What makes Indian food spicy?
Indian food is known for its spiciness, but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean the food has a lot of chilli in it or is there something else going on?
There are many different types of spice used in Indian cooking, some of which are hot (like cayenne pepper), some are milder (like turmeric) and others have no heat at all (like cinnamon).
The most common type of spice used in Indian cuisine is black pepper. This is because it is cheap, easy to find and adds a nice flavour without being too overpowering. It also helps to mask other spices when you cook with them.
So, read this “What Makes Indian Food Spicy”
1. Turmeric (Haldi)
Turmeric, a ground spice that looks like golden sand, has an earthy supportive flavor. This spice is used extensively in Indian cuisine, especially curries. It is usually added towards the end of cooking, just before serving.
The most common use of turmeric is to color rice dishes, lentils, vegetables, meat, fish, and eggs. In fact, it is often used as a substitute for saffron.
2. Health Benefits of Turmeric
This spice contains many nutrients including iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, Vitamin K, folic acid, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
3. How to Use Turmeric
You can add turmeric powder directly into soups, stews, curries, and stir fries. You can also sprinkle some onto rice dishes, salads, sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, breads, and pasta.
Whole, grated nutmeg is a common ingredient across India, particularly in south Indian cuisine.
2. Cumin (Jira)
Cumin is a spice with a flavor profile similar to caraway or dill. In India it is commonly used in curries, and is often added to dishes as a garnish.
Generally cumin seeds are best sauteed in hot oil at the beginning of the recipe. They can also be ground into a fine powder, which is known as cumin powder. This is an important ingredient in many Indian recipes, especially those containing meat, poultry, eggs, fish, vegetables, lentils, beans, rice, breads, and sweets.
At a higher temperature, cumin seeds will darken quickly, turning black within about 15 seconds. When they do, they are ready to use. If you want to grind them yourself, make sure you don’t overheat them. You’ll know they’ve reached the correct color when they begin popping. Once they start popping, you know they are done. What Makes Indian Food Spicy
3. Green Cardamom (Cchoti Ilayachi)
Green cardamoms are one of the most common spices used in Indian cuisine. They’re often added to rice dishes, curries, chutneys, pickles, and desserts. In India, it’s customary to buy green cardamom pods in bulk and keep them around for use throughout the year.
The spice itself is actually a fruit pod, and there are three different types of green cardamom: black, white, and pink. Black cardamom looks similar to cinnamon sticks, while white cardamom resembles cloves. Pink cardamom is slightly smaller than both black and white varieties.
If your mouth is set on fire by a hot curry, the best way to cool it down is to eat sugar.
In general, green cardamom is sold ground into powder form. But because the seeds inside each pod contain oils that help preserve the spice, it’s best to grind just enough to make a paste. If you do purchase whole pods, store them in a cool place away from sunlight.
Coriander is the seed of the plant known as cilantro, and it’s one of the most important spices in our list. It’s often called Chinese parsley because it looks similar to flat-leaf parsley, but it has a much stronger flavor. In India, where it originated, it’s commonly added to curries, stews, soups, and chutneys. It has a strong, lemony scent and taste.
Cilantro is another popular herb in Indian cooking. It adds a fresh, citrusy flavor to dishes like salsas, sauces, and salads. It’s usually chopped up and sprinkled on top of foods before serving.
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