Top 12 Go-to Spices For Indian Cooking

There are just 12 common spices anyhow, and most of them are used only for special preparations. In order of frequency of usage:

  • Cumin
  • Mustard
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Fresh or dried chillies
  • Black and white pepper
  • Asafoetida
  • Green / Black cardamom
  • Cinnamon / Cassia bark
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace

There are a few others which are used in very specific preparations:

  • Saffron
  • Moggu (Kapok buds) used in Bisi Bele Bhaat etc.
  • Pippali / Hippali (Long pepper) used in Pulaos and Biryanis
  • Kalpachi / Kalpasi / Daggad phool / Patthar ke phool (the lichen Rock Flower) used in Pulaos and Biryanis
  • Timur / tephal / tirphal / ‘current mirchi’ (Sichuan pepper)
  • Dried pomegranate seeds
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