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Know Thy Spices

Know Thy Spices

Bay Leaf

Ethnic Name: Tej-patta, Tejpat (Hindi)
Appearance: Earthy green
Aroma: Strongly aromatic; similar to cloves and cinnamon
Flavor: Sharp, slightly bitter
Common Use: Rice dishes, curries, sauces, stews, seafood

Cardamom

Ethnic name: Elaichi (Hindi)
Appearance: Light green
Aroma: Warm and spicy with hints of citrus
Flavor: Light, sweet, mild eucalyptus notes
Common Use: Spice mixtures, garam masala, lassis, Indian desserts

Cinnamon

Ethnic name: Dalchini (Hindi)
Appearance: Warm orange-brown
Aroma: Sweet and pungent with woody, earthy undertones
Flavor: Warming and spicy with sweet highlights
Common Use: Stews, curries, moles, hot beverages, baked goods

Cloves

Ethnic name: Laung, Lavang (Hindi)
Appearance: Earthy brownish-black
Aroma: Bold and spicy
Flavor: Intense and warm, sweet-spicy, pungent, anise notes
Common Use: Teas, spice mixes, cider, sauces, curries, biryanis, sweet desserts, stews

Coriander

Ethnic name: Dhaniya
Appearance: Golden brown or yellow; bright greens leaves known as cilantro
Aroma: Sweet and aromatic when ripe
Flavor: Warm, nutty and spicy with citrus notes
Common Use: Curry powders, pickling spices, sauces, meats

Cumin

Ethnic name: Jira, Jeera (Hindi)
Appearance: Ridged brown seeds
Aroma: Strong and fresh with warm undertones
Flavor: Spicy, smoky with citrus notes
Common Use: Mixed spices, curry powders, curries, chutneys, lentils

Garam Masala

Ethnic name: Garam Masala
Appearance: Toasted umber brown
Aroma: Rich and intense
Flavor: Spicy with varying intensity
Common Use: Curries, stews, rice dishes, marinades, sautés

Mustard Seeds

Ethnic name: Rai, Sarson (Hindi)
Appearance: Yellow, brown or black
Aroma: Faint and spicy
Flavor: Smoky, nutty or fiery
Common Use: Curries, curry powders, mustards, pickling, ghee, tadka

Red Chili Powder

Ethnic name: Laal Mirchi Powder (Hindi)
Appearance: Burnt orange or tangerine-red
Aroma: Crisp with earthy notes
Flavor: Mildly spicy and smoky
Common Use: Stews, grilled meats and fish

Turmeric

Ethnic name: Haldi (Hindi)
Appearance: Brilliant yellow-orange
Aroma: Earthy and subtle citrusy
Flavor: Warm, peppery and earthy
Common Use: Curries, stews, pickles, relishes, chutneys, spicy meat and rice dishes

Baharat

Ethnic name: Bahrat
Appearance: Rich tangerine
Aroma: Harmonic pungent and sweet fragrances
Flavor: Warm or slightly hot, full-bodied
Common Use: Dry rub, marinade or seasoning for meats, seafood, rice, lentils and vegetables

Sumac

Ethnic name: Summaaq
Appearance: Deep crimson
Aroma: Light and lemony
Flavor: Sour, tart and tangy with citrus notes
Common Use: Dry rubs, spice blends, dressings, fattoush salads, grilled lamb

Zahtar

Ethnic name: Zahtar
Appearance: Light umber brown with cream tones
Aroma: Earthy with citrus tones
Flavor: Nutty, warm, full bodied
Common Use: Hummus, meat, salads; mix with olive oil for spreads and dips

Tamarind

Ethnic name: Makahm (Thai), Imli (Hindi)
Appearance: Dark or golden orange/amber
Aroma: Fruity fragrance
Flavor: Tart, sour
Common Use: Dips, chutneys, Pad Thai noodles, fish and chicken dishes

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