20 Kitchen Essentials - Spices, Herbs & More!
So picture this- You go to the kitchen to make your favourite meal, and the one main ingredient it needs is missing. We get it, your frustration is off the charts. Here we have a list of ingredients you must have in your kitchen at all times. Not plenty, just twenty. Trust us, it is mandatory.
Since we all know that it is the flavour that makes food delectable, let us jump straight onto the spices for starters. When it is Indian food, the following are some essential spices to get you started.
- Red chilies (Lal Mirch), and Kashmiri chiles are not particularly hot when used in moderation. These are used mainly to add colour to a dish. Cayenne is a good substitute on the hotter end. If you are heat-shy, you might want to add just a little of this spice.
- Coriander (dhania), whole - These are nutty, warm, and spicy that add flavour and aroma. Coriander also aids in digestion, keeps a check on cholesterol, and tackles diabetes.
- Garam masala is a spice mix that varies from dish to dish. It adds a great flavour to the dishes.
- Turmeric (haldi) is an ancient Indian spice that gives an earthy, hot peppery, slightly bitter, and mustard-like fragrance. It adds a beautiful golden hue to curries.
- Cardamon, green (Choti/hari small elaichi), whole - can be used whole or grounded. It gives a distinct aroma and a sweet flavour
- Cloves (laung), whole - These are the dried aromatic flower buds of the clove tree. Cloves have a strong taste and sweet smell that gives spicy & warmth to food.
- Cumin (jeera), while this is a must-have as it adds the earthy factor to the dishes you cook.
- Mustard seeds (Sarson), yellow, black, or brown - The flavour is more intense when the seeds are darker.
- Cinnamon (dalchini), whole and ground - This is mainly used as a flavouring additive and an aromatic condiment in a variety of cuisines
- Sweet paprika (desi/mithi mirch) is used for colour.
Alright, so now we have covered all the spices for you. Let us move on to the ingredients whose purpose is to serve freshness and aroma- Herbs!
- Dried and fresh chilies(mirch), red (dried), and green (fresh) are used for heat, colour, and flavour.
- Fresh ginger (adrak) gives a beautiful fragrance and a sharp taste. It also aids digestion, cures cold and cough, sore throat, stimulates blood circulation, cleanses the kidney, etc.
- Dried bay leaves (tej patta) Indian bay leaves add cinnamon and clove notes to a dish. From the Cassia tree, these bay leaves have a slightly different flavour profile than the more commonly found European laurel bay.
- Garlic (lahsun) is an herb, spice, or vegetable. It is a member of the Lilly family. It is indispensable and adds a unique and intense flavour and aroma.
- Lemons (neembu) are high in vitamin C, and fibre, and have various beneficial plant compounds. These nutrients are also responsible for several health benefits.
- Curry leaves can be purchased dried, but we believe the fresh ones are much better.
- Fresh mint leaves (pudina)- Refreshing, delightful, and zingy, a handful of mint leaves adds a peppy flavour with a refreshing aroma.
The last one to complete our list is the mandatory pantry requirements. Let us walk you through the essential ingredients-
- Jaggery (Gur) is a light brown sugar, with a touch of caramel. It is not as sweet as brown sugar, so if you want to use it as a substitute for brown sugar, you may want to use it a little more.
- Coconut milk- You will always find this in a Parsi and Goan pantry. It adds creaminess and fat to countless dishes, from sauces and dressings to curries and stews to puddings and dessert soups.
- Dried fruits are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. Dried fruits can be eaten as snacks or added to pulao, biryani curries, stew, and bhaji. It is the most versatile ingredient.
The one secret ingredient for cooking is an equipped pantry and on days when you feel too lazy to cook, give us a call for a delicious and drool-worthy two-in-one Parsi-Goan meal!