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Top 29 most popular Indian Spices and their use

A comprehensive and a pin-up list of top 29 Indian spices with their Indian names, pictures and cooking tips on when to use the spices during cooking.

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    How Many Spices Are Used In Indian Cooking?

    The multitude of spices used in Indian food may be overwhelming and confusing for those new to cooking Indian food at home.

    An average Indian dish will include anything from 2 – 15 types of spices depending on the complexity of the recipe.

    Thankfully you  do not need to have them all.

    If you are unsure about what spices to have or should start with to cook Indian food then these 5 essential Indian spices is all you need.

    For the food enthusiasts curious to know about spices, this handy list of the most frequently used top 28 Indian spices will serve as a helpful quick reference guide.

    The list describes each spice name in Hindi, the purpose of using them and when to use them during cooking.

    You can read more about tips on cooking uses, benefits, spice substitutes of each spice by clicking on the orange texts. 

    If you wish to get hands on practice on using spices for cooking and go above and beyond following recipes then join me in one of my  an interactive online Indian cooking class.

    Spices are at the very heart of Indian cooking and in any Indian household. They are the essence to the delectable Indian flavour and depth of taste.

    How Will A Spice List Help Solve Your Spice Confusion?

    Over the years of teaching Indian cooking, a common query I get asked most often is about how to use spices and where to buy spices from.

    I present the attendees with this list of Indian spices or as they say in Hindi ‘Masala List’ 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.

    This post is to simplify the different types of spices, their use and put them on one page for you.

    For more tips on cooking with spices you can read the stepwise beginners guide to using spices correctly for making flavourful meals.

    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.

    Remember spices do go bad if unused. These tips will help you revive old spices. 

    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.

    These spices form the starting point to make many popular easy Indian dishes such as these.

    Use this list for reference when you are not sure of a particular spice listed in a recipe or for your future buys.

    Make the spices go beyond Indian food and add them to your stews, broths, soups and pies.

    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.

    Top 29 Most Popular Indian Spices List 

    NameImageDescription
    Asafoetida (Hing)
    Asafoedita-image- hing-image buy Indian spices online SpiceituppFlavouring agent for the dish.
    Bayleaves (Tej Patta)
    Aromatic ingredient for rice and other Indian dishes. Also used as part of spice blend.
    Bengali Five Spice ( Panch Phoron)
    panch phoron on a plateAromatic and flavour enhancer for dishes. Used for tempering in oil for making stir fries and curries
    Black pepper (Kali Mirch)
    BLACK-PEPPER- sabut-kaali-mirch- image-indian -spiceTaste and flavouring agent especially south Indian preparation and to make spice blends.
    Black/Brown Cardamon (Moti Elaichi/Badi Elaichi/Kali Elaichi)
    Black Cardamoom pods buy online list of indian spicesAromatic and flavouring agent for many Indian dishes such as curries and rice.
    Carom Seeds
    carom seeds in a large sppon. post on what is carom seed and their use for health benefitsFlavouring and taste enhancing ingredient for different dishes. Especially used for fried savoury dishes and breads.
    Cassia/Cinnamon stick (Dalchini)
    how to use cinnamon stick in a bowlTaste and flavouring ingredient. Imparts sweet aroma .Used in different spice blends.
    Chaat Masala
    Indian-chaat-masala-image- buy indian spice online spiceituppTaste and flavour enhancer for various savoury street food style Indian dishes and snacks.
    Cloves (Laung)
    clovesEnhances flavours and taste. Popular ingredient used in numerous Indian spice blends.
    Coriander Seeds (Sabut Dhania)
    ganz Koriander coriander powder indian spice buy spices online switzerlandBase ingredient for different type of tadkas (tempering). Enhances taste and flavour. Used in spice blends.
    Cumin Seeds ( Sabut Jeera)
    Cumin seeds texture and tasteBase ingredient for different type of tadkas (tempering). Enhances flavour. Used in in base sauce and spice blends
    Curry Leaves
    Indian- fresh-curry -leaves-image buy indian spice online spiceituppAromatic herb used for tadkas (tempering) to enhance flavour. Popular in Western and South Indian cuisine.
    Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
    what is kasuri methiDried herb used to enhance flavour and taste. Used in Punjabi or North Indian cuisine
    Fennel Seeds ( Sauf )
    fennel-seeds-whole-spiceitupp-buy-online-2Aromatic and flavour enhancer for dishes. An important spice in many spice blends.
    Garam Masala
    What is garam masala powderVery popular Indian spice blend made with different spices. Used in most Indian dishes.
    Green Cardamom ( Choti Elaichi)
    Taste and flavour enhancer for curries, pulaos, Biryanis and sweet dishes.
    Ground Coriander (Dhania powder)
    coriander - powder-ground-coriander-image buy indian spice online spiceitupp Indian spice listTaste and flavour enhancer for various dishes. Used in most Indian dishes for the main base sauce.
    Ground Cumin ( Jeera powder )
    Kreuzkuemmel-gemahlen-Cumin-cumin powder buy online switzerlandTaste and flavour enhancer for various dishes. Used in most Indian dishes for the main base sauce.
    Kashmiri Chillies (Kashmiri Mirch)
    Whole red chillies - Buy Spices online SwitzerlandHot spice to add heat to dishes. Large amounts also imparts a subtle red colour to the dish.
    Mace ( Javetri )
    Mace Indian spices List buy mace onlineAromatic spice used as a taste and flavouring agent. Used for making special regional dishes such as biriyani, dum alu etc.
    Mustard Seeds
    yellow, black and brown mustard seeds
    Nigella Seeds (Kalounji)
    Base ingredient for Tadkas (tempering). Flavour enhancer .Used snacks, breads and savoury dishes.
    Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
    nutmeg -whole-jaiphal-indian-spice buy indian spice online spiceituppIntense flavouring agent for speciality dishes. Commonly used in North Indian spice blends.
    Poppy Seeds
    white poppy seedsPoppy Seeds is good for health
    Saffron (Kesar)
    saffron-spice-image buy indian spice online spiceituppColouring and flavouring agent to speciality savoury dishes and desserts. Imparts an aroma and taste.
    Star Anise (Chakra Phool/Badiyan)
    star anise image buy indian spice online spiceituppAromatic and flavourful spice used in spice blends. Can be used in Pulaos and other special gravies.
    Tamarind (Imli)
    Taramind Indian spice for cooking buy tamarind paste onlineA sour taste and flavour enhancer mainly for gravy based dishes and chutneys.
    Turmeric (Haldi)
    Colour enhancer and Anti-Bacterial ingredient. Used in many spice blends.
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