India, is rightly called the land of spices ……they hold a great significance not only for our wholesome appetite but also acts as a major Ayurveda (Indian medicinal system) ingredient. The culture of spices in India is so rich that one can’t restrict to one or two spices. We have nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, mustard, clove, mint, saffron, fennel and the list is endless. From rich royal Indian weddings to a simple meal, Indians can’t live without spices. So here we bring forth to you a not so exhaustive yet interesting facts on some of the spices of India and their significance in Indian food and culture:
TURMERIC (HALDI): The magical yellow powder has made its mark all over the world. It is not only used for its yellowish color and taste, instead it also has various medicinal values. In fact turmeric milk is becoming popular in western countries as GOLDEN MILK. It is being recommended by various nutrition experts in diet plans as well. This yellow spice has a great significance in Indian weddings. It is mandatory in Hindu weddings to apply turmeric sandalwood paste to the bride and groom’s body as it makes the skin glow. Thus, it’s a must for the healthy skin lovers!!!!
CARDAMOM (ILAICHI): If you have ever had Indian sweet, then you definitely must have relished the flavor of cardamom. The aroma of this green spice is so rich that you can’t resist having a bite. But this spice is more than just its aroma. It is very good for cholesterol control, control of cancer, relief from cardiovascular issues, and the improvement of blood circulation in the body. So chewing one cardamom a day can prove to be extremely helpful.
FENNEL (SAUNF): You might have come across this spice at the restaurants as a mouth freshener. It has an amazing flavor. According to ancient Greeks, it is considered to be a symbol of courage. It has a good amount of dietary fiber, copper, zinc and potassium which helps in RBC growth and maintenance of blood pressure.
CLOVE (LAUNG): There is an interesting fact about this black colored aromatic spice. It resembles a tooth and it is beneficial for toothache itself. Though it has a pungent flavor yet it is commonly used in Indian kitchens as it is very useful for stomach problems, vomiting’s, muscle cramps and other digestive disorders. In fact, the clove oil is use for giving relief to muscle pains, especially in old age.
BLACK PEPPER: This is the most commonly used cuisine in the world. It is believed that India was discovered by Europeans due to black pepper itself. These tiny black balls added flavor to their tasteless meat, which forced the western world to come to India. This is very good for eyesight and throat infection. In fact, in India elders have it every day for digestion and curing cough.
CORIANDER (DHANIYA): Coriander leaves are used for the ultimate presentation in Indian meals. The green leaves add color and taste to even a simple dish. The coriander seeds too are used in various dishes. It is a wonderful source of manganese, iron, vitamin C and vitamin K. This is extremely useful for diabetes. It is advised to drink water with coriander seeds soaked overnight. In fact, coriander leaves are the king of a dish as they give a tempting appearance to the dish.
Thus, next time whenever you come across any Indian spice, don’t forget to find out its medicinal value. Though this is hard to believe, these tiny seeds are not just useful for flavors and aroma but also are the SUPER FOODS for your body. So, don’t forget to try them, but in moderation!!!!!!