7 Common Spices Indian Cooking Use

Bold Flavours, Delicious Food

Indian food is one of the most popular choices all over the world. That is because it is full of bold flavours and delicious food. But what makes Indian food so yummy? 

Well, firstly, let me start by saying Indian spices vary all across the country. The meals you find in places like Kerala (South India) vary massively to Mumbai or Dehli. The spices Indian cooking uses are versatile. That allows you to taste many different flavours from the same ingredients. 

So if the spices are similar, how do the meals taste so different? Well, this is because freshness, combinations and preferences vary. However, if you are interested in the spices Indian cooking uses, you cannot go wrong by stocking up on these 7 common ingredients.


You will find that cumin is one of the most common spices in Indian cooking. That is because of its fragrant taste. Cumin is a type of seed that releases aromatic flavours when lightly heated. Plus, it is one of the main ingredients of Garam Masala.

You can grind cumin into a fine powder or use the seeds whole. If you smell these seeds, you may notice a fragrance often associated with Indian cooking.


Coriander and cumin tend to go hand in hand. That is because the flavours of these two Indian spices work so well together. Coriander seeds have a sweet, nutty aroma that provides a fresh zest to a dish. 

You may also notice that fresh coriander leaves or cilantro are frequent additions at the end of cooking. That is because fresh coriander can bring all the flavours together, helping finish the dish.


Cardamom is a punchy spice that can be overwhelming in large amounts. However, with the right use, cardamom can add a unique flavour to each curry.

You may use cardamom pre-ground or as pods. You will get more flavour by using the pods and lightly frying them at the start of cooking with spices like bay leaves. Cardamom can add a sweet, citrus flavour to your Indian cooking.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are a common Indian spice. They provide a subtle earthy flavour that is best when allowed to cook for long periods. Because the bay leaves do not break down, you should remove them before eating. 

Some people tend to argue that bay leaves offer no flavour to cooking. However, bay leaves offer subtle flavours that add to the overall taste of a dish.


Often associated with deserts or hot chocolate, cinnamon is a common spice Indian kitchens use. That is due to the warming sweet flavours cinnamon gives off. Cinnamon sticks offer the most flavour and release more taste when added at the start of cooking. 

Be sure to remove cinnamon sticks before eating unless you enjoy eating bark.


Turmeric is a golden spice that is part of the ginger family. It provides a nutty, earthy flavour to curries. Plus, it is often what gives curries that yellowish colour.

Although you can find turmeric root in local international markets, turmeric is much easier to use as a powder.


Cloves provide an intense flavour that is warming and similar to cinnamon. These bold spices can be overwhelming in large quantities. However, cloves are a great way of adding a range of sweet, bitter flavours to curries. Plus, they are often paired with cinnamon and nutmeg to draw out more flavour. 

Much like a lot of these Indian spices, cloves are best-used whole. You should remove them before eating unless you want to taste a pungent, bitter clove with your delicious curry.

Get Creative

Indian cooking involves a variety of spices. They are one of the best cultures for creating exciting, flavourful recipes. Once you get a feeling for how you like your curries, you can mix and match your spices. Try adding a little more cinnamon or taking out the cloves completely. 

Cooking is all about trying new and exciting flavours. Do not be afraid of trying something new. You may find that it becomes a regular meal in your kitchen.

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