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Cooking Spices

Our product range comtains a wide range of Cardamom Powder, Cinnamon Powder, Toasted Onion Powder, Ginger Powder and Cloves Powder

Cardamom Powder

A Brief Introduction Cardamom, an aromatic spice is a member of the ginger family Elettaria cardamomum. This small pungent seed is used worldwide for flavouring variety of items including coffee, curries and desserts. It is one of the most valued spices of the world and was the principal item of trade in the ancient world. A native to the East, it has its origin in the forests of the western ghats in southern India. This spice also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Tanzania.   There are the two main genera of the ginger family ‘Zingiberaceae’ that are named as forms of cardamom, namely Elettaria and Amomum. Both varieties take the form of a small seedpod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds. Elettaria pods are light green in color, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.   There are many inferior substitutes are available from cardamom-related plants like Siam Cardamom, Nepal Cardamom, Winged Java Cardamom, and Cardamom. Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom are the two major varieties of Indian cardamom. Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand.   Cardamom Plant Cardamom is a perennial herb that can reach a height of between 2 to almost 6 m.  The sword shaped leaves of the plant are dark green in colour which are about 2 inches long. The small, yellowish flowers grow in loose racemes on prostrate flower stems. The fruit has 3 chambers filled with small aromatic seeds, each about 3 mm long. It is better to store the fruit in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour.   Cardamom grows in the tropics, wild and in plantations. It is traditionally grown in partially cleared tropical rain forests, leaving some shade. The plant requires humid and moderately cool climate, filtered sunlight obtained from tree canopy, humus rich soil, well-distributed rainfall and protection from heavy winds   History of Cardamom For centuries this sweet and aromatic spice has been widely used for its pleasing aroma and medicinal properties. The medical compendium Charaka Samhita written between the 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD refers to it as an ingredient in some preparations. Cardamom is also mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC in a treatise on politics called Kautilya’s Arthashasthra and in Taitirriya Samhita where it is used in offerings during ceremonies. Cardamom was used as a tooth cleaner by the ancient Egyptians and as a perfume by the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks around the 4th century B.C highly valued the cardamom as a culinary spice and as a base for herbal medicines. Cardamom trade was an important part trade links between India and the Mediterranean region.   Culinary Uses Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. This sweet spice is used as flavorings in both food and drink. It features in curries, is essential in pilaus (rice dishes) and gives character to pulse dishes. Cardamom is a major ingredient in Indian sweet dishes and drinks. This spice is often used in pickles, especially pickled herring; in punches and mulled wines; and sometimes with meat, poultry and shellfish. A mild stimulant, cardamom is also chewed habitually (like nuts) where freely available, as in the East Indies, and in the Indian masticory, betel pan. It is a flavouring for Arab and Turkish coffee which is served with an elaborate ritual. It is often used in baking in Scandinavia. The French use it in their demi-tasse. Cardamom added to milk neutralizes its mucus forming properties and it detoxifies caffeine in coffee. Medicinal Properties Cardamom is widely used to bring relief from digestive problems in Ayurveda. Though they are not used in western medicines for their medicinal properties, but are used as a flavouring agent for medicinal preparations. In the ancient world, cardamom was used to bring relief from digestive problems. In India, green cardamom is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.

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Cinnamon Powder

  • English Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon
  • French Cannelle
  • German Ceylonzimt, Kaneel

A Brief Introduction Cinnamon is a small tropical evergreen tree which grows 10–15 meters (32.8–49.2 feet) tall, belonging to the family Lauraceae. The two main varieties of cinnamon are cinnamomum cassia and cinnamomum zeylanicum, grown widely in Sri Lanka, India, Java, Sumatra, the West Indies, Brazil, Vietnam and Madagascar. Its inner bark is widely used as a spice and there are as many as 250 different varieties are found across the globe. Due to its distinct odour, it is widely used as an important ingredient of many mouth watering dishes of the world.   The word cinnamon originates from the Greek word kinnámo-mon (meaning spice) and its botanical name ‘Cinnamomum Zeylanicum’, which is derived from Sri Lanka’s former name, Ceylon. People in West Asia were probably using cinnamon by about 1000 BC. In the Bible, it is being described as one of the spices used by Moses. Because of its health benefits, aromatic properties and scarcity, cinnamon was more precious than gold in the ancient world. The commercial products of cinnamon are quills, quillings, featherings, chips, cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil. Its flavour is due to an aromatic essential oil that makes up 0.5% to 1% of its composition.   Botanical Description Cinnamomum verum, a tropical evergreen tree, reaches a height of 8-17 m in the wild. It requires a warm and wet climate with no extremes of heat and cold. In an unharvested state, the trunk of a cinnamon plant is stout, 30-60 cm in diameter, with a thick, grey bark and the branches set low down. Cinnamon shrub are grown as bushes. Its leaves are stiffed, opposite and variable in their form and size. The young leaves of the flush are reddish, later turning dark green above with paler veins. The petiole of cinnamon plant is usually 1-2 cm long while the size of lamina is generally 5-18 x 3-10 cm, ovate or elliptic; base more or less rounded and the tip tends to be somewhat acuminate. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color, and have a distinct odor. Fruit a fleshy ovoid drupe, black, 1.5-2 cm long when ripe, with the enlarged calyx at the base.   History of Cinnamon in a Nutshell Cinnamomum zeylanicum or true cinnamon finds their description as’kwai’ in Chinese writings belonging to the period of 2800 B.C. Its botanical name derives from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning ‘a fragrant spice plant’ Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming proces, besides using them as medicines and aromatic spices In the ancient world, cinnamon was more precious than gold and other valuables Nero, emperor of Rome in the first century AD, burned a years supply of cinnamon on his wife’s funeral pyre — an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss Pliny the Elder, noted author, naturalist or natural philosopher of the first century A.D., wrote that 350 grams of cinnamon as being equal in value to over five kilograms of silver, about fifteen times the value of silver per weight Physicians belonding to the medieval period used cinnamon in medicines to treat various problems like coughing, hoarseness and sore throats In the 17th century, the Dutch seized the world’s largest cinnamon supplier, the island of Ceylon, from the Portuguese and established a system of cultivation that exists to this day In 1795, England seized Ceylon from the French, who had acquired it from their victory over Holland during the Revolutionary Wars However, by 1833, the downfall of the cinnamon monopoly had begun as its cultivation was started in other regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Mauritius and Guyana Cinnamon is now also grown in South America, the West Indies, and other tropical climates.   Cinnamon Oil Cinnamon oil is prepared by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in seawater, and then quickly distilling the whole. It is of a golden-yellow colour, with the characteristic odour of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste. The major chemical components of the essential oil includes ethyl cinnamate, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, beta-caryophyllene, linalool, and methyl chavicol. Cinnamon oil possess many medicinal properties and there are many uses for it. It is often used as a stimulant in paralysis of the tongue, or to deaden the nerve in a toothache. It contains three active components of acetic acid and alcohol along with a wide range of volatile compounds that help in a wide variety of symptoms and health conditions. Medicinal Uses Owing to its vast medicinal uses, cinnamon had found a prominent position in traditional medicines, especially in Ayurveda, the traditional healing system of India. It has been used in many cultures for treating a variety of health disorders including diarrhea, arthritis, menstrual cramps, heavy menstruation, yeast infections, colds, flu, and digestive problems. Being a rich source of magnesium, iron, and fibers, it is helpful in many ailments such as: It boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic It is helpful in removing blood impurities and is widely recommended by herbologist for the pimple treatment Cinnamon aids in the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound in it Due to the presence of antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is highly effective on external as well as internal infections The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon helps in preventing unwanted clumping of blood platelets Cinnamon has been found extremely useful in treating type 2 diabetes It is believed that the calcium and fiber contents in cinnamon provide protection against heart diseases It also improves the health of colon, thus, reducing the risk to colon cancer Regular consumption of cinnamon after child birth delays menstruation and thus helps in avoiding conception Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence Cinnamon is effective in providing relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping. Culinary Uses of Cinnamon It is used in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material Cinnamon is extensively used in cakes and other baked goods, milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts, particularly apples and pears It is widely used as an aromatic spice in preparing curries and pilaus It may be used to spice mulled wines, creams and syrups It is a very good mouth freshener and is used in preparing chewing gums to stop bad breath It also finds uses in flavored cereals and fruits, especially in USA. Use of Cinnamon in Religion Besides being used as a spice and medicine, cinnamon is also used for some religious purposes. Some people believe that burning cinnamon in incense will promote high spirituality and aid in healing. Its essential oil is often seen spiritually as used for protection by many people across the globe.

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Toasted Onion Powder

Onion powder, a spice made from ground dehydrated onions is used for seasoning in cooking. Many cooks of the world prefer onion powder to fresh onions because it is easier to handle, saves time and require no chopping or special treatment. Prepared from finely ground dehydrated onions, they contain very strong smell and last for a longer duration, if properly packaged and stored. Since bulb onions contain much of the flavor and distinctive aroma of the onion, they are widely used for preparing onion powder. Onion powder is a perfect condiment for taco mix, chili, barbeque rubs, salad dressings, dips, marinades, and as an addition to hamburgers.Onions are an inseparable ingredient in many dishes including soups, stews, meats of all kinds, salads, eggs, salsa, etc., but chopping of onions takes lot of time and effort. Since onion powder is a easy substitute for fresh onions and a tea spoon of onion powder is capable of providing the nutty, and slightly sweet flavor of a medium sized onion, it is widely used by cooks all around the globe. However, some cooks discovered some loss of flavor in using onion powder.

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Ginger Powder

  • Fresh Ginger The whole raw roots are referred to as fresh ginger. It has a pale yellow interior and a skin varying in colour from brown to off-white. It can be grated, chopped, or julienned for use
  • Dried Ginger This form is usually found in whole fingers and also in slices. It is usually soaked in recipe liqui
  • Pickled Ginger It has the root sliced paper-thin and pickled in a vinegar solution. Also referred as gari or beni s
  • Preserved Ginger Preserved or ‘stem’ ginger is made from fresh young roots, peeled and sliced, then cooked in a heavy
  • Crystallized Ginger Also referred as candied ginger, this ginger form cooked in sugar syrup, then air dried and rolled i
  • Ground Ginger Also referred to as powdered, this form of ginger is quite different than fresh, and is widely used

Ginger, or zingiber officinale, is a perennial plant having thick branching aromatic rhizomes and leafy reedlike stems. For centuries, ginger has been widely used as a spice throughout the world, especially in Asian countries. A native to China and India, this plant is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean. It needs a minimum annual rainfall of 150cm, temperatures of 30°C or over, a short dry season and a deep fertile soil. Known for its slightly biting and hot flavour, this spice is widely used in preparing gingerbread, ginger ale, gingersnaps and Asian dishes. It adds delicacy to the dish by its rich, sweet, warm and woody aroma.Ginger paste in combination with garlic and onion is widely used in preparing almost every meat dish by the Indians and the Pakistanis. It is also used as a flavouring agent to add more warmth in tea. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means “with a body like a horn”, as in antlers.   The pungency in ginger is due to the presence of a volatile oil. The dried rhizome contains approximately 1—3% volatile oil which is the source of ginger’s characteristic aroma; an oleoresin contains the pungent properties.   Historical Importance of Ginger Ginger has been used as a medicine since innumerable. Especially in the Chinese Medicinal System, it possess greater importance and ginger is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. The name of ginger is also quoted in the Koran, the sacred book of the Muslims,   indicating it was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. The Hindu epic Mahabharata written around the 4th century B.C. describes a meal where meat is stewed with ginger and other spices. It was also an important plant in the traditional Indian medicine system–Ayurveda.It was one of the earliest spices known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century. Ginger was one of the important trading items and was exported from India to the Roman empire 2000 years ago where it was valued more for its medicinal properties than as an ingredient in cookery. Together with black pepper, ginger was one of the most commonly traded spices during the 13th and 14th centuries. In Europe, it as so popular that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper.   Spice Description Often termed as “ginger root”, ginger is actually a rhizome. It is available in the following forms:     Culinary Uses Ginger is undoubtedly an essential ingredient to Asian and oriental cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys and curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders. It is also used as an flavouring agent in preparing sweet dishes, cakes, cookies, breads, and beverages. Sometimes the roots will produce green sprouts which can be finely chopped and added to a green salad. Pickled ginger is a delicious accompaniment to satays and a colourful garnish to many Chinese dishes. In the West, the dried ginger is mainly used in preparing confectionery items like biscuits and cakes. It is also used in puddings, jams, preserves and in some drinks like ginger , ginger and tea. In Myanmar, ginger is used in a salad dish called ‘Gyin-Tho’, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds. In traditional Korean Kimchi, ginger is minced finely and added into the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process.   Medicinal Properties Besides being used as a spice, ginger also contains natural healing properties. It has long been ascribed aphrodisiac powers, taken either internally or externally. It is highly effective in treating nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness and general stomach upset. Its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms.Ginger root consists of gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, starch, essential oil (zingiberene, zingiberole, camphene, cineol, borneol), mucilage, and protein. It contains many therapeutic properties and is highly effective in stimulating the blood circulation, removing toxins from the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin. Other uses for Ginger Root include the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems by loosening and expelling phlegm from the lungs. This aromatic spice is also mentioned in the Karma Sutra, and in the Melanesian Islands of the South Pacific it is employed ‘to gain the affection of a woman’. Ginger is on the FDA’s ‘generally recognized as safe’ list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Some studies show ginger may also help prevent certain forms of cancer. Other Facts related to Ginger In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headache and consumed when suffering from a cold, people use ginger for making tea, in food etc. In Burma, ginger and a local sweetener made from palm tree juice (Htan nyat) are boiled together and taken to prevent the flu In China, a drink made with sliced ginger cooked in sweetened water or a cola is used as a folk medicine for common cold[11] In Indonesia, a type of ginger known as Jahe is used as a herbal preparation to reduce fatigue, reducing “winds” in the blood, prevent and cure rheumatism and controlling poor dietary habits In Democratic Republic of the Congo, ginger is crushed and mixed with mango-tree sap to make Tangawisi juice, which is considered as a universal panacea In the Philippines a traditional health drink called “salabat” is made for consumption with breakfast by boiling chopped ginger and adding sugar.  

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Cloves Powder

An Introduction Clove, (syzygium aromaticum, syn. eugenia aromaticum or eugenia caryophyllata), is one of the oldest spices in the world. This dried, unopened flower bud of a small evergreen tree is widely used  as an ingredient of a variety of beverages, food specialties, medicines, cosmetics, perfumery and toiletries. The word ‘clove’ originates from the Latin word – clavus, which means ‘nail’, as its buds resemble small irregular nails in shape. Clove is a native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia and is widely cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba. Indonesia is the largest producer of cloves in the world followed by Madagascar and Tanzania.   History of Coves in a Nutshell In ancient times, the cultivation of cloves were restricted to the regions of the Maluku Islands (historically called the Spice Islands), including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore Before Christ, they were introduced in West to the Middle East and Europe In Syria, archaeologists found cloves within a ceramic vessel belonging to 1721 BC The Chinese wrote of cloves as early as 400 BC A record from 200 BC contained description about courtiers keeping cloves in their mouths to avoid offending the emperor while addressing him Cloves, along with nutmeg and pepper, were highly prized in Roman times They were traded by Arabs during the Middle Ages in the profitable Indian Ocean trade In the late fifteenth century, the Portuguese brought large quantities of cloves to Europe, mainly from the Maluku Islands In the seventeenth century, clove trade was dominated by the Dutch In 1770, the French succeeded in introducing the clove tree into Mauritius, though with a great difficulty Later, clove cultivation was introduced into Guiana, Brazil, most of the West Indies, and Zanzibar, where the majority of cloves are grown today In Britain, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, cloves were worth at least their weight in gold, due to the high price of importing them   Clove Plant Description The clove is an evergreen tree from the Myrtaceae family and grows well in rich loamy soils of the humid tropics. It grows to a height ranging from 10-20 m, having upright branches with shiny / leathery leaves and crimson flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first, of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when they grow 1.5-2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the centre. Clove Compounds ‘Eugenol’, is the main ingredient which is responsible for its sweet and nice aroma.  Clove oil contains about 72-90% of eugenol, which hold many antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. Other major constituents are essential oils acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophylline & vanillin; crategolic acid; tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller); the flavanoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin; triterpenoids like oleanolic acid, stigmasterol and campesterol; and several sesquiterpenes. Culinary Uses For centuries, cloves have been widely used in cooking, either whole or in a ground form in many popular cuisines of the world. In the north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost every sauce or side dish made, mostly ground up along with other spices. They are also smoked in a type of locally known as kretek in Indonesia. In the Chinese and Japanese culture, cloves are an important incense material and is widely used in religious ceremonies. Medicinal Uses of Clove Oil Oil extracted from cloves contain ‘eugenol’ which constitutes about 60-90% of each clove and contains many medicinal properties. This oil also acts as an antiseptic, anesthetic, stimulant (promotes digestion by increasing bile and gastric acid secretions), expectorant, aromatic, antispasmodic, astringent and accounts for its various uses. Cloves have been widely used for curing:   Toothaches Indigestion problems Diarrhea Wounds Premature ejaculation Fever Gas Gout Hernia Herpes Hypertension Asthma Halitosis (bad breath) Colic Cough expectorant Diabetes Nausea Vomiting Mental stimulant Encourage sleep Stimulate dreams Primary dysmenorrhea Arthritis Bronchitis Acne Tuberculosis Thyroid dysfunction Headaches Viral hepatitis.

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Curry Powder

Indian spices are globally renowned for their rich aroma and distinctive flavour. These spices are used as a whole or in powdered form to add a kick in many yummy dishes. Before understanding ‘Curry Powder’ lets clear up the haze from the word curry.Curry refers to hot, spicy, gravy-like dishes best-known in Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepali, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, and other South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. The spices are used either in whole form or in the form of a powder namely “Curry Powder” that contains 12 – 14 different spices and the heat of each varies from relatively mild to extremely hot.   Curry powder is prepared by blending and grinding various herbs and spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, fenugreek, red peppers, nutmeg, mace, etc. Sometime it also contains other ingredients like paprika, cloves, saffron, fenugreek, cardamom, or fresh curry leaves.   Ingredients of Curry Powder* Generally curry powder is a combination of spices15-20 herbs and spices. The following is a detailed list of the spices used in preparing a standard curry powder: Coriander Seed Cumin Seed Fenugreek Seed Turmeric Cloves Garlic Curry Leave Fennel Seed Ginger Chillies Mustard Red Pepper Salt Cassia Black Pepper Poppy Seed Anise Bengal Gram Cardamom Cassia bud Celery Seed Cinnamon Dill Seed Mace Nagkeser Nutmeg Onion Trifala White Pepper, etc.   Etymology The word curry originates from ” koora “, a Telgu word which means  stew  or gravy of any vegetable. In Tamil, curry means meat. The word “Khari” from which “curry” is derived, comes from Southern India and refers to a sauce of any kind. Curry powder was actually developed by Britishers during their colonial rule of India, who wished to take the taste of Indian food home, without having to utilize fresh spices. As a result “curry powder” in the Western world has a fairly standardized taste, but there are literally millions of curry flavors in India. History of Curry Powder It was largely  popularized after World War II, when immigrants from Southeast Asia moved to the UK The late 60s and early 70s saw a large increase of Indian food consumption by the UK populace, resulting the increase in the number of Indian restaurants In the modern era, curry powder if quite popular in every corner of the globe.   Curry Powder…A Vital Health Tonic Each and every spice contains certain medicinal properties, and since curry powder is a blend of spices, it contains many healing properties. It is largely composed of turmeric, the rich source of Curcumin. For centuries, curcumin has been widely used for its medicinal properties in the Indian traditional medicinal system. This antioxidant (curcumin) agents helps the body to fight against cancer and stops the cancer cell growth. It inhibits the build-up of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer’s. Thus, curry powder offers a pleasant, easy way to add these vitally important substances to one’s diet. Only a spoon of curry powder will not only add a kick to the dish but also helps the body to fight against many diseases. Curry Powder…A Vital Health Tonic Each and every spice contains certain medicinal properties, and since curry powder is a blend of spices, it contains many healing properties. It is largely composed of turmeric, the rich source of Curcumin. For centuries, curcumin has been widely used for its medicinal properties in the Indian traditional medicinal system. This antioxidant (curcumin) agents helps the body to fight against cancer and stops the cancer cell growth. It inhibits the build-up of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer’s. Thus, curry powder offers a pleasant, easy way to add these vitally important substances to one’s diet. Only a spoon of curry powder will not only add a kick to the dish but also helps the body to fight against many diseases.    

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Cardamom

A Brief Introduction Cardamom, an aromatic spice is a member of the ginger family Elettaria cardamomum. This small pungent seed is used worldwide for flavouring variety of items including coffee, curries and desserts. It is one of the most valued spices of the world and was the principal item of trade in the ancient world. A native to the East, it has its origin in the forests of the western ghats in southern India. This spice also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Tanzania.There are the two main genera of the ginger family ‘Zingiberaceae’ that are named as forms of cardamom, namely Elettaria and Amomum. Both varieties take the form of a small seedpod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds. Elettaria pods are light green in color, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown   There are many inferior substitutes are available from cardamom-related plants like Siam Cardamom, Nepal Cardamom, Winged Java Cardamom, and Cardamom. Malabar cardamom and Mysore cardamom are the two major varieties of Indian cardamom. Although India is the largest producer of cardamom, only a small share of the Indian production is exported because of the large domestic demand.     Cardamom Plant Cardamom is a perennial herb that can reach a height of between 2 to almost 6 m.  The sword shaped leaves of the plant are dark green in colour which are about 2 inches long. The small, yellowish flowers grow in loose racemes on prostrate flower stems. The fruit has 3 chambers filled with small aromatic seeds, each about 3 mm long. It is better to store the fruit in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavour. Cardamom grows in the tropics, wild and in plantations. It is traditionally grown in partially cleared tropical rain forests, leaving some shade. The plant requires humid and moderately cool climate, filtered sunlight obtained from tree canopy, humus rich soil, well-distributed rainfall and protection from heavy winds.   History of Cardamom For centuries this sweet and aromatic spice has been widely used for its pleasing aroma and medicinal properties. The medical compendium Charaka Samhita written between the 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD refers to it as an ingredient in some preparations. Cardamom is also mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC in a treatise on politics called Kautilya’s Arthashasthra and in Taitirriya Samhita where it is used in offerings during ceremonies. Cardamom was used as a tooth cleaner by the ancient Egyptians and as a perfume by the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks around the 4th century B.C highly valued the cardamom as a culinary spice and as a base for herbal medicines. Cardamom trade was an important part trade links between India and the Mediterranean region.   Culinary Uses Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. This sweet spice is used as flavorings in both food and drink. It features in curries, is essential in pilaus (rice dishes) and gives character to pulse dishes. Cardamom is a major ingredient in Indian sweet dishes and drinks. This spice is often used in pickles, especially pickled herring; in punches and mulled wines; and sometimes with meat, poultry and shellfish.A mild stimulant, cardamom is also chewed habitually (like nuts) where freely available, as in the East Indies, and in the Indian masticory, betel pan. It is a flavouring for Arab and Turkish coffee which is served with an elaborate ritual. It is often used in baking in Scandinavia. The French use it in their demi-tasse. Cardamom added to milk neutralizes its mucus forming properties and it detoxifies caffeine in coffee. Medicinal Properties Cardamom is widely used to bring relief from digestive problems in Ayurveda. Though they are not used in western medicines for their medicinal properties, but are used as a flavouring agent for medicinal preparations. In the ancient world, cardamom was used to bring relief from digestive problems. In India, green cardamom is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.

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Chat Masala

An Introduction Chaat masala is a blend of several spices like amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, black salt, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida, red pepper, etc., used as an accompaniment to fresh fruits and other snacks. It has a sharp smell and tastes sweet, sour and pungent. In western countries, fresh fruit often is sprinkled with lime juice and chat masala. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl, at chaat carts in India. In India, this blend of spices is widely used as a flavouring agent to add a kick in snacks, savouries,       fruit salads and many other items. Chat masala is used to flavour all the popular street foods of India ranging from Bhel Puri to the Golgappa, Aloo Chaat and Dahi Sev Puri. It is somewhat an acquired taste and can be added to all sorts of everyday items or even eaten on its own. Although chat masala is available in commercial packaging, many people still prefer home made chat masala to the commercially prepared version. Ready and processed chaat masala is now available all around the world in specialty Indian and Asian grocery stores. What Exactly is Chat Masala? Chat Masala is made from the two Hindi words ‘chat’ and ‘masala’. Chat means to lick and the word masala means a spice mix. Therefore, the word chat is used for a collection of savoury and highly spicy snacks that would make you lick /smack your lips.   Ingredients of Chat Masala The following are the main ingredients of chat masala: Cummin Seeds Peppercorns Black Salt Dried Mint Leaves Fenugreek Green Cardamoms Cloves Ajwain (Carom Seeds or Bishop’s ) Asafoetida Mace Powder     * Amchur (Dried Mango Powder) Dry Ginger Powder Chilly Powder.   Uses of Chat Masala Chat Masala, the blend of hot and tangy spices, is used to spice up many dishes. They are the inseparable part of appetizing savories which are served before a meal as light dishes for lunch or supper. It is widely used to add delicacy in: Snacks Salads Fruit Salads Fruit Juices Some Curries.

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Garam Masala

India, the land renowned for its excellent cuisine and its unique regions of cooking. Many regions of this culturally diverse country have their own cooking style, recipes and preferences. But one thing is common among all of the regional cuisines of India is the use of ‘Spices’. For centuries, India has been known for producing distinctive spices.Garam Masala or the blend of spices is a pretty common word in every family of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. A blend of ground spices, this necessary ingredient is the heart of most Indian and South Asian dishes. This magical blend of spices is used in a small quantity at the end of cooking or fried in the beginning of cooking to add a subtle flavor to the cooked dish. The word garam masala means a ‘hot spice’. Though, garam masala is not an spice in itself, but a wonderfully aromatic blend of spices used to give freshness and immediacy to a dish. It contains spices like cardamom pods, whole cloves, peppercorns,   whole cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg and other spices.Many different kind of Garam Masala is found depending on the region and the personal taste. Garam Masala can be found easily in international section of any big groceries store in west or in any Indian or South Asian shops.   Spices Ingredients Black Pepper Cinnamon Cloves Coriander Cumin Cardamom Dried Chillies Fennel Mace Nutmeg Other Spices.     Garam Masala….Preparation In India and other South-East Asian nations, garam masala is easily available at a local groceries. In Western Countries, its can be purchased from Indian Stores and Supermarkets. This magical blend of spices can also be prepared at home, but should be made in small batches to retain its freshness.All the spices should be  stored in a cool, dry place for no more than 6 months. Air tight container should be used since any exposure to moisture and air will its aroma and freshness. Garam masala is used in cooking, but unlike many spices, it is often added at the end of cooking, so that the full aroma is not lost. Now a days, garam masala powder is also available in the market. So, just add garam masala to your recipe to add more aromatic flavours and delicacy to your dish.  

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Onion Powder

What is Onion Powder? Onion powder, a spice made from ground dehydrated onions is used for seasoning in cooking. Many cooks of the world prefer onion powder to fresh onions because it is easier to handle, saves time and require no chopping or special treatment. Prepared from finely ground dehydrated onions, they contain very strong smell and last for a longer duration, if properly packaged and stored. Since bulb onions contain much of the flavor and distinctive aroma of the onion, they are widely used for preparing onion powder. Onion powder is a perfect condiment for taco mix, chili, barbeque rubs, salad dressings, dips, marinades, and as an addition to hamburgers.Onions are an inseparable ingredient in many dishes including soups, stews, meats of all kinds,   salads, eggs, salsa, etc., but chopping of onions takes lot of time and effort. Since onion powder is a easy substitute for fresh onions and a tea spoon of onion powder is capable of providing the nutty, and slightly sweet flavor of a medium sized onion, it is widely used by cooks all around the globe. However, some cooks discovered some loss of flavor in using onion powder.   Varieties of Onion Powder Loads of varieties of onion powder are commercially available in the market. Some varieties are blended with other dried spices to give a distinctive flavour.The popular varieties of onion powder are: White onion powder Red onion powder Yellow onion powder Toasted onion powder.   Uses of Onion Powder Onion Powder is an essential ingredient of various meat and vegetable stews. It mixes well with various meat specialties including pork, poultry, lamb and fish. Besides being used as a spice in preparing many appetizing recipes, it can also used for other other purposes. Some of them are: Preparing sauces and gravies Preparing soups, pastas & spiced pastries Preparing hamburger patties Preparing salads, etc. Storage Tips Like other spices and seasonings, powdered onions need to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. If exposed to moisture and sunlight otherwise onion powder may lose its potency and pungency.So, forget the time consuming and tearful process of onion slicing and chopping and use onion powder to obtain the distinctive aroma of the onion.

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