Spices * Vegetables * Spices Home
Vidya's Kitchen

Each spice name is translated within parenthesis in Tamil and Hindi. Most grocery stores have the Hindi name for these spices.

Basic Spices^

Sweet Spices^

Other Spices & Ingredients^

Use of Basic Spices

Below are the various uses for these spices. Almost every one of them provides natural health benefits as well.

Turmeric is used in powder form in almost all vegetable preparations.It adds color and is also used to preserve pickles for a longer period of time.

Cumin is used in the seed form in some dishes. It is used in a powdered form in many others. Cumin has a strong taste and smell.

Black Pepper is used as fresh seeds. Fresh black pepper is used in dishes for the spicy taste, split pepper that is not fine ground is used to garnish our soups as well. It lists among the top for its healing properties.

Mustard seeds are used to garnish. It has a good taste and aroma.

Coriander and Curry Leaves are used fresh to garnish the dish right before serving, ground with other spices, or to make chutneys. Dry coriander seeds are sautéed lightly in oil and ground with other spices. Both are rich in nutrients and used in herbal medicines.

Fenugreek is used sparingly in dishes. It has excellent curative properties. It is used as dry seeds or fresh leaves.

Red Chilies are very spicy and used in dry form. It is ground to a paste with other ingredients or sautéed lightly in oil and cooked with vegetables, it is also used as a garnish. The degree of spiciness varies depending on which part of India or the world it is from. Smaller ones are spicier than the bigger ones.

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Green Chilies are used fresh. They are very spicy, and add taste and smell. Similar to the red kind, small chillies are hotter than the bigger chillies.

Asafoetida is used as a taste enhancer. It also possesses medicinal properties.

Ginger is used in many preparations. The fresh form is used in dishes as a part of everyday cooking. The dry form is used in herbal medicines. It has a spicy flavor, again high in the list for its natural healing properties.

Fennel Seeds are used in dishes mainly introduced by the Persians. Eg. Kurma. They have a strong smell and flavor, also great for digestion.

Carom is used in some northern Indian dishes especially in pickles. In the south, they are used in natural ayurvedic preparations. They look exactly like cumin but have a stronger smell like thyme, and also have a distinct taste. It has excellent medicinal properties.

Mango Powder is used in dry form to add some natural tart taste to preparations. It is basically raw mango sliced up, dried and powdered.

Garam Masala is a mix of several dry ingredients. Sometimes toasted and ground to a fne powder, it can also be used as a powdered mix of many raw ingredients. Each blend brings a unique taste.

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Use of Sweet Spices

Cardamom is used to garnish desserts. It is a sweet spice, has a sweet aroma and is used both in North and South Indian desserts.

Nutmeg is a taste enhancer and used in desserts. Just a pinch is what is usually recommended for use on any preparation.

Saffron is an expensive sweet spice. They are tiny red flowers of the saffron tree that are used in desserts. They are aromatic, taste good, and add color to the dish.

Poppy seeds are used in a few spice and sweet dishes.

Mace is similar to nutmeg. It is also used as a taste enhancer.

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Other Spices & Ingredients

Clove is a strong, spicy ingredient used very minimally in northern Indian dishes, rarely used in southern cooking.

Cinnamon is also a more prominent spice in northern Indian cooking.

Mint is used to make chutneys all over India. High in medicinal properties.

Yogurt is a magic ingredient used in several dishes. It is generally used to make pachadi, also called raita in hindi. Since it does have a cooking effect, in the south it is served toward the end of the meal. In the north it is a side dish. Raita prepared with some basic taste enhancers go well with any spicy food, rice dish, or Indian bread.

Jaggery, the best way to describe it is sugarcane molasses. Used all over India for sweet preparations.

Gur was once a popular drink even at roadside stands in India. This is regular juice from the sugar cane.

Black salt has a strong smell and taste and mostly used in northern Indian snacks.

Tamarind is used for preparation of certain vegetables such as eggplant which is naturally alkaline. It helps to balance the taste of some of the spicy hot dishes.

Garlic is used in many of the northern Indian and some of the southern Indian dishes. It is part of the normal diet in many homes because of its health benefits.

Coconut is used mostly in Kerala, a southern state in India as a normal part of their daily diet. White it is used sparingly in other parts of the country.

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Our meals consist of bread or rice for carbohydrates, lentil based preparations for protein, and the rest are mostly vegetables dishes. On an average there are at least two dishes that are vegetable based.

Let me list the vegetables that I will give you recipes for in these pages. If it is possible to find any asian vegetable, you can be sure to find a recipe for that on my site.

Regular Vegetables
Brussel sprouts

Green Pepper
Red and Yellow Peppers
Regular Potato

Asian Vegetables
Asian Eggplant
Green Tomato
Flat Beans
Mustard Greens
Small Green Pepper
Bitter Gourd
Cluster Beans
Ivy Gourd


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^ Please contact me for any of these ingredients or utensils.

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