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Cooking Spices and Masala

We offer a complete product range of Black Pepper Powder, Cloves, Coriander and Chilli Powder

Black Pepper Powder

Introduction Known as the ‘king of spices’, black pepper has remained the most precious and valuable form of spices in the world. It is the 3rd most added ingredient in food among the wide range of spices. India is one of the largest producers of black pepper, after China and Vietnam. Black pepper has played a pivotal role in India’s international trade and it is said that the Europeans came to India primarily for this very spice. A wide variety of black pepper is traded at an international level, with India as one of the top five exporters of black pepper, along with Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Malaysia   What is Black Pepper? Black pepper is defined as a small and unripe fruit of Piper Nigrum, a weak climbing plant, which is dried to be used in the form of spice and seasoning. One of the earliest and the most widely used spices, it smells extremely pungent. In India, its production is largely concentrated in South India and other tropical regions. It is derived from the vine of Piper Nigrum. To get black pepper, the berries from the plant are picked when they are still not fully ripe, fermented and then dried in the sun till the time they dehydrate and turn brownish-black in colour.   Etymology of Black Pepper The term ‘pepper’ was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘pippali’. From this Sanskrit term came the Greek word ‘peperi’ and the Latin term ‘piper’. These two terms primarily referred to black pepper instead of long pepper. In Hindi, it is known by the name of ‘kali mirch’. Constituents of Black Pepper Black Pepper has a sharp and penetrating aroma and it tastes extremely pungent and spicy. The pungent taste is primarily due to the presence of two alkaloids in the pepper, namely pipperine and piperidine. It is also slightly tangy in taste due to certain specific plant resins that can be found in the seeds of the plant.   The presence of monoterpenes like sabinene, beta-pinene, limonene, terpinene, alpha-pinene, myrcene, delta-3-carene and monoterpene derivatives are largely responsible for the pungent and hot aroma that comes from the black pepper. It also contains 3% essential oil, with about 20% of this essential oil being made up of volatile oil like beta-caryophyllene, humulene, beta-bisabolone and caryophyllene ketone. Apart from these basic ingredients, black pepper also contains about 8% to 14% moisture, 1.55% to 2.60% nitrogen and 28% to 49% starch which is obtained by acid hydrolysis.   History of Black Pepper Black pepper is one of the first form of spices to have been cultivated since pre-historic times. It has been addressed as a master spice because it has the ability of being stored for years without losing its flavor or aroma. The importance of black pepper can be judged from the fact that in the ancient times, it was used as a form of currency to pay taxes, dowry, rent, etc. In ancient times, black pepper was found in the nostrils of the Ramesses II, the third Egyptian pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty. The black pepper was placed there to mummify his corpse as part of the Egyptian ritual. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a means to conceal the foul smell of meat. Black pepper is known to be a native to India and has been used since 2000 BCE. Its production was primarily concentrated in the Malabar coast of Kerala in India. After the Middle Ages, black pepper traveled from this Malabar Coast to Europe, North Africa and Middle East. Malaysia and Indonesia have been growing black pepper for the last 2000 years. The importance of black pepper was one of the many important reasons that attracted the Europeans to come to India.   Types of Black Pepper A wide range of black pepper is grown in different parts of India and around the world. Their names are taken from the areas where they are grown and differ in terms of color, shape, chemical characteristics, flavor, etc. Some of well known variety of black pepper are: Tellicherry:  It is a high quality gourmet pepper with large and tasty berries. It’s very big in size and does not take much of a time to mature. It is known for its strong aroma and pungent smell Malabar:  Grown on the coast of Malabar in Kerala, its flavor is the same as that of a Tellicherry black pepper. Its aroma is sweet and fruity and is largely used in desserts and savories Lampong:  Originating from Indonesia, it is known to be one of the best black peppers in the world. Its taste is extremely spicy and is equipped with the strongest aroma possible Sarawak:  Produced in the north east part of Bornea in Indonesia, it is considered to be one of the best black peppers in the world. It is extremely fresh, with sharp, pungent taste to it Other Varieties:  Allepey, Saigon, Penang, Singapore, etc   Cultivation and Storage of Black Pepper Black pepper is obtained from the berries grown on the plant of Piper Nigrum. To get the best range of black pepper, the plant requires to be grown during a long spell of rainy season, at fairly high temperature and with the help of little bit of shade. After the berries start to get red in color, they are plucked and stored in room temperature. To keep them disinfected, the surface of the berries is soaked into boiled water for about ten minutes. After they turn black-brown in color, they are spread under the sun for about three to four days, so that all the moisture is squeezed out from them. These berries or peppercorns, as they are known otherwise, are then grounded firmly and this is how black pepper is produced. The black pepper must be stored in a cool, dry and dark place so that its flavor can be retained for months.     Uses of Black Pepper Black Pepper, being the most oldest spice in the world, is seen both as a taste enhancer and as a medicine. Its importance can be judged from the following points: Because of its strong flavor and aroma, it is highly used as an added ingredient in food to make it tasty and delectable Owing its strong influence on health, black pepper has been used in many traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Black pepper acts as an antidepressant and also as an antioxidant that helps in lowering the cholesterol level to a great extent The essential oil present in the black pepper helps in relieving muscular pain, fever, etc. and also helps in increasing blood circulation Black pepper also acts as an effective deterreant to insects. When added with a quarter amount of water, it acts as an effective toxin, capable of killing rodents, ants, potato bugs, etc.   Market Scope of Black Pepper Black pepper accounts for the largest volume of exports in India. Kerala, in the southern region of the country, is the largest producer of black pepper, accounting for 90% of total pepper production. Since the past few years, India’s rise has been on full swing in terms of export of black pepper. Also, the country holds the 3rd  position in the production of black pepper in the world. Some of the major Indian markets dealing in black pepper are Kochi  and Sultan Bethary in Kerala, while Delhi and Nagpur have also emerged as key players in this arena in recent times.

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Cloves

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.   Cloves in other Languages French:  Clou de girofle German:  Gewuzenelke Italian:  Chiodo di garofano Spanish:  Clavo de especia Burmese:  Ley-nyin-bwint Chinese:  Ding heung Indian:  Lao(o)ng, laung lavang, lavungam Thai:  Gahn plu   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:

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Coriander

An Introduction Coriander, also known as the Chinese Parsley, Cilantro, Dizzycorn and Japanese Parsley, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is among the the first spices used by mankind, having been known as early as 5000 BC. Its description is also mentioned in Sanskrit writings dating from about 1500 BC. Coriander is referred to in the Bible, in the books of Exodus and Numbers, where the colour of ‘manna’ is compared to it. Romans introduced it to Britain and coriander was widely used in cookery and medicine until the Renaissance, when an array of new aromatic spices replaced it. Historical findings suggest that ancient physicians like Hippocratic and Pliny were familiar to it.In culinary context coriander refers to either the seeds of the plant (used as a spice), or to its leaves (used as a herb). Though, all parts of coriander plant are edible, but its dried seeds and fresh leaves are widely used in cooking. Its leaves are known by the name of Cilantro in North American countries. Coriander seeds are primary ingredients of the garam masala, a blend of ground spices common in the Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine. The word ‘coriander’ originates from French coriandre through Latin coriandrum in turn from Greek “?????????.”   Coriander Seeds They are spherical in shape with a slightly pointed and flattened ends. Coriander Seeds are generally 3 – 5 mm (1/8” – 3/16”) in length and the colour, when dried, is usually brown, but may be green or off white. These tan-colored, ribbed and lightweight fruits have a distinctive fragrance and orange or lemon like flavor, due to the presence of the terpenes linalool and pinene. They are usually dried but can be eaten green. They are widely used as spices in preparing pork, curries, Middle Eastern dishes, vegetables, stewed fruit, chutney, pickles, cakes, biscuits, lentils, etc. For obtaining superlative flavour, whole coriander seeds should be used within six months, or stored for no more than a year in an air tight container, away from sunlight and heat.   Coriander Leaves Coriander is one of a few plants that can be termed as a herb or a spice- the seeds being used as spices and leaves are widely used as herbs. This is the most widely used plant in both forms. Interestingly, fruits and leaves posses totally different flavour, and can therefore not substitute each other, but complement each other very well in various dishes.The leaves are are always bought fresh as dried coriander looses its fragrance. The base leaves are broad, similar to Italian parsley, and are reputed for the better flavour. Coriander is a herb that most people either love or hate. Some people like its refreshing and lemony-ginger aroma, while other finds it soapy and irritating. Its flavour is strong, yet delicate and complex, with notes of lemon and ginger. Coriander leaves are widely used in making chutneys, pastes and raitas when combined with other herbs and spices such as green chillies and mint.   Coriander Powder Coriander is widely used as a powdered form in almost every Indian cuisine. It is obtained from the Coriander seed of the coriander plant. The powder is prepared by selecting the high quality of matured sundried coriander of fine quality. This assures fresh taste and aroma to any dish to which these are added. Coriander Essential Oil Coriander oil is extracted from Coriandrum sativum of the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family and is also known as coriander seed and Chinese parsley. For centuries it has been widely used in aromatherapy to treat mental fatigue. The therapeutic properties of coriander oil are analgesic, aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, carminative, depurative, deodorant, digestive, carminative, fungicidal, lipolytic, stimulant and stomachic.

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Chilli Powder

A Brief Introduction Chilli powder, a powdered spice mix comprise of chilli peppers, either red peppers or cayenne peppers, has become the basic ingredient in majority of cuisine. It can be a mix of either pure powdered chillis, or it may contain other additives, like cumin, oregano, garlic powder and salt. Other spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace, nutmeg, etc. are also used in preparing chilli powder. As a result of different ingredients, the spiciness of any given chilli powder is incredibly variable. As a rule, the purer the chilli powder is, the more spicy it is. Many people prefer home made chilli powder, but many versions are also available commercially.   Varieties of Chilli Powder There are two famous varieties of the chilli powder used in worldwide cuisine, viz. The Mexican Chilli Powder and Indian Chilli Powder. The chilli powder used in India is completely different from the Mexican version of chilli powders.   Mexican Chilli Powder They are mixtures of spices such as dried grounded chilli, cumin, garlic, and oregano. This spice is used included in Mexican cuisine.   Indian Chilli Powder Indian chilli powder is made by drying and grounding the red chilli to give highly pungent red powder. The pungency in the chilli powder depends on the variety of the chilli used in preparing the powder. The low oil content helps in retaining its red color which will not fade away with time.   Brief History Though, there is some disagreement about the origin of manufactured chilli powder, but its first usage can be traced, at its earliest, to Indian cuisine, where it was widely used in curry dishes. Today chilli powder is immensely popular in American cuisine, where they are the primary flavor ingredient in chilli con carne. Two men, William Gebhardt and D.C. Pendry were generally credited with marketing the first commercial chilli powder blends.  Gebhardt, a  German immigrant to Texas served chilli in his cafe which was his own blend of chilli powder. In 1894, he started selling this blend under the brand name Gebhardt’s Eagle Brand Chilli Powder. Whereas, D.C. Pendry, an owner of a Mexican grocery supply company, began manufacturing and marketing his unique blend of chilli powder in about 1890.   Uses of Chilli Powder Chilli Powder, the  tasty blend of spices, is one of the easiest ways to bring a dish to life. This powder is used extensively as an additive in curries and other dishes. It is also used  as a rub for steak, fish and chicken before broiling, baking, or grilling. A yummy spicy hamburger is also prepared by including a tablespoon of the powder in the raw meat and kneading it into the meat before forming the hamburger patties. Either purchase ready-made or to prepare at home, chilli powder can add a lot of taste to many mouth watering dishes.   Medicinal Properties of Chilli Powder Besides adding an extra kick to the food, these species of capsicum annuum are also used in ayurvedic medicines to fight many diseases. Chillies are an excellent source of vitamin, A, B, C and E with minerals like molybdenum, manganese, folate, potassium, thiamin, and copper. They contain seven times more Vitamin C than orange. They are helpful in clearing nasal congestion, relieves throat infection, and acts as painkiller in muscle spasms. Besides this, chilli powder also helps in destroying harmful toxins and stimulating  gastric juices that help in digesting food.

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