Green Cardamom (Choti Elaichi) There are three kinds of cardamom black, green and white. Traditionally, In Pakistani and Indian cooking uses only black and green cardamoms. Green cardamom is smaller and softer than black cardamom. The seeds are used as whole, ground or with pods. Cardamom pods contain fragrant seeds, used throughout the world in both savory and sweet dish. Meat, rice and dessert dishes use cardamom as one of the main spices. Cardamoms are also essential parts of spice mixtures such as Garam Masala. Beside Pakistani and Indian, cardamom is also use in Scandinavian food such cakes, pastry, pickles and also used in middle east. Cardamoms are perennial bush that flourishes in warm temperatures.
Flavour: Cardamoms gives distinct sweet, pleasing and slightly lemon like flavor.
Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi) This larger, dark brown variety is particularly used for flavouring meat, poultry and rice dishes. The inner seeds are often used for making Garam Masala. This spice is coarser in flavour and larger in size than the green cardamom.
Flavour: Is blunter than the green, with eucalyptus and camphor suggestions very pronounced.
Tej Patta: The leaf of the Cinnamon or Tej Patta tree, similar in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark but milder. In appearance, it is similar to the bay leaf but it's effect is quite different. True Tej Patta leaves impart a strong cassia - or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf's aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.
Pakistani and Indian grocery stores usually carry true Tej Patta leaves. The dry, light green coloured, long aromatic leaves have a sharp, bitter taste. The whole leaves are used to impart a wonderful flavour but hard to chew and are removed at the time of eating.
Flavour: Strongly aromatic, somewhat reminiscent to cinnamon or cassia.
Black Pepper (Kali Mirch) Black peppercorn, is a common spice in Pakistani and Indian cooking.
Black peppercorns can be used whole or in powdered form as the recipe demands.
Whole black peppercorn is roasted and ground with other spices to make powders like garam masala. It is also used tempered with ghee in biryanis, pulaos, dals and curries.
Flavour: fruity, floral aromas but stronger, spicier tastes.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) There are two types of cumin seeds: White cumin or light brown (its same) just called jeera and black called (shah jeera). Jeera used widely in Pakistani and Indian cuisine. The oblong, brown-coloured cumin seed is one of the most popular spices in the world, thanks to its distinctive aroma.
Regular cumin seeds used for tadka (tempering) or as a garnish when it is dry roasted and coarsely ground and then sprinkled on yogurt salads (raita), salads or other dishes to add an enhance the flavor and aroma or alternatively drizzle over cooked vegetables. Also used to marinades for grilling and barbecues.
Black cumin seeds is known for its many medinal uses. Its tiny, about 3mm long, and is hairy.
Flavour: White Cumin has a sharp, warmly and slightly bitter
Flavour: Black cumin is darker and sweeter than ordinary cumin. The seed’s aroma is earthy and heavy, not pleasant at all. On frying or cooking, the taste changes to nutty.
Cumin seeds do look a lot like caraway seeds, but the flavours are completely different.
Rai or Sarson (mustard seeds) Mustard seeds can be white, yellow, black or brown, and are derived from three different plants. Black or brown mustard seeds are widely used in Pakistani and Indian cooking for tadka (tempering), added into chutneys and crused one used for pickling. Also used in powder form (mustard powder)
Flavour: The black seeds are exceedingly pungent; white seeds tend to be much milder but can have the fieriness of the black, depending on how they’re prepared.
Cinnamon (Dalchini) Real cinnamon, which is found in the form of a scroll, is available in most supermarkets and has a more delicate flavour than Cassia bark, which is more predominately used in Pakistani and Indian cuisine. It gives a sweet and mellow flavour to a dish. Although it is generally used in many desserts of the World's cuisines, it is mostly used in curries and Pulaos. It gives a dish a very rich flavour.
Flavour: Sweet, warm and aromatic.
Cloves (Laving) They are the dried flower buds of the clove tree. They are used in many meat dishes, marinades, pickles and in "garam masalas". It is used whole or in powder form.
Flavour: Sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic.
Red Chillies (Lal Mirch) Red chilli powder can set the taste buds on fire, and sometimes the tummy too! It is basically a spice blend consisting of one or two types of dried red chillies that are ground and pulverized into a fine powder. It is generally used to add spice to otherwise bland foods.
Chilli powder is commonly used in Pakistani and Indian cuisine to make foods spicier. Used it moderation it adds a lovely red glow and sharp flavour to dishes without making it unpalatable.
Flavour: Comes in mild, hot and hotter flavours
Coriander (Dhania) All parts of the plant are edible, fresh leaves are used for garnishing and making chutneys. The leaves have a different taste from the seeds. It should not be confused with culantro.
These seeds are used as either whole, chrushed or ground. The ground coriander powder is also part of spice mixture such as garam masala. Usually coriander seeds are roasted before grounding and whole seeds are roasted or fried before use. The grounded coriander seeds would lose its flavor soon so the best option is to use fresh or store in air tight container. These seeds are used in many spice mixtures, curries, vegetable dishes and pickles.
Coriander powder is an indispensable item in the Pakistani and Indian spice box. It change the colour and texture of the dish. The aromatic fragrance enhances the taste of the dish.
Flavor: Coriander seeds has a warm,nutty, spicy and subtle flavour with a slight citrus
Cumin Seeds Powder (Jeera) The oblong, brown-coloured cumin seed is one of the most popular spices in the world, thanks to its distinctive aroma. It can be used raw, but is generally dry roasted or fried in oil to enhance the flavour and aroma.
Cumin Seed Powder (Jeera powder) is very commonly used in Pakistani and Indian cooking. It is one of the main ingredients in preparing "garam masala"
Flavour: Sharp, warmly and slightly bitter
Tumeric Powder (Haldi) comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a leafy plant related to ginger.
Tumeric is an essential spice used in Asian cooking of its digestive properties and it is mildly antiseptic. In some of the Asian countries they use fresh. In Pakistani, Indian and Kashmiri cooking it is used almost in every dish in a powder form. It has a bright yellow colour. Although it becomes bitter if too much used.
To make powder It’s a long process, since it’s hard to grind dry turmeric root.
Flavour: Pungent, warm, earthy and bitter