Spices I Use (English names, followed by their Hindi names)
1. Turmeric (Haldi) - We all know the zillion benefits of turmeric - buy it! It is great in Indian recipes as well as Golden Milk a.k.a my Turmeric Milk Recipe.
2. Red Chili Pepper (Lal Mirch) or Paprika - LOVE red chili pepper! Chili peppers are one of the most powerful anti-cancer spices. Use them in all your recipes - from soups, stews, lentils, beans, rice pilafs, etc. You can easily buy red chili powder or paprika in any grocery store. Very easy to find!
3. Cumin Powder (Jeera Powder) - The wonderful thing about cumin powder is that it is great for many types of cuisine - from Mexican to African to Indian and to European, cumin powder has survived the test of the taste buds and is used all over the world since time immemorial.
Cumin powder is great for blood sugar, is rich in iron, is antibacterial and helps flush out the toxins from the body. But most of all, it is a powerful aid in digestion - it prevents gas and bloating and helps with indigestion issues. Add it to your lentils, beans, curries, vegetables - it is great and goes with every recipe!
4. Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder) - This goes hand-in-hand with the cumin powder. They both are used together pretty much all the time in my recipes. Coriander is also called cilantro, so this is basically the grounded cilantro seeds powder.
Just like cumin powder, coriander powder helps with treating digestive issues. Coriander seeds are great for gas, bloating, intestinal inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, etc. Your purpose is not to just enhance the flavor of food you eat - it is also to enjoy the health benefits! With adding spices like coriander powder, you will reap benefits of the enhanced taste and the health benefits in your food as well.
5. Red Kashmiri Chili Powder (Deggi Mirch) - This powder is from the state of Kashmir, as the name implies. However, due to a low number of farmers in the area, Kashmiri red chilies are grown outside of Kashmir as well.
It is used a lot in Indian as well as Pakistani cooking and it is what gives that lovely reddish hue to Indian recipes. Indian curries, lentils, tadka/tempering usually have yellow and light red hue at the top - well, the yellow is due to turmeric and curry powder whereas the red is specifically due to this chili powder.
It is very mild in heat index and is mainly used for its color imparting property in the recipes. You can use this in curries, lentils, beans, rice pilafs, biryanis, soups, stews, and even some home-made flat-breads like tortillas, naan, roti, savory pancakes, etc. You can also use this powder for Thai recipes like Red Curry and soups where you like mild heat - such as my Gazpacho. Kashmiri chili powder is a key ingredient in tomato gravy as well as Tandoori spice mix.
6. Asafoetida (Hing) - I talked a lot about asafoetida (hing) in my article Asafoetida: A Pinch of A Cure. Asafoetida is revered in Ayurveda for its aid in helping digestion and even more so, for help in preventing gas or bloating from beans, legumes, and lentils. Asafoetida or hing is used in our tempering (tadka) to give the aroma and flavor of garlic and onions. Asafoetida is a great spice for those who are avoiding garlic and onion but want the flavor and the aroma in the recipe.
7. Dry Mango Powder (Amchur) - Dry mango powder is used to add sourness to the recipes like chutneys, snacks, vegetables, etc. It adds that tart, lemony flavor that is great for adding some tang to the dishes. It is great with eggplant, okra, lentils, chutneys and even curries. In turn, it also adds the nutritional benefits of dry, unripe, green mangoes when they are out of season.
8. Bay Leaves Powder (Tej Patta Powder) - You MUST incorporate bay leaves powder in your cooking if you are to balance your blood sugar. Unfortunately, most health sites and recipe bloggers do not know about the bay leaves powder and its powerful blood sugar benefit - hence, the public is still very unaware of it. But since you are lucky and you read it here and know about it, its time to invest in some good bay leaves powder and start using it right away! And no; grinding bay leaves at home is not going to cut it - you will end up with the small sharp edges of the bay leaves and it's not going to be pleasant when they get stuck between your teeth or your throat! Buy the powder and let the companies do the work.
9. Cayenne - Very heart healthy spice and adds a spicy, yet tangy flavor to the recipes. Easy to find in your local grocery store.
10. Black Pepper - Duh! This one is so common and also, it helps enhance the absorption of turmeric in the body by a whopping 2000%. Get a big jar and you are set!
Exact Photos of the Items
1. Curry Powder (Curry powder or curry masala) - Curry powder is used in curries as the name suggests but can be used to enhance rice recipes as well as vegetables. It adds aroma as well as wholesomeness to a recipe. It helps bring all the flavors together, in short.
2. Garam Masala - This one you already know - it is in every Indian dish and it goes with everything! It is a spice blend that also has lots of health benefits due to the spices like cloves, etc.
3. Kitchen King Spice Mix - Especially for vegetables. It will take your vegetable recipe from an-OK to WOW! Try it and you will know! Made with a plethora of spices like cumin, fenugreek, coriander, black pepper, etc.
4. Chat Masala - Oh my favorite! LOVE chat masala - it is for enhancing the snack or street side food recipes. Chat means snacks so like we get fried potato patties sprinkled with chat masala! Yum! Or, you can add some to fresh fruits, and be wow-ed! I also use this in lentils, beans, rice, potatoes, chickpeas recipes - I use this a lot! It really takes the recipe to a whole new level. Try this spice blend just like my Crispy Potatoes Recipe.
5. Biryani Masala - This is for biryani, which is a traditional rice recipe made with spices, herbs, cilantro, mint and yogurt. This spice blend is great to use in any of your rice or quinoa or couscous recipes. Try it in my Cabbage Risotto Recipe.
6. Rajma Masala - Hands down the best spice mix for kidney beans! Used in India for red kidney beans recipe.
7. Chole Masala (or Chana Masala) - This is specifically for chickpeas (chole). So, this you can use in my Chole Recipe - Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy.
8. Tikka Masala - Yup. You guessed it. This is used for that very famous tikka flavored recipes. Sauté tofu and some cauliflower in tikka masala and you have got yourself some restaurant style meal for dinner!
9. Sabji Masala - This is specifically for vegetables (sabji). Add a heaping spoon and you will surely be in love with vegetables like never before!
10. Dal Masala - 'Dal' in Hindi means lentils - so when you go to your local Indian store, you will see many 'dal' masalas. This is because different types of lentils are made with different spices, savory seeds, and dried herbs. So, this is a great buy for those who feel their lentils always lack flavor and are just starting out on a healthy plant-based, vegan diet. Simply buy some 'dal' masalas and add to your lentils and voila! You will absolutely love the spice mix and it will help you eat better. For reference, look at the last pic - 'arhar dal' masala, which is great for yellow lentils (pigeon pea).
This is it! These spices cost pennies and yet, they will last forever and will help you eat a much healthier diet. Adding flavor to your recipes just got easier - much easier!
Now, onto the next part - Adding Dried Whole Spices in Your Recipes.