Indian cooking does not rely on expensive ingredients or elaborate technique but on the specialist art of combining spices and ingredients to create a delicate blend that gives each dish its unique taste. India produces a wide range of spice. At present, India produces around 3.2 million tones of different spices. Valued at approximately 4 billion US$, and holds a prominent position in world spice production.
Asafetida is a dried, resinous gum obtained from the stem and rhizomes of three species of the Ferula (giant fenne) plant. Although available in 'tears' and 'lumps', it is most commonly found in powdered form. Asafetida has a very strong, pungent smell and the flavor mellows as it is fried in oil. When cooked, it has a truffle- like flavor and a roasted garlic aroma.
In India it is grown in almost all states but cultivated in large scale in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Gujrat, Rajisthan and Himachal Pradesh. The seed dried with pulp is used as a spice in many dishes. The fruit juice is cooling and refrigerant.
BLACK ONION SEED/KALONJI/NIGELLA SATIVA
These seeds are taken from the Nigella flower. They are small, matt black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior. NIGELLA seeds are widely used in Indian cuisine, particularly in mildly braised dishes such as 'Korma'. The seeds are used in the preparation of Garam masalas and are one of the five spices in the Indian spice mixture, punch phoron.
Cardamom is the sweetly flavored, cooling and expensive spice. India is perhaps the oldest and the most prolific producer. Cardamom is an aromatic and flavoring agent. The taste is lemony and flowery, with a note of camphor or eucalyptus due to cineole in the essential oil. It is used in many Indian cusine and in flavoring of tea.
Large cardamom is cultivated in the sub Himalayan region of North Eastern India, Nepal and Bhutan. It is grown in cold humid conditions. It is used as the flavourant in dishes like 'Pulau', 'Biriyani' and meat preparations. It is an ingredient in 'Curry Powder' and Spice Masala Mixtures and is also used in Ayurvedic and Unani Medicines. It has application in flavoring cola, biscuits, liquors.