Spice Story of a Kitchen

Spices are integral part of any Indian kitchen. These are the alphabets of my kitchen chronicles. I grew up with the fresh smell of freshly brewed filter coffee ever morning. Then mom starts on the lunch, for school and office, with the fresh aromas of spices like sambar powder, pepper, asafoetida and coriander. The lingering smell would leave me waiting for my lunch break so I finally get to taste all that aromas.

In memory of many more mornings and dinners, here are some of the commonly used spices in mom’s kitchen and now my kitchen. As they say you think you got it all until you actually get your hands dirty. I have been learning about so many new spices as I start experimenting with food and spices. Spices like Kandan-Thipili that were widely used in good olden day cooking has now become this exotic Ayurvedic ingredients. Glad and thankful that I am able to find these gems and include in my daily diet.

The Indian spice box that we used to call anjala potti (many be because it has 5 compartments – anjala means 5 leaves/compartments and potti means box) is the a must have. It helps with storing the most common powders and spices handy for daily use. These days it comes with 7 compartment….. I have two of these one is filled with Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Red chilis and couple of dals that is
commonly used for tempering. My second one is all about the masala powders like red chilli powder, turmeric powder, Cumin powder, coriander powder, is a colorful sight.

Now I have added a spice powder box for my daily use , Turmeric powder, Jeera powder, Coriander powder, Amchhor powder, chilli powder, hing powder and garam masala powder which is super handy with day to day cooking. The bright vibrant colors of these spice powders pumps life into any dish it touches.

Asafoetida, hing or perungayam is one of the treasured spice in my kitchen. It has a distinct flavor that is could be bit strong and better kept in a separate box. Here is the list of items I use regularly use in my cooking. Of course its based on my limited knowledge of Indian spices. This is a living list as I am always learning about a ingredient and its usage in cooking. I welcome any new suggestions and addition to this list from you all.

Bay LeafBrinji elaiTej patta
Black CardamomKarupu elakai Badi elaichi
Black pepperKarumilaguKali mirch
Caraway seedsShahi jeeragamShahi Jeera 
carom seedsOmamAjwain
CinnamonPattaiDal chini
CuminJeeragam Jeera
Curry leavesKaruvepilaiKadi patha
Dried fenugreek Vendaya elaikasuri methi
Dry mango powderAmchoor
Green CardamomElakai Hari elaichi
Holy basilTulasiTulsi
Kapok BudsIlavu/Marati MogguShalmali 
Long PepperArisi TippiliPipli
Long Pepper RootKandan TippiliPipli
Mustard SeedsKaduguRaai/Till
Nigella SeedsKarunjeeragamkala jeera
Pomegranate seedsMadulai Anar dhana
Poppy seedsKasa kasaKhas Khas
Red Chillikanja milagaiLal mirch
SaffronKunguma PooKesar
Star AniseAnashuppuchakr phool
Stone Flower (Rock Flower)KalpaasiPattar Phool
TurmericManjal Haldi

I will soon be posting some of the traditional pots and pans that I use in my kitchen as part 2 of this series

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