Traditional and Innovative Indian Cuisine
Many of us are familiar with India’s cuisine and love the herbs & spices used to flavour the food. Here we will take a look at some of the herbs & spices from India used by our chefs at the Maharajah Restaurant, such as cardamom, fennel and turmeric as well as the spice blends of curry and garam masala.
We hope you find the list informative and also helpful in making your choice from our menu.
Indian Herbs & Spices
ANISEED is highly aromatic and has a sweetish scent and flavour. It is a medicinal plant that is used for curing colds, coughs, sleeplessness, piles and stomach ache.
BASIL is revered as a sacred herb in India. There are 40 varieties, but the most common is the bush basil.
BAY LEAF is mainly used in pilau (rice) and a few curries.
CARDAMONS These are dried aromatic pods of plants containing small seeds, which have a pleasant aroma. Regarded as a cardiotonic and expectorant, the seeds can also be chewed as breath freshener.
CINNAMON is the dried bark of the cinnamon tree. It is moderately pungent and sweet in taste. It is a tonic as well as an antiseptic. It also helps to lower high blood pressure.
CLOVES A powerful antiseptic and is used as a culinary spice. Indians valued cloves highly as a breath freshener as well as a painkiller for toothache, long before clove oil became popular remedy in the Western World.
CORIANDER SEED Traditionally recommended as a diuretic; a digestive aid by Indian physicians, it is said to enhance male potency.
CUMIN It is the seed of an annual herb and is a member of the parsley family, it is used whole or in powder form.
FENNEL SEED This spice is an excellent aid for flatulence, stimulates the liver and improves digestion. It is also helpful for kidney stones.
FENUGREEK Its seeds have a pleasantly bitter taste and are copiously used as an ingredient in pickle masalas. Its green leaves are rich in iron, calcium and sulphur, and are extensively used in Indian cooking.
GARAM MASALA Certain spices blended, powdered and used for ‘piping up’ the curries. Added either after the curries are done or during the cooking process.
GARLIC Valued for its flavour and ability to combine with other ingredients, this is regarded as a very good immune booster, and a powerful antibiotic as well as an aid to digestion.
GINGER Originated in India. A sovereign root to ward off colds and flu, and is effective against pain. Good for the blood circulation and helps relieve any joint aches; also relieves sore throats and head colds, not to mention its aphrodisiac properties.
MACE It is the aril or inner coating of the nutmeg. It is scarlet in colour and its favour resembles that of the nutmeg. Its flakes are crushed and added to Masala powder.
MUSTARD Kills germs, removes gastric distension and is also a very good decongestant. Soaking your feet in hot water with a little mustard powder can unblock a head cold and soothe headache.
NUTMEG The dried seed of an aromatic tree, mainly found in Kerela. It has a very strong flavour and is added with caution to curry powders.
SAFFRON An expensive and exotic pistil of a flower (grown in the Kashmir Valley). This spice has a great reputation as a stimulant: it is very rejuvenating and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
TAMARIND Is a very good palette-enhancer, and is excellent for digestion.
TURMERIC It is the root of a plant, which is boiled and powdered. It adds colour and flavour to the curries. This spice reduces fat, purifies and helps circulate blood, enhances body colour and is an effective antiseptic.
YOGHURT During the past few decades, the West has woken up to the excellent health qualities of yoghurt, but in India, yoghurt has been used for thousands of years on food and as a meat tenderiser. It helps lower cholesterol, prevents common digestive tract ailments, reduces hypertension and enhances the immune system.
Indian Cookery Aids
KARAHI / BALTI A curved, stainless steel or iron pan akin to a ‘wok’ used by Indian cooks.
TAWA A skillet or griddle made of stainless steel or cast iron and used for making paratha or chapattis.
TAN DOOR Tandoori cooking is recognized as the most flavourful and healthy cuisine. This method is, in fact a combination of grilling, baking and smoking simultaneously, and thus creates a unique tandoori flavour unmatched by any other technique.
SIZZLER A cast iron skillet heated on a high flame until hot, used to put food on with a smoky presentation.
- Indian Style
- Madras – very hot
- Vindaloo – very very hot
- Tindaloo – very very very hot
- Fal – WARNING! Extremely hot