When we talk about gun powder at our Bellevue Indian restaurant, we are talking about the distinctive blend of spices that makes Indian food so popular. Spices, or masala, as they are known in India, are an important part of the culinary tradition throughout the country, with a rich variety of different regional and seasonal blends. Though many spices are used in such blends, the following comprise ten of the most important:
A pungent gum extruded from the the roots of a perennial Indian herb. It appears in some curry blends, and gives a unique flavor to the rasams and sambars of South Indian cuisine.
Known as the Queen of Spices, this is the dried fruit harvested from the cardamom plant. It represents an important part of India’s garam masala, or “hot spices”.
This familiar spice is a native to India, derived from the bark of an Indian evergreen tree. Cinnamon powder and oil is used in curry blends, pulao, and biryanis.
Made from the seeds of the Mediterranean coriander plant, coriander powder has a sweet, delicate taste. You may also know this spice as cilantro.
You can expect to find a small degree of cumin in any curry powder. This aromatic powder is made from the seeds of a tropical herb.
The leaves of the curry tree should not be confused with curry spice blends, though it will occasionally appear in such blends. These leaves are important in many South Indian dishes.
Mustard is important in a South Indian cooking technique called tadka, where whole seeds are cooked in oil to achieve a heightened flavor.
Red Chili Powder
Ever since it was introduced to India from South America, red chili powder was embraced as the king of spices. This is the spice that gives red curry powder its color.
This sour paste comes from the fruit of the Madagascan tamarind tree. It is used frequently as a condiment in India.
This bright yellow spice, related to ginger, is a key component of curry powder. It is responsible for much of the sauce’s blend.