Why do Indians use so many spices?

India: land of spices

Hot chilli, spicy curry - Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of spices that are used creatively and in a sophisticated way.


The light yellow powder is made from dried green mangoes. Just a teaspoon gives dishes a slightly sweet and sour note. A squirt of lemon or lime juice can also be used instead of amchoor.


No chutney without fenugreek! The small yellowish seeds give pickles, chutneys and many vegetarian dishes a piquant aroma.


Cassia is also called Chinese cinnamon because its taste is reminiscent of cinnamon. However, it is significantly more intense.


Dried or fresh, green or red, chilies are used in a variety of ways. The kernels are particularly sharp. Dried chilli flakes are usually milder, chilli powder is offered in different degrees of spiciness. When seasoning with powder and flakes, you should therefore carefully test how much heat you like.


In India, many families have their own curry recipe because curry powder is a mixture of different spices. Turmeric, chilli, pepper, cardamom, coriander, ginger, cumin, clove and nutmeg should not be missing. Curry powder is offered in different degrees of spiciness. In addition to curry powder, curry pastes are also popular for cooking.

Fennel seeds

Dishes that are seasoned with fennel seeds have a fine aniseed note. They are often used in hearty dishes and are often served after a meal because they are easier to digest.

Garam Masala

Like curry, Garam Masala is a blend of spices. Contains: cardamom, cloves, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon and nutmeg. Many curry dishes are seasoned with Garam Masala.


Turmeric or turmeric has a pleasantly mild aroma that is often used for lentil and vegetable dishes. Nice side effect: the food gets a nice yellow color from the spice.


In terms of taste, cardamom is a mixture of ginger, lemon and eucalyptus and goes well with sweet and savory dishes. It is ground and offered as capsules. The white capsules taste milder, which is why they are primarily used for desserts. Hearty dishes are seasoned with black cardamom.


The light brown coriander seeds are reminiscent of orange and are used for sweet and savory dishes.


Is part of almost all Indian dishes. It is used whole or ground and gives dishes a spicy note. The special aroma is only released during roasting, which is why grains that are ground should be briefly dry roasted beforehand.

Mustard seeds

Roasted mustard seeds taste mild and nutty, but when crushed they develop a pungent aroma. Mustard seeds are used in many vegetarian and rice dishes.


Tamarind, also called Indian date, has a sharp, fruity taste and is used in Indian cuisine in paste or puree form. The fruit of the tamarind tree is also candied and seasoned with chilli and offered as a hot confectionery.