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The Spices of India 

By Sarah Dean

 

There is no doubt that once you cross the ocean, away from home, you’ll be met by many differences. But depending on where you go, there can be noticeable differences amongst the many regions of that one country which smash together history, culture and food.  

In India, their food and dishes embody over 8,000 years of history from the interactions of various ethnic groups and cultures. This has created a diversity of flavours and cuisines found now in modern day India 

 

 

We run programs in Northern India and here Indian cuisines are predominately rich curries with thick sauces. They can be served with a side of bread and yogurt. But if you travelled south, you would find their curries to be coconut milk based with native fruits.  

India’s largest city, Mumbai, is known for its markets and the culture around street food. Food stalls have everything from puffed rice to milky black tea.  

 

Common spices 

There are standard spices used when cooking, such as, chili peppers, ginger and garlic and these are all common ingredients in Indian cuisines. But you will also find a variety of other ingredients like:

  • Mustard seeds – Essential to Indian cooking, they have a natural fieriness to them when roasted. 
  • Cinnamon – Pulled from the bark of a Sri Lankan tree, cinnamon is used a lot in meaty dishes, like Moroccan tagines.  
  • Turmeric – Giving curry powder its hallmark colour, this bright yellow spice packs a nice punch to a curry 
  • Cumin - For such a small seed they have a strong and pungent aroma so in this case a little goes a long way.  

 

Indian cuisines 

Adored all over India, Rogan Josh is a beautiful aromatic lamb curry. Historically, roots of the dish dates back to Peruvian cuisine but it is known from Kashmir. It is made with a range of spices as well as garlic, ginger and tomatoes. The recipe can however vary from place to place, the foundational components stay the same.  

 

 

You can’t leave India without giving the street food a go! Chaats known as savory snacks originated in north India and has spread to every corner of the country over the years. These include, pani puri, masala puri, bhel puri and kachori, served with rice, vegetables, peas and spices. They say once you try Chaats you’ll keep going back.  

Now for the vegetarians, you’ll be dying for some Dhoklas. A savory snack made with rice and chickpeas. They say out of all the vegetarian dishes, Dhokla is the winner! The rice batter and chickpeas are steamed together and served with mustard seeds.  

 

 

In Northern India, naan is a staple side of a meal. This flatbread is essential for dipping into your curry with a topping of yogurt to balance out the spices. Another so simple but important side is dahl and generally is served with every Indian meal.  

Closer to our home in India, cuisines will include lentils, rice, vegetables, broths and breads. But here you will find many nonvegetarian cusines. Some of the specialties of Himachal Pradesh are rajmah, chukh, sidu and patande 

 

 

Colour your life with the spices of India. There is something for everyone here and you’ll experience mouth-watering flavours that are out of this world. Join us for summer 2021 now! 

 

Just in time for the Christmas festivities, we have released our Taste of Travel cook book with all proceeds going to our charity The FutureSense Foundation. All funds will be used to continue our support with vunerable communities overseas! From sweet to savoury this cook book includes flavours from around the world. Get it here!