10 Spices You Need For Indian Cooking That Aren’t Curry Powder

Curry is likely the first dish that springs to mind when you think of Indian food, but rest assured that it’s just the beginning of the spiciest menu! As diverse as the nation itself, Indian spices range from onion-like asafoetida and tangy dry mango powder to the fragrant cardamom and flavorful cumin. Some ingredients must be added right at the start of the cooking process, while others are best added at the finish, when the meal is almost done. The best thing, though? You may use all these amazing spices into your own recipes to give your food an Indian flair. These ten spices, which are not curry powder, are essential for Indian cooking.

cardamom indigo

If you enjoy Indian food, you are well aware of how green cardamom pods can transform a meal. But now let us introduce you to its darker sibling, black cardamom! It has a strong, earthy flavor that pairs well with rice pudding and other sweet foods like fried rice. You can totally embrace the dark side by making a delicious kheer dessert using black cardamom and black rice. For added flavor, don’t forget to add some bay leaves.


Since mace is made from the same plant as nutmeg and has a flavor that is somewhat similar to nutmeg but different, if you enjoy nutmeg you will likely also enjoy it. It’s considerably sweeter, less potent, and includes overtones of cinnamon, making it the perfect spice for sweet recipes. However, you may apply it to anything! Mace tastes fantastic in sweet baked goods, but you can also use it to flavor an Indian-inspired potato stew.


Tamarind is frequently utilized in South Indian recipes as well as Southeast Asian cuisine. Because of its distinctive sweet-sour flavor, it is ideal for making mouthwatering chutneys, sauces, and gravies for a variety of foods. Make a creamy paste out of it to add to your fried vegetables or use it to make a tamarind-based pumpkin curry. There are countless options!


Amchoor, sometimes referred to as simply “mango powder,” is a dried green mango powder with a zesty flavor that has undertones of citrus. For a fruity tang and a touch of freshness in your dish, use it in place of that dash of lime juice or vinegar you’re so used to. We advise you to try it with the classic South Indian parathas, while it also pairs well with gravies and sauces. Simply delicious!

brown salt

Black salt is the ideal component for you if you’re not scared to explore with powerful scents. This kind of salt is a fantastic component for vegan eggless foods to fool your taste senses because it offers a peculiar sulfuric flavor reminiscent of boiled eggs. This salt is a component in chaat masala, an Indian snack spice blend. You can still apply it however you like! We advise you to top some of it with thin slices of parmesan and serve it with fried asparagus.

seeds for mustard

We’re all familiar with yellow mustard seeds, but if you want to master Indian cooking, choose the black varieties instead. They have a stronger flavor and can be used in a wide range of meals other than, well, mustard. In hot oil, add some mustard seeds, and wait until they begin to pop and release their peppery flavor. After that, you can continue cooking by adding rice, veggies, or this oil to soups and salads. You could try the traditional rice dish made with lime and turmeric, which pairs excellently with mustard seeds.


Despite its diminutive size, coriander is highly aromatic and has an oddly nutty, even fruity fragrance. You should definitely try using it with biryani, stir-fried noodles, or the traditional Indian sauce, mint chutney, as it is one of the most frequently used spices in Indian cooking. This delicious sauce pairs especially well with South Indian foods like masala dosa and idli, but it combines well with various sorts of snacks.

curry sauce

Curry leaves give Indian food a highly herbaceous, lemongrass-like scent. They go well with green sabji, curries, and soups. Try them with traditional Sambhaar and a Goan-style shrimp curry with a ton of other spices.


Cumin is your best friend if you want a flavour that is really Indian. Most Indian cuisines use this flavorful spice, which has a potent earthy aroma and may be mixed with a variety of different flavors. In fact, cumin is a component of the majority of spice blends available in supermarkets and spice shops in India. Because of this, you must try it! The classic lentil soup known as dal, which tastes great with rice and roti, can be prepared using cumin.


Although turmeric has become very popular recently, that doesn’t make it any less significant when it comes to Indian food. Any meal will look and taste absolutely fantastic because to its many antioxidants and subtle but distinct flavor. Try it with foods like fried rice and fish curry, and for an additional health boost, mix it with hot lemon-ginger-honey tea.


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