Indian Spices

Indian Spices
ajwain
ajwain
These look like small caraway seeds, but they taste like a pungent version of thyme. Indian cooks like to sprinkle them on breads. Look for them in Indian markets.
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amchoor
amchoor
This is made from sun-dried mangoes, and it's used as a souring agent or to tenderize meats. Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores carry it.
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asafetida
asafetida
This powdered gum resin imparts a very strong onion-garlic flavor to Indian dishes. Use it sparingly—a little goes a long way. Look for it in Indian or health food stores or in the spice section of larger supermarkets.
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black cumin seeds
black cumin seeds
Indian cooks use this spice in many of their curries and tandoori dishes. It's darker and sweeter than ordinary cumin. To bring out its nutty flavor, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.
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black mustard seeds
black mustard seeds
Indian cooks prefer these over the larger yellow mustard seeds that are more common in the west. Look for this in Indian markets or health food stores.
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brown cardamom
brown cardamom
Pods of this spice are sold in Indian markets. Some recipes call for the entire pod to be used, others call for the ground seeds. Don't confuse this with the more common (green) cardamom, which comes in round green or tan pods.
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brown mustard seeds
brown mustard seeds
These are smaller and hotter than the yellow mustard seeds that most western cooks are familiar with. Look for this in Indian markets.
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fenugreek
fenugreek
This adds an earthy flavor to curries, chutneys, and sauces. It's available as seeds or powder, and you can usually find it in Indian and Middle Eastern markets. If it's not available, just leave it out of the recipe.
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nigella
nigella
This has a subtle flavor that's often used to enhance vegetable dishes. To bring out the flavor, it helps to toast the seeds briefly before using them.
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pomegranate seeds
pomegranate seeds
Bits of pomegranate pulp remain on the seeds as they dry, so they're a bit sticky and serve as a souring agent in Indian cuisine. The seeds also come ground.
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white poppy seeds
white poppy seeds
Indian cooks use these as a thickener in their curries and as a filling in baked goods.
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