuisine. The best ten spices for Indian cuisine are listed below. Learning about these spices is an excellent place to start while expanding your knowledge.

Top 10 Indian Spices for Beginners

1. Turmeric (Haldi)

Turmeric is necessary for Indian cuisine. The pulverized spice turmeric has a supplementary earthy flavor. This spice is the healthiest of all the spices used in Indian cooking, and it’s a fantastic shade of yellow. A teaspoon is usually all needed for a family of four to flavor and color a meal. If using it for health reasons, make sure your recipes call for at least a dash of black pepper. While the black pepper pipeline enhances turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, its benefits are not as substantial without it.

2. Cumin (Jira)

A common ingredient in Indian curries, cumin seed, has a flavor profile reminiscent of dill or caraway. Cumin seeds generally work best when used whole and cooked in oil at the start of a meal (a technique known as Tarka).

The cumin seeds will brown in about 15 seconds at a higher heat. Take care not to burn them; you’ll know they’re done when they begin to pop. One of the main components of the garam masala spice mix is ground cumin powder, which is also necessary in India.

3. Green Cardamom (Chhoti Ilayachi) 

The taste of green cardamom is unmistakable. Due to a substance called cineole, it tastes a lot like eucalyptus, and thus, many cough drops lie. It works fantastic when cooked in hot oil before making an Indian meal. You often find two to six entire cardamom pods in an Indian dish.

4. Coriander

One of the most essential spices on our list is coriander, the seed of the cilantro plant.

This seed is used in numerous recipes, such as Vindaloo and Madras, and has a citrusy scent with undertones of wood and leaves. The most significant usage for coriander seeds is to grind them into powder before adding them to a sauce.

5. Mint

The same plant’s leaves, cilantro, are an essential flavorful garnish for almost any meal, but they pair exceptionally well with heartier meat meals and rich, flavorful dals. Be mindful that some individuals think cilantro tastes like soap while dealing with it.

6. Garam Masala

Garam Masala is the most well-known condiment in India. It’s a blend of many dry spices, such as tej patta, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and pepper. It is a common ingredient in many recipes, such as Chana Masala. Add one or two tablespoons while your sauce is simmering or your onions are frying. It is sometimes used as a garnish.

7. Black Cardamom (Kali Ilayachi)

Black cardamom seeds are one of the most essential spices on our list, and they smell just like green cardamom. The main distinction is that they are fire-dried over a fire before cooking, giving them a smoky and blackened flavor.

The distinct scent of black cardamom cannot be replicated. They are used in many dishes. One or two entire black cardamom pods are often used in recipes for four or more people. These are often used in Indian cuisine, particularly in biryani.

8. Adarek (ginger) 

Of all the spices used in Indian cooking, ginger is the most critical component for most curries and forms half of the formula for the paste used in most Indian dishes. You can use dried spices just fine. It’s even called for in specific recipes. Ginger and garlic paste are used in most Indian recipes. If you don’t have any, chop or grate a 1-2 inch piece of raw ginger and saute it with your garlic until your onions have become clear. Ensure that the ginger has been peeled beforehand.

9. Garlic (Lahasun) 

How on earth is garlic included in an Indian spice list? It’s neither specifically Indian nor a spice but a necessary part of Indian cooking.

Four to ten cloves of garlic, depending on the size of commercial garlic, can provide an excellent, substantial taste in a dish for four people. Add it right at the beginning when you start frying your onions for a gentler taste, or add it later, after the onions are tender, to give the garlic less time to cook for a more robust flavor.

10. Asafoetida (Hing)

Our favorite Indian spice is asafoetida (hing). Using hing in cooking entails using one of the world’s most potent and fragrant spices.

Hing must always be added to a hot frying pan with heated oil or butter. Add onions, garlic, or ginger after it has sizzled for a few seconds –five to twenty. It would help if you used around ½ to ½ of a teaspoon of thing for dinner for four people. Please make sure the container is sealed while storing it. Our Asafetida blog entry has further information about this spice.

Indian Spice Substitute Guide for Common Spices & Herbs

Here is a list of Indian spice substitutes for some of the most popular spices, keeping in mind the advice on replacing herbs and spices without sacrificing the uniqueness of the recipes.

With the ease of internet buying, you can quickly purchase authentic spices with just one click.

The Spice House is an internet shop where you can buy most spices.

You can now buy the spices by clicking on the pictures below.

Here is a thorough explanation of the alternative spices often used while preparing Indian cuisine.

  • In place of Asafoetida 

  • Option 1 for Spice Substitute: Onion and Garlic Powder
  • Option 2 for Spice Substitutes: Shallots, Fresh Garlic, or Leeks
  • Use Instead of Green Cardamom 

  • Option 1 for a Spice Substitute: Cinnamon and Cloves
  • Option 2: Spice Substitute: A little sprinkle each of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Use an Alternative to Caraway Seeds

  • Option 1 for Spice Substitute: Roasted cumin seeds
  • Option 2: Dill as a Spice Substitute
  • Use Ajwain or Carom Seeds in Place of

  • Option 1 for a Spice Substitute: Dried Thyme
  • Option 2 for Spice Substitute: Roasted cumin seeds
  • Chat Replacement Masala Spice Type and Application in Cooking: A sour, street food-style flavoring

  • Option 1: Dry mango powder or lemon juice as a spice substitute
  • Option 2 for Spice Substitute: Sumac powder

How to Use Indian Spices in Dishes

So, let’s organize this into a systematic procedure. You may download our booklet for additional in-depth instructions and some specialized strategies. If you sign up using the pop-up on the website, we will send it to you. However, here is how to make an Indian curry-style entrée in only five easy steps.

  • Adding Marinade to Indian food

Typically, yogurt or another acidic substance is marinated together with spices. This is true for many traditional Indian recipes, including tikka and butter chicken. A blend of ground spices, including cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, is typical for this phase.

  • Oil-Fried Spices

Indian spices may be fried either slowly or fast. In a skillet with some oil or butter, try cooking for 10 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat or for 10 to 30 seconds on medium-high heat, being careful not to let the spices burn. Thus, adding flavors to oil is the second (or often even the first) stage, and it’s pretty essential.

  • Sautéing Carrots and Other Veggies

After the oil is imbued with the flavor of spices, onions are added. Add the ginger, garlic, leeks, chiles, and ground spices (such as garam masala, ground cardamom, powered coriander, or black pepper) to the onions.

  • Adding Spice to an Indian Cooking Sauce

Lastly, you may add more spices at this point, such as turmeric, paprika, and Indian red chili powder, to balance out all the flavors you’ve contributed so far when adding sauce components to Indian cuisine, including coconut milk, milk, cream, tomato sauce, tomatoes, or tomato paste.


Please remember that this procedure does not have to be scary if it seems like it will be. All you need to get started are the cooking kits from Master Indian Spice. You’ll need to purchase some items for yourself, such as coconut milk, chicken, tomatoes, and onions. After that, you can follow the kits’ instructions to create an absolute Indian dish fit for a restaurant, and you’ll pick up the core knowledge required to deal with Indian spices.

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