20 Indian Spices one Must have in Kitchen

India is known as the land of spices. One can find numerous seasonings that belong to India and they give lip smacking tastes that are famous worldwide. Generally, Indians use a vast array of these herbs in their delicacies by mixing many of them at a time. This increases the spiciness of the food that is being prepared and boosts the zest with their dark colors that gel along very well with each other. The aromas that spread because of these spices tell you a particular piquant story. The fragrances are enough to make your tongue feel tangy and you grab the food. Indian tit-bits are full of flavors that come from different sectors of India and they happen to be the specialties of those sectors. Those flavors mix so well in the mouth that they leave a spicy taste after having the food. Let us see 20 essential Indian spices one must have in the kitchen.

20. Carom seeds

Ajwain, as it is called, is a herb whose leaves and fruits are used to spice up the food preparations. Carom seeds are pale brown colored, oval shaped seeds that have a slightly bitter and pungent taste. They are similar to oregano and smell like thyme. One fourth tea spoon of carom seeds is enough for your gravy. An interesting fact about carom seeds is that they help to cure stomach indigestion problems.


19. Curry leaves

Curry leaves have a very distinguishing aroma that freshens up the dish. These leaves are generally used because of their aromatic characteristics. One can find them in almost all the Southern and West Coast Indian delicacies.


18. Mustard seeds

These small round seeds are found in various colors such as black, brown or yellow. Each of them has a different taste and use in the list of Indian spices. Generally, mustard seeds are tart and are used to increase the thickness of the gravy.


17. Fennel seeds

These are highly aromatic brown or green colored herbs that are used in several Indian dishes. They also find place in many sweet desserts. Also, roasted fennel seeds are used as after meal digestives and breath fresheners.


16. Bay leaf

Dried bay leaves are used in Indian courses mainly for their distinguishing fragrance. They taste slightly bitter and hence are not eaten. However, their fragrance is herbal and similar to thyme. Some people also extract oil from the bay leaves to use in perfumery. You definitely want them right?

bay leaf

15. Amchur powder

Amchur powder is made from dried green mangoes that give a sour and fruity taste to the dish. It is essentially used for citrusy seasoning. This beige to brownish colored powder gives an acidic brightness to several soups, curries and meat preparations.


14. Poppy seeds

These small kidney shaped seeds are used in various forms such as dry, baked and paste. Generally white or black colored ones are used. In Indian cuisine, poppy seeds are used to increase the thickness of the curry and add a texture to it.


13. Asafoetida

It forms an important part of the Indian spices and is majorly used as a flavor enhancer. It harmonizes sweet, sour, salty and spicy components in the food. It also acts as a digestive aid. So many uses right?


12. Nutmeg

This brown colored seed gives a sweet and savory taste to the food. It is generally used in juices, pickles, chutneys, meat preparations and a few desserts for the flavor. It adds that extra element to taste.

Muscat, Nutmeg

11. Fenugreek seeds

These are cuboid shaped yellow to amber colored seeds that are frequently used in Indian dishes. The powdered version is used in pickles, vegetarian delicacies and curries. They have a distinctive sweet smell. You must try these in your recipe.


10. Coriander

Fresh coriander leaves and dried seeds are widely used in cooking. It has a refreshing lime like flavor. It is used for garnishing the food and also put in chutney and salads. These leaves have to be used only when fresh as they dry very quickly.


9. Cumin

Cumin can be used as whole seeds or in ground form. It is used extensively in all the cuisines worldwide but it forms a basic constituent of the Indian cuisine. Cumin powder is generally combined with coriander powder and then used. It adds a distinctive taste to soups, stews, gravies and pickles.

Cumin Seeds

8. Black pepper

Black pepper are small round peppercorn seeds that are dried and then ground for using it in the food. It gives a spicy heat that makes the food a bit tart but the flavor is lip smacking. Generally, it is added in small amounts to avoid extra spicing the food.


7. Clove

It is a flower bud that is dried before use. It has a particular aroma that adds a zest to the delicacy. Clove is majorly used for its fragrance. It is a very commonly used spice in many Indian dishes  such as curries, marinades, meat preparations and even to add a flavor to the fruits and hot beverages.


6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. It is used in sweet and savory dishes. This golden to brownish colored spice can be used as a whole or ground to powder. It typically has a pungent taste but when added to the food, it lends a hot aromatic taste that lingers in the mouth for a while.


5. Cardamom

Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices to get in the kitchen however, it contributes a very distinguishing odour and taste to the food. A pinch of cardamom powder or few cardamom seeds are enough to give a refreshing taste to the dish. It is used in all sorts of foods ranging from starters, main-course to desserts. You definitely should put cardamom in your must have list.


4. Red chili

Red chili is a very hot spice that makes the food tart. Some people use it as a whole but some prefer red chili powder. It gives a reddish color to the dish and lends a hot flavor to it. It is one of the most essential spices in all the cuisines of the world. Indian delicacies are known to be spicy and red chili is the secret.

red chilli

3. Ginger

Ginger is a very hot and fragrant kitchen spice that gives a mild taste to the dish. It is a juicy and fleshy rhizome that is used to flavor sea foods, meat preparations and vegetarian dishes. Ginger is a must to have in the kitchen.


2. Garlic

Garlic is white colored spice that has a characteristic pungent and spicy flavor. This flavor mellows considerably and then sweetens with cooking. It is essentially used as a seasoning. By adding garlic, you make the food all the more tastier by all means.


1. Turmeric

This rhizome is widely used in many dishes in the Indian cuisine. It imparts a rich custard like yellow color to the food that makes the appearance of the food so good that you want to grab it right there. It is slightly bitter in taste and hence a pinch of turmeric powder is sufficient. It forms the most essential spice that one must have in kitchen.


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Moumita Majumdar