By: Nikki Nies
My roommate has gotten into a rhythm of making food with only Indian spices and staples. She has invested in garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, etc. Bringing a new wave of aromas into our apartment, it has reminded me how enjoyable and beneficial it can be to eat Indian cuisine.
It’s widely known Indian cuisine is vegetarian. However, that should deter you to experiment in the kitchen and use some of their well known spices. Not only do common Indian spices add additional flare to dishes, but as an added bonus, can be beneficial to one’s health too!
In no particular order:
- Cumin (Jeera):Besides contributing to an array of flavors to Indian dishes in curries, soups, rice and parathas; cumin can boost one’s immune system, control stomach pain, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea and morning sickness; contains adequate amount of iron; diuretic; eases carpal tunnel syndrome
- Asafoetida (Heeng): useful in khatti mithi dal; aids in digestion; can help with respiratory problems (i.e. asthma, bronchitis and cough); aids in pain associated with excessive menstruation and/or general pain
- Cardamom (Elaichi): Used as a digestive aid; can help treat diarrhea, colic and constipation; may help lower blood pressure; can be used in a variety of dishes–adding sweetness and to pastries and potatoes; may stimulate appetite; ease nausea; curb bad breath; relieve gas and/or bloating
- Cinnamon (Dalchini): May help regulated type 2 diabetes, as it helps increase insulin action; antioxidant rich; contains anti inflammatory properties; reduces cholesterol levels;
- Turmeric (“Indian saffron”; Haldi): Main ingredient in curry powder; essential for liver detox, antioxidant rich; may ward off cancer,joint inflammation and Alzheimer’s; helps minimize liver damage that may be caused by excess alcohol intake; may ward of cold and cough consumed with milk; helps treat heartburn, arthritis, stomach pain, intestinal gas, diarrhea, stomach bloating and/or loss of appetite; can be used as a topical treatment to treat ringworm and/or infected wounds
- Ginger (Adrak): beneficial to one’s gastrointestinal tract; if one places a slice of peeled ginger in tea, it can help with an upset stomach; aids in inflammation;helps cleanse and detoxify the body;stimulates circulation
- Coriander (Dhania): aids in inflammation and indigestion; may help lower LDL levels, known as the “bad’ cholesterol, while raising HDL levels, known as the “good cholesterol”; antioxidant rich–helping to relieve oxidative stress in diabetics; contains antibacterial properties; relieves bloating
If you haven’t noticed, a lot of Indian spices have anti-inflammatory and digestive relief benefits. Perhaps, start incorporating some of these spices in your every day dishes or start experimenting with some of the aforementioned spices. If you’ve got a knack for Indian cuisine, what’re some of your go to dishes? Any friendly tips?
Great stuff! 🙂 If you add mustard seeds, and urad dal (split black gram) or channa dal (split bengal gram), and dried red chillies to your tempering you will get a more south Indian flavour. Maybe check out coconut and coconut milk for a milder flavour. 🙂
Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely have to look into them!