Why Is Indian Food So Spicy? [8 Reasons]
Why Does Indian Food Have So Many Spices
When someone tries Indian food for the first time or is generally put off by spicy food, they almost always ask this one question.
What then is the reality of this myth?
Is Indian cuisine really so hot?
Let’s explore this issue in depth and learn more about it.
8 Reasons Why Indian Food Is So Spicy
Here is a list of factors that greatly contribute to giving various Indian foods a sharper flavor:
1. Red Onions
We do indeed utilize red onions.
And that is also present in almost every savory food we prepare.
Compared to white onions, red onions have a flavor that is different.
White onions frequently appear in western-style meals and have a little sweet flavor.
Red onions, on the other hand, have a powerful flavor that permeates into the recipes.
The flavor of these onions can be diminished, though, using certain methods.
Deep-frying and slow cooking are examples of this (browning).
Both of these methods can give onions a slight sweetness, which can be utilized to temper the pungency of some gravies’ spices.
2 Ginger-Garlic Paste
Ginger-garlic paste has recently developed into a go-to ingredient to enhance the flavor profile of many foods.
The old Indian diet did not include this paste, but it has become more and more popular in recent years.
Once more, it has more to do with the influence of Punjabi food or food from dhabas.
The base of these recipes is typically made of onion, tomato, cashew, and ginger-garlic paste, which makes up the fourth component.
The majority of these recipes have their bases made in this manner.
But happily or regrettably, you will also find the same foundation masala in a lot of our home-style dishes.
This frequently results in a zesty flavor for these recipes.
3. Green Chillies
Green chilies were not a major component of Indian cuisine, similar to tomatoes.
Approximately 400–500 years ago, during the Portuguese era, chilies were introduced to India.
To observe how this spice has changed Indian food in so many ways, though, is truly intriguing.
The chilies are well renowned for their pungency, which gives them a fiery flavor.
Therefore, there is not much else to be said.
More importantly, they are used in some capacity in the majority of Indian families and commercial kitchens.
As a result, this ingredient gives practically all of the savory dishes made in the country a fiery flavor.
Similar to tomatoes, green chilies did not play a major role in Indian cooking.
During the Portuguese era, around 400–500 years ago, chilies were introduced to India.
But it’s really interesting to observe how this spice has changed Indian food in so many ways.
The pungency of chillies is well known for their spiciness.
Therefore, there isn’t much to add to it.
Most Indian homes and commercial kitchens use them in some capacity, which is more significant.
As a result, practically all of the savory foods made in almost all regions of the country now have a fiery flavor because to this inclusion.
4. Red Chili Powder
Indian cuisine is well-known for its vivid red color in the majority of western nations.
The popularity of dishes like Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala, Paneer Masala, etc. is to blame for this.
The majority of these meals has a bright red color because to Kashmiri chili powder, a mildly spicy chili.
However, if you look at the ancient Indian kitchens, each household has its own spice mixtures (tikha masala) produced from several red chili kinds.
This spice mixture is far hotter than Kashmiri chili powder, and most home cooks make it with local red chilies.
It is the only spice mixture that actually determines the degree of pungency in any curry or other similar meal made in the kitchen.
Quick Tip: You can ask the chefs to use less red chili powder if you don’t want Indian food to be overly spicy.
Similarly, if you create an Indian recipe in your kitchen, you can apply the same technique.
If you use less red chili powder, the dish will be perfect for your palate.
5. Black Pepper
The black gold, indeed!
Mughals and Europeans turned to India in the early centuries because of that one spice.
For those who don’t know, black peppercorns have a flavor that is fairly earthy and spicy.
Depending on the needs of the meals, these seeds can be used whole or in powder form.
Black pepper seeds are presently only used in a select few meals because we primarily use them as a flavoring agent.
Since chilies have taken the place of peppercorns as the major spice in several dishes, notably curries, they are no longer considered to be an essential component of Indian cuisine.
However, they are equally important in the majority of Indian spice combinations.