Role of Spices in Meal Preparation
Appropriate and adequate amount of spices can give not only good taste to a meal, but also good aroma while serving the meal.
It’s said that Cristopher Columbus discovered America in searching for Indian spices. Vasco da Gama was the Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea for searching for Indian Spices. Spices are integral part of good taste in all the curries in the world.
For an Indian meal, curry is the integral part. If the curry is good in taste, then the meal is enjoyable. If it is not, then it leads to dissatisfaction. Hence, it is mandatory to add well prepared spices in food.
In India, the taste varies from east to west and north to south. Even every state is having different preparation of same curry using different spices. Also, the different taste of same curry can be found district wise in a state. For example, the preparation fish curry in Odisha is totally different from West Bengal. Similarly, the taste of chicken curry is totally different in South India from North India. This is mainly due to addition of different kind of spices. Also, preparation style contributes a bit. However, main contribution of differentiation is because of usage of spices.
Spices can be categorized as earthy smell and fragrance of flowers and fruits.
The earthy smell spices are:
- Corrander seed (dhania)
- White cumin seed (jeera)
- Black cumin seed (shahi jeera)
- Black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- Black pepper (kali mirch)
The fragrance of flowers and fruits spices are:
- Cinnamon stick (dalchini)
- Stone flower (Pathar ka phul)
- Green cardamom (hari elaichi)
- Cloves (long)
- Star anise (Chakriful)
- Mace (jabitri)
- Bay leaves (tez patta)
- Fenugreek leaves (kasturi methi)
- Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
Based on above ingredients various spices like Garam Masala, Curry Powder, Meat Masala, Fish Masala, Chicken Masala, etc. are prepared. Other ingredients like poppy seed, muster seed, chilly, channa dal powder, etc. are used in various parts in India.
To get the original aroma from the spices, it is advisable to dry properly under the sun before grinding.
Spices are the most remarkable ingredients of the Indian Cuisine. In the absence of spices, the exotic flavors of the Indian food will go missing. The Indian food is getting popular because of usage of spices.