Guru Exotic Spices
In Indian cuisine, asafoetida is prized as an essential ingredient incorporating all six tastes – sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. Releasing an onion/garlic flavour when heated, asafoetida is extensively used for flavouring curries, sauces and pickles. It gives a satisfying, robust taste to delicate lentils and vegetables and hence is excellent in vegetarian dishes. Asafoetida is also used in many medicines due to its antibiotic properties.
Today, bay leaf is one of the most sought-after culinary spices. Also known as sweet laurel, bay leaves are used for flavouring and seasoning soups, meat, stews, fish, sauces, pickles and confectioneries. Bay leaves are usually dried and used whole, crumbled or ground. These leaves possess aromatic, stimulant and narcotic properties. The essential oil extracted bay leaves are also used as spice and food flavouring agents. Bay leaves have extensive applications in traditional medicines in many different countries.
Bishop’s weed, popularly known as ajwain, is an aromatic spice used in various cuisines. It is also used medicinally as a calming herb to ease intestinal colic and as a stimulant to increase appetite. Bishop’s weed is also used in the treatment of diarrhea, bronchitis, bronchial asthma and can soothe laryngitis when used as a gargle. It is often used to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
Large cardamom has a strong, unique taste with an intensely aromatic fragrance with many medicinal values. It is an important spice crop grown in India and the global demand for exporting is increasing steadily. It is used as a flavouring in various cuisines and also is used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines.
Celery is a popular spice that is widely used in various cuisines around the world. It is also used to flavour beverages, meat seasonings, ice cream, baked goods and confectioneries just to name a few. Valued in many countries for its medicinal properties, celery can be used as a natural stimulant for treating asthma and liver disease.
Chili peppers have revolutionized the cuisines of many tropical countries by adding their unique flavour, colour and taste to all sorts of dishes. They are used in a variety of ways: ground, seeds, whole, powder and in a paste. Red chili peppers have many therapeutic benefits which include stimulating the appetite and also cooling the body.
In ancient times cinnamon was considered more precious than gold. It is a staple ingredient used to flavour many recipes. Cinnamon can do wonders for your health and can be prescribed as a carminative (to diminish flatulence), astringent, stimulant and as an antiseptic. Cinnamon is usually combined with other medicines and is commonly prescribed as a powder or infusion. It is also used to treat nausea and diarrhea.
Coriander is available throughout the year. Coriander is one of the world’s oldest spices and native to India, Middle East, Spain, South America and other Asian countries. The most common use of coriander is in curry powders. It is an essential ingredient of garam masala.
One of the most popular and essential spices of India is cumin. It gives a distinctive warm flavour to an enormous range of savoury dishes and is especially popular in Asian dishes. The seeds and powder are essential ingredients in many mixed spices, chutneys and chili and curry powders. Traditionally used to protect and heal the body, cumin can be taken to strengthen and improve digestion and nutrient assimilation and healing of stitches and pain.
For centuries, dill seeds have been used in many different countries for many different purposes. In India, dill is used extensively in foods like lentil and bean dishes, beverages and even medicines. Dill seeds are popular all over Europe, Western, Central and Southern Asia. India In Germany, fish soups and stews always have the flavour of dill. Dill seeds also make useful additions to cold, flu and cough remedies
Also known as aniseed, fennel unique taste has been used over the centuries as a spice to add flavour to meat dishes, fish and seafood, pickles and bread. It was also used to help preserve food and for medicinal purposes. Among its many medicinal values, fennel has been known to improve eyesight, aid digestion and support weight loss for the obese.
Fenugreek has grown wild in India, the Mediterranean, Northern and Southern Africa for centuries. In India, it is grown in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins and is mainly used in spices and curry powder. Fenugreek is excellent for fish and seafood dishes, candy, baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum and soft drinks. It also has many therapeutic benefits such as reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
One of the worlds most popular spices, garlic is used to enhance the flavour and taste of various cuisines around the world. Roasted garlic can add zest to a dish without being over powering or offensive. One of nature’s wonder drugs, garlic has a long list of health benefits. It has been known to lower cholesterol levels, reverse high blood pressure, boost immune systems, assist in overcoming fatigue and can heal and protect your body against colds and flu.
Ginger is valued worldwide as an essential cooking spice in many traditional cuisines. It has been used medicinally in Asia, India and many Arabic countries to aid digestion, treat stomach upset, arthritis, diarrhea, nausea, common cold, flu-like symptoms, headaches and heart conditions.
The kokam tree is found in Southern India in the evergreen forests of Assam, Khasi, Jantia Hills, West Bengal and Gujarat. The dried and salted rind of the kokam fruit is used as a condiment in curries primarily to add an acidic flavour. Both the ripened rind and juice of kokam fruit are commonly used in cooking. Kokam is also used in the preparation of cooling syrups while kokam butter is used as an edible fat that is nutritive, demulcent and antiseptic in nature.
Mace is known as a highly aromatic spice usually used to compliment savoury dishes. It is known to be effective when used in tonics and electuaries for the treatment of bladder and urinary tract inflammation. Mace is also a helpful spice for many digestive problems. It has a stimulating effect on the stomach and intestines; increasing appetite and reducing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also be applied externally to relieve arthritis and chronic rheumatism.
Mint is known for its distinctive flavour and is used in a wide variety of foods. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, whole or chopped for flavouring meat, fish, sauces, soups, stews, vinegar, tea, tobacco and cordials. It is also commonly used as a garnish. Mint can do wonders for the body and help to protect and fight against stomach disorders and rheumatism. It is a very versatile spice that can be used in ointments for headaches, in cough drops, tooth paste, inhalations, etc. Mint dried leaves and essential oils can be used as an antiseptic, refrigerant, stimulant, carminative and diuretic.
Mustard seed which can be purchased as a finely ground yellow powder or in whole form. In India, whole mustard seed is often used to flavour pickles, relishes, salads, beets, cabbage, and sauerkraut. Mustard powder has a strong, hot flavour and is traditionally used in curries, salad dressings, sauces and cheese and egg dishes.
One of the oldest and best known spices in the world, pepper is indigenous to India and is rightly called the “King of Spices”. Today, pepper is primarily a universal table condiment used to flavour all types of dishes. It is used worldwide in stocks, pickling, and sausages and has many medicinal uses
Pepper long is used as a spice to flavour pickles and preserves. It is known for its carminative (diminishes flatulence), haematinic and anti-helmintic properties and is most commonly used to treat respiratory infections like bronchitis, stomachaches, diseases of the spleen, tumours, coughs and asthma.
Pomegranate seeds dried with pulp are commonly used as a spice in many dishes. The pomegranate seeds are used as a garnish on rice dishes, potatoes, and apple sauce. The seeds can be used to top waffles, pancakes, or ice cream sundaes. The fruit rind of pomegranate is useful in chronic dysentery and diarrhea.
With a very long history of medicinal use as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic, sweet flag is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system. In the Ayurvedic holistic approach, sweet flag is used as a remedy for digestive disorders. Sweet flag oil can be is used to help cure gastritis. In the form of infusion, sweet flag is carminative (diminishes flatulence) and possesses emetic and anti-spasmodic properties.
Today, turmeric has become a super spice. For more than 5,000 years it has been an important part of Eastern cultural traditions and, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Valued for its medicinal properties and warm, peppery flavour, this yellow-orange spice has more recently earned a name for itself in Western medicine as well. Besides being used as a culinary spice in curries and curry powder, turmeric is also used in dyes and cosmetics and in religious ceremonies. And, because of its natural healing properties it is also used in various medicines and ointments.