There seemingly is a giant list of Indian spices that are used for cooking.
Thankfully you do not need all of them to know how to make an authentic Indian curry.
If you are unsure about what spices you need or should start with to cook Indian food then this list of 5 essential spices is all you need.
However, for the food enthusiasts out there, this post will be answering a few of your questions on:
|Where do I buy the spices from?|
|How do I use it for cooking and when do I add them in the recipe?|
|What is the purpose of the spice so that I can reuse it again?|
|Maybe knowing the Indian (Hindi) name of spices will help source the spice from an Indian store.|
This handy list of the most frequently used top 28 Indian Spices with their names in Hindi and why is it used during cooking may prove to be helpful as a quick reference guide.
Inside the Indian Spice Cabinet
If you have had the opportunity to step into an Indian kitchen, you may feel like being transported to a tiny spice world looking at the display of spices in the cupboard.
Just the mere sight of them sends question signals, ‘do you actually use them all?’.
And the answer to that is a merry, jolly, spicy ‘YES’, and that too without requiring a spice list for a guide.
Spices are at the very heart of Indian cooking and in any Indian household. That’s what gives most dishes that delectable flavour and depth of taste.
The 28 Most Common Indian Spice List That Solve Your Spice Confusion
Over the years of teaching Indian cooking, the one common query I get asked most often is about buying and using spices. I present the attendees with this list of Indian spices which has proved to be helpful.
Spices come in many different forms. Each form has a different purpose of use and renders different taste to the dish.
The purpose of this post is not to confuse you further with the forms and use, you can read my Stepwise beginners guide to using spices for cooking Indian food to help you understand better.
For many, cooking with spices can be rather confusing and overwhelming. This either makes them buy a lot and not know what to do with them or not buy at all and play it safe.
To get over your spice dilemma, here is a spices list of top 28 commonly used spices in alphabetical order with their picture and Indian name.
Consider this as a bucket list to help you begin with your spice collection.
There are hundreds of spices, but for starters, I am listing the most popularly used spices for cooking Indian food.
You do not need all of them but do go through the spices list for future buys, if you are not sure of a particular spice listed in a recipe.
You can also use the commonly used spices for adding additional flavour to your pies, stews, broths, soups, marinades and many more.
This post on the best spice combinations will give you ideas on how to reuse your spices and pair it with other ingredients to make different meals.
Take a print out of this list and pin it on your fridge for a quick go-to spices list.
Where to Buy Spices From?
It could not be easier to buy spice these days. You do not really require a trip to an ethnic Indian store.
Most of the common or popularly used spices can be bought from your regular supermarket.
Due to the numerous health benefits of spices, your nearest health food store may also be keeping a stock of them.
If like me you happen to be a convenient shopping seeker then online shopping is perhaps your best bet.
My recommended online spice store, if you live in Europe, is Gewursland.
They have a brilliant range of spices, superfoods, herbs and teas on offer. Best of all they deliver across many European countries at very minimal delivery costs.
For UK citizens or those wanting to get all their groceries delivered straight to your door, you can shop at The British Corner Shop.
Not only will you find a range of spices at the British corner store, but for those who miss British brands, can get their crave fulfilled. They also deliver worldwide at minimal charges.
For US citizens, there are many online spice stores to choose from.
My recommended store is Raw Spice Bar.
I absolutely love their fresh spices and packaging.
If you happen to be a foodie and like to experiment with flavours, then Raw spice bar has the option of sending you global meal kits and spice blends with recipes for you to cook and try at home.
Now isn’t that a world of spices at your doorstep?
I have also provided a direct link on the images to buy the spices in the spices list below for your convenience.
Most Popular Indian Spices List with Pictures and Their Use
Indian Name in Hindi
(for Shopping purpose)
Purpose for Use
|1||Hing||Flavouring agent for the dish.|
|2||Tej Patta||Aromatic ingredient for rice and other Indian dishes. Also used as part of spice blend.|
|Moti Elaichi/Badi Elaichi/Kali Elaichi||Aromatic and flavouring agent for many Indian dishes. Also used as part of spice blend for gravies, rice and dessert dishes.|
|Kali Mirch||Important taste and flavouring agent in the majority of Indian dishes especially south Indian preparation and to make spice blends.|
|Elaichi/Choti Elaichi||Important taste and flavour enhancer for Pulaos, Biryanis and sweet dishes. Also used as an aromatic agent for certain dishes. Used for making special spice blends|
||Ajwain||Flavouring and taste enhancing ingredient for different dishes. Especially used for fried savoury dishes and breads.|
|Dalchini||Taste and Flavouring ingredient. Imparts a sweet aroma to the dish. A basic spice used in different masalas and spice blends. Sticks can also be used in some rice and curry dishes.|
|Laung||Important flavouring and taste enhancing ingredient for different dishes. Popular ingredient used in numerous Indian spice blends.|
|Sabut Dhaniya||Base ingredient for different type of tadkas (tempering). Taste and Flavour enhancer for various dishes. Popular ingredient used in numerous Indian spice blends.|
|Dhania powder||Taste and flavour enhancer for various dishes. Used in most Indian dishes for the main base sauce.|
|Chat Masala||Taste and flavour enhancer for various savoury street food style Indian dishes and snacks.|
|Sabut Jeera||Base ingredient for different type of tadkas (tempering).Flavouring agent for many Indian dishes and rice preparations. Used in most Indian dishes for the main base sauce. Also used in numerous spice blends.|
|Jeera powder||Taste and flavour enhancer for various dishes. Used in most Indian dishes for the main base sauce.|
|Kadi Patta||Base ingredient for different type of tadkas (tempering).An aromatic herb used to enhance flavour for mostly vegetarian dishes. Highly used in Western and South Indian cuisine.|
|Kasuri Methi||Dried herb used to enhance flavour and tatse to the dish. Used commonly in Punjabi or North Indian cuisine.|
|Garam Masala POwder||Very popular Indian spice blend made with many differen spices. Used in most Indian dishes.|
|Saunf||Aromatic and flavour enhancer for dishes. An important spice in many spice blends|
|Methi Dana||Base ingredient for different styles of Tadkas (tempering). Can be used in spice blends.|
|Javitri||A very aromatic spice used as a taste and flavouring agent. Commonly used ingredient in most North Indian spice blends. Used for making special regional dishes such as biriyani, dum alu etc.|
|Sarson/Rai||Base ingredient for different styles of Tadkas (tempering). Also used to make mustard base sauce. Very commonly used in Eastern and Southern Indian dishes.|
|Kalaunji||One of the base ingredient for different styles of Tadkas (tempering). Flavour enhancer for many Indian dishes. Used in Indian snacks, breads and savoury dishes.|
|Jaifal||A very intense flavouring agent for speciality dishes. Commonly used ingredient in most of North Indian spice blends.|
|Khas Khas||Used in some regional blended masalas for its taste and flavour. Also used as paste to thicken sauces. Very commonly used in Eastern region of India.|
|Lal Mirch||Most important spice to add heat to dishes. Large amounts also imparts a subtle red colour to the dish.|
|Kesar/Keshar||Colouring and flavouring agent to speciality savoury dishes and desserts. Imparts an aroma to the dish.|
|Chakra Phool/Badiyan||Aromatic and flavourful spice mostly used in various spice blends. Can be used in Pulaos and other special gravies. Imparts a delicate flavour to dish.|
|Imli||A sour taste and flavour enhancer mainly for gravy based dishes and chutneys.|
|Haldi Powder||Colour enhancer and Anti-Bacterial ingredient in different marinades. Used in many spice blends.|