spices in indian cooking

15 spices in Indian cooking- The Most Necessary Ones

Indian cuisine is one of the most diverse and complicated cuisines due to the large number of spices used in each dish. Indian spices are made­-up of dried, ground, and whole spices, basically herbs and spices. The top 15 spices in Indian cooking are coriander, cumin, mustard seed, and amchur, frequently used in most Indian dishes. In addition to these, we can also find other common and not-so-common spices like cardamom, pepper, fenugreek seeds, etc

Check out the top 15 spices in Indian cooking


Cumin is used for its distinctive aroma, which is associated with the color yellow. Cumin is frequently used in Indian cooking and gives most dishes an earthy flavor. It is sometimes ground along with coriander seed and then added to a dish with other spices called the “garam masala.”


Fenugreek seeds are used in Indian cooking to add a distinctive tangy, sweet and spicy flavor to many dishes. Many people aren’t familiar with it and use this spice sparingly – however, there’s no reason to limit your use of this unique spice. Here are some things you may not know about fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds have a bitter taste and a strong scent, which is why it is used as a spice in Indian cooking. It is also added to curries for its medicinal value, especially for its ability to help with digestion.


Turmeric is a root, and it’s used in curries and rice. It’s also used to dye cloth. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is believed to be good for the skin and can help with infections like ringworm or athlete’s foot. Turmeric has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, prevent inflammation, kill cancer cells, reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, ease menstrual pain and even improve memory!

A common misconception about turmeric is that it tastes bitter; however, this flavor can easily be masked by other spices such as ginger or cilantro (coriander). It is an essential and one of the regularly used spices in Indian cooking.


Asafoetida is a turmeric-like spice that has a pungent, sulfurous smell and should have no place in Indian cooking. Asafoetida is a spice that has got lots of health benefits. The chemical compound in asafoetida is also present in several other Indian herbs and vegetables. This is one of the most flavorsome spices in Indian cooking and has been used by many societies since ancient times as it brings out the flavor of any dish.

Asafoetida is a seasoning used in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine. It has a strong aroma and flavor, described as similar to garlic, onion, or leeks. Asafoetida has been used for millennia in traditional Indian cooking.

Curry leaves

Curry leaves are a key ingredient in curry powder, and can be found fresh or dried. Curry leaves are used in vegetable curries and seafood curries. They’re also used in pickles and chutneys, which have recently become very popular in the West. Curry leaves can be used to flavor a variety of dishes including soups, rice dishes, and stews; they’re often found in tandoori chicken recipes as well. These are always used in tempering any kind of Dal, chutney and hence it is one of the most important spices in Indian cooking.


Coriander is a herb that is widely used in Indian cooking. It is also used in many Asian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern dishes. Coriander leaves are known as cilantro, which you may have heard of before. They can be used fresh or dried to add a bit of flavor to your cooking. The seeds from the coriander plant have a milder taste than the leaves which can sometimes be bitter if not cooked properly; they are usually crushed or ground into powder form so you don’t have to worry about chewing on them!

Coriander has been around for thousands of years – it was cultivated as early as 1000 BC! In fact, it was such an important spice back then that soldiers would be paid with it rather than money because they wouldn’t go bad like cash would over time. It is basically one of the most prominent spices in Indian cooking. It is used in every dish as a cooking element or for garnish, even in Chutneys and dressings.


Lemon refers to both the fruit and the juice extracted from it. Lemons are a rich source of Vitamin C and contain limonene, a compound that has been found to have anti-carcinogenic properties. Lemons are used extensively in Indian cooking. Lemon juice is mainly used in Indian cooking to add a tangy flavor to foods, especially fish, chicken, and potatoes. Lemons are a great addition to any kitchen. The acid in them creates both flavor and texture in food.

A lemon is always served with many Indian breakfast dishes to just pump up the overall flavor of the dish or simply to reduce the spiciness.


Garlic is one of the most versatile spices in Indian food. It can be used to flavor curries, pickles, sauces, and marinades. Garlic powder also features many spice blends like sambar powder or garam masala.

Garlic has been cultivated in India for centuries, but its use as a culinary herb was initially limited to seasoning foods rather than being eaten raw; the latter practice became common only after its introduction to Europe by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Green chilli

The green chilli is one of the most popular spices in Indian cuisine. It’s used in a variety of dishes including chutneys and pickles. These hot peppers are also extremely nutritious, providing a good source of vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, and even calcium!

In addition to being delicious on their own or mixed into curries, they can be dried out to make pepper flakes (also known as ground red pepper). You can then add these to any dish for extra spice or sprinkle them on foods like hummus or guacamole for added flavor.

Red Chilli

Red chilli is one of the most used ingredients in Indian cooking. The red color comes from a pigment called capsaicin, which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Chillis are great for reducing body heat, promoting metabolism, and boosting immunity. They are also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Red chilli is a very aromatic spice. The use of red chilli in Indian food makes the food tasty, hot and spicy. It is also used as a garnish on many dishes


Ginger is a rhizome that comes from the ginger plant. It’s used in many Indian curries, as well as other Asian cuisines. Ginger is a very strong spice with a very mild flavor to it; it pairs well with bolder spices like turmeric and cayenne pepper (which you can read more about below).

Ginger has many health benefits: it relieves nausea, helps with digestion, and eases stomach pain. If you have a cold or sore throat, try taking some freshly grated ginger—it’ll kill your sickness faster than any medicine!


Tamarind is a fruit that comes from the tamarind tree. Tamarind is used in many Indian dishes, such as chutneys and curries. It’s also used to make drinks, like lassi (a yogurt-based drink), and chaas (a buttermilk-based drink).

Tamarind adds a sweet-and-sour flavor to food and drinks. There are two kinds of tamarind: one that you can use in cooking and another that’s used for medicine.

Salt and pepper – the universal spices!

Salt and pepper are the universal spices. They are used in many cuisines to enhance the flavor of food, season it and add texture. This applies not only to savory dishes but also to desserts.

Salt is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking as its taste is enhanced by other ingredients such as lemon juice, or yogurt while pepper makes a dish spicier.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are used in Indian cooking and are also hailed in dishes from the Indian subcontinent. Sometimes they are dry roasted to bring out their flavor and then ground into a paste with a little water to make what is known as “paste” or “mixture.” Mustard seeds are commonly used in Indian cooking to make sauces, condiments, and pickles. Mustard seeds are used as a spice to add flavor and a pungent aroma to Indian dishes. It is one of the top spices in Indian cooking which helps make curries tasty, hot, and spicy.


I hope this article has helped you understand the importance and use of spices in Indian cuisine. If you are new to Indian food or have been using only a few of these spices, I would encourage you to try the others and see if they suit your taste buds. These 15 spices in Indian cooking are a must in every household for all types of recipes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *