Red Chilli Powder

The Beginner Cook’s Guide to Popular Indian Spices

India is home to a vast population of people who belong to very different and diverse cultures – and it’s a well-known fact that culture has a huge implication on the cuisine of a particular area!

Indian cuisine comprises of a variety of foods that have been tinkered with by people over time to suit their taste buds. But that said, a typical dish will always be full of flavorful spices that will tingle your taste buds. Some dishes can be very spicy, but in all cases, Indian herbs spices can be found in use as both seasonings and garnishes.

There are some dishes that hit so close to home that they cannot be altered in any way. Some of these spicy dishes include chaat, pani puri and daal. Chaat, daal and other spicy dishes have to be devoured with roti or naan bread.

In addition, there are some specific spices that are purely Indian – without them, no Indian food would the way it’s supposed to. The number one spice without which any spicy Indian dish is considered incomplete is red chilli powder.

How is Red Chilli Powder Made?

This spice is made by grinding dried red chillies to a powder form. It is also sometimes called cayenne pepper. Red chilli powder gives a strong and intense spicy flavor to the food – giving that typical kick to an otherwise bland dish. Most Indians have strong taste buds and are used to having this spice in their food, though you can easily tone down the spicy flavor by adding just a little bit of the powder to any dish you’re preparing.

Red Chilli Powder

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Red chilli powder is also used for adding the spicy flavour to various Indian dishes. This spice has a tendency to get absorbed into the food and give it a deliciously amazing aroma and sizzling taste. This wonderful spice has the ability to turn very colorless and unappetizing dishes into tasty ones – it’s a definite must for any good Indian entree or appetizer!

Turmeric Powder

Another commonly used spice in Indian cuisine is turmeric powder. This spice is yellow in color and has a very fine, powdery texture. Turmeric powder doesn’t have much to do with the taste of a dish – instead, it’s usually added to enhance the color of the food on the plate, as the presentation and look of a dish matter as much as its taste.

Turmeric powder is also believed to have many healing properties. In fact, many people have been known to have this spice paired with milk as a way to cure illnesses.

It is also used as one of the most important ingredients in daal, kadhi and many other dishes. Even though it does not do much to the taste, this spice is still one of the most important ones in Indian cuisine.

Garam Masala

Next, up there is the most impactful spice, or – shall I say – combination of spices. This one is called garam masala, and it’s made by grinding together black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds.

Garam masala is the sort of spice that is often used in addition to red chilli powder in order to enhance the spicy flavors of a dish. Its flavor is not subtle in anyway – if you’ve ever tried a dish with garam masala in it, you would immediately feel its taste in your mouth. The most dominating taste in this spice is that of cloves and black pepper, making its bold flavor a popular addition to many recipes.


Last but not the least is coriander (dhaniya), which is mostly used for topping/garnishing. Coriander gives a fresh aroma and feel to a dish. It is used as one of the major ingredients in the famous chutneys that are popular in many regions of the country, giving a beautiful and lively green tinge to the dishes that it is added to.

Whether you’re a beginning chef or a more experienced cook, you can experiment with all of these different spices in order to find a flavor profile that appeals to you. With a few tries, you should be able to come up with something that’s rich in both flavor and aroma.

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