Spices and herbs that are used in Indian cooking a very aromatic. Here is a guide that will help to navigate with these exotic herbs and spices. Besan Flour:Pale yellow, finely milled flour made from dried chick peas. High in protein , it is used in many dishes, including dough’s and sauces. Also known as gram Garam Flour: Also know as Besan. This flour is pale yellow and finely milled. It is made from chickpeas. High in protein, it is used in many dishes, including dough’s and sauces.
Garam Masala: a mixture of dry-roasted ground spices, usually including cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves and either mace or nutmeg. Some varieties contain up to 12 or more spices.
Chili Powder: Made by finely grinding whole dried red chilies.Flavor varies from mild to fiery hot.
Some varieties contain oregano, cumin and garlic.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: Dark shinny double leaves with a distinctive citrus flavor and strong perfume rich in aromatic oils. Remove the central thick vein and slice thinly. Dried leaves need soaking before use.
Coriander Seeds: Small /pale yellow/ brown, slightly ridged round seeds with a mild fragrance. Also available ground. Often used in conjunction with fresh coriander/cilantro. The flavors are completely different.
Cardamom: A member of the ginger family. Each cardamon pod contains about 20 seeds. Has a pungent aroma and a warm spicy sweet flavor
Fennel Seeds: Greenish brown seeds from the fennel plant. Have a light licorice taste, not overpowering if used sparingly. Used in both sweet and savory dishes, and to flavor some liqueurs.
Lemon Grass: The tough exterior leaves are removed and the white interior is used in cooking. Sliced or pounded into a paste. The bruised stems can be used in soups or curries and removed before serving.
Red Lentils: Tiny round flat beans. can also be deep orange or yellow. Not necessary to soak before cooking. Used in a curry called Dahl.
Cumin Seeds: Small, pale brown aromatic seeds which have a wary pungent earthy flavor. Also available ground, though it is preferable to grind them fresh for better flavor.
Ghee: Pure clarified butter with no milk solids so it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Also avail able at Asian grocery’s in the refrigerated section.
Fresh Coriander: A pungent herb also known as cilantro and Chinese parsley. All parts of the plant are edible. There is wonderful flavor in the stems as well.
Brown Mustard Seeds: Small golden brown seeds. Hotter and more aromatic than the yellow mustard seeds.
Palm Sugar: Made from the boiled sap of palm trees. sold in blocks or jars,it is thick and crumbly and is generally grated before use.
Curry Powder: Blend of up to 20 spices. Varies depending on the region, but ranges from mild to hot.
Will loose flavor after several months. In India it is made fresh frequently.
Kalonji/Nigella Seeds: Small black seeds with a slight peppery onion flavor.
Ground Turmeric: Dried ground root of fresh turmeric, a member of the ginger family. Has a mild musky flavor and imparts a distinctive yellow color to food.