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10 spices that you need to have to cook Indian food in Singapore


Considering Indian cuisine simply would be nothing short of a mistake! Indian cuisine is expansive – the flavors and recipes change every few kilometers and every family might have their own secret tips and tricks and spice blends that makes their food unique and delicious. If one were to say that spices are the soul of Indian food, it wouldn’t be wrong and when you come to shop at Waangoo, the leading destination for online grocery shopping in Singapore, you will be able to shop for all these spices and more. 

It is interesting to note there is a long and elaborate history of spices in India and Indian cuisine – not only is there an abundance of the same in the country and subcontinent, there are also several reasons for the usage of the same. While many were used for their medicinal and healing properties, some were also used because they were considered suitable for a certain weather. Understanding the basic nature of the spices is what can lead to the mastery of the same and allow you to cook with aplomb! 

What are the basic spices for Indian cooking 

So, if you were a non-Indian, living in Singapore who loves Indian food and wants to experiment, you wouldn’t want to go and buy every spice on the racks. After all, a typical Indian household might be using more than 40 spices in a regular day! 

It would be a good idea to understand the most commonly used spices and pick small packs of the same and when you become a lot more familiar with them, you can always order more from Waangoo

Here are the top 10 spices used in kitchens of India that you can try out too:

  1. Turmeric – When you think of Indian food, one of the most prominent spices that you would think of has to be turmeric. Not only does it provide food with an earthy flavour, a distinctive golden yellow colour and antibacterial properties, it is also a truly effective remedy for a range of health issues. From treating coughs and colds to being an effective first aid for basic cuts and burns, turmeric is basically a rhizome that resembles fresh ginger. 
  2. Chilli – Think Indian food and you think of hot! Not just in terms of actual heat, but also because how spicy it can be and that spice comes from chillies. One of the most basic spices for Indian cooking, you will find a range of chillies – from fresh green ones to dried red ones; there is the pungent red chilli and there is the Kashmiri chilli, which is known more for the colour than heat. You can crush the dried red chillies for a milder heat, while powdering them will give you that higher spice! 
  3. Coriander – If you are thinking of fresh green leaves, you would not be completely wrong; however, when you are talking about Indian spices, it is actually the coriander seeds that are being referred to. Coriander seeds are known to be small in size, extremely earthy almost grassy smelling and having a distinctive flavour too. While coriander seeds can be used as is in cooking, whole or just crushed, it is coriander powder uses in cooking that are much more prominent. 
  4. Cumin – From tempering dals and curries to being ground to a fine powder to flavour yoghurt and chaats, cumin is an integral part of the Indian spice rack. The cumin used in food in India is normally a small seed, which is often dry roasted to give out a stronger aroma and slightly bitter flavour. Jeera or cumin is also an essential element of the famed garam masala and is recognised for the earthy fragrance. 
  5. Fenugreek – Not a lot of people would know but the word fenugreek means Greek hay and although it might not be a regularly used spice in Greece, it is one of the most common ones in India. Like turmeric, fenugreek used in cooking owes its position of importance to its medicinal properties and flavour profile. This slightly bitter flavoured seed finds use all over India – so, while in southern states of India, it is an integral part of the idli-dosa batter, in the northern states, you will find its presence in almost all pickles. It is believed that regular consumption of fenugreek seeds can help control sugar levels. 
  6. Mustard seeds – Ask any south Indian cook and they will tell you that food is incomplete without a tempering of mustard seeds! The moment these tiny seeds hit hot oil, there is a loud spluttering and what is released is an enigma of flavours and scents – mustard is essential in Indian kitchens, not only for its basic form, but also to be ground into pastes and even for its oil. 
  7. Black pepper – There was once a time when traders from all over the world arrived on the shores of India, because they wanted what is still known as black gold! The pepper that comes from the state of Kerala is recognised globally for its potent flavour and distinctive fragrance. Experts will tell you that pepper tends to hit the tip of the tongue and offers a softer, more gentle heat. Pepper is also known for its medicinal properties – from curing the common cold to settling a queasy stomach, there is much that this little black spice can do! 
  8. Asafoetida – Even though not native to India, asafoetida is perhaps most extensively consumed in India! From reducing flatulence and aiding in digestion, this umami flavoured spice is often used as a replacement for garlic. This is one spice that finds usage in literally every Indian kitchen and the moment it hits ghee or oil, the aromas that emanate are exquisite! 
  9. Bay leaf – If you have ever tried the garam masala used in Indian cooking, then you have used bay leaf! This dried leaf has a warm flavour and can add an incredible profile to any food. Most Indian biriyanis and non-vegetarian dishes would be considered incomplete without this humble leaf. 
  10. Tamarind – Even though most people would not consider it a spice, tamarind actually is! The sweet and tangy flavour is unmissable and is integral to Indian cooking. Whether it is being used to add a sour element to a south Indian sambar or to create a tangy chutney for a chaat, tamarind is also a spice that will be found in most Indian kitchens.  

At Waangoo, the foremost online grocery delivery service in Singapore, you can find everything you need to prepare an entire Indian feast! 

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