We feel that it is very important–and also find it extremely interesting–to know and understand a little bit about the spices and ingredients that make up the food we eat. It’s all part of the experience!
Click around to explore the commonly used spices and ingredients used in our products.
Popular in Eastern India, dried mango powder is made by pulverizing sun dried, unripened (green) mangos into a fine powder. It is normally a grey/tan sort of color and has a tart; acidic, fruity flavor that adds character to many dishes, including meats, vegetables, and curried preparations. It is used much like lemon is used in western cooking, giving the food a tangy, sour taste, without adding moisture. We use in our “Spinach & Potato Pakora Mix”.
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family native to tropical south Asia, needing very warm temperatures and a lot of rain to thrive. The plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes (rhizomes are the stems of the plant usually found underground). The rhizomes are boiled for several hours, dried in hot ovens and are then ground into a deep orange-yellow powder used as a spice, food coloring or dye. (It does stain, so watch out for some of your wooden spoons when cooking)! It has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. We use turmeric in our “Spinach & Potato Pakora Mix”, “Tandoori Chicken & Naan Mix” and in “Vijay’s Masala Chicken & Rice Palau Mix”.
(pronounced: ga-RAMH ma-SAH-lah)
Garam Masala is a spice blend that normally includes a combination of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. Although it differs widely upon region, it can be purchased premixed as is, but is much more flavorful when it is homemade. Most of the spices are dry roasted in their seed form, and then ground together to make the powdered mixture. This powered mixture is then typically added towards the end of cooking, (since the garam masala has already been roasted). Garam Masala can be found in our “Spinach & Potato Pakora Mix”, “Tandoori Chicken & Naan Mix” and “Kali Daal”.
Red Chili Powder
This Indian chili powder is made from ground chilies. It is much hotter and not to be confused with the chili powder commonly found in U.S. grocery stores, which is actually a blend of red pepper and other spices. The Indian red chili powder ranges from an orange-red, to a deep, dark red color. Cayenne pepper is the closest to this in your regular grocery store and could be used as a substitute, if needed, but is not recommended. We use always the real stuff (don’t worry though, not too much) and it can be found in our “Spinach & Potato Pakora Mix”, “Tandoori Chicken & Naan Mix”, “Vijay’s Masala Chicken & Rice Palau Mix” and our “Kali Daal”.
Coriander seeds are the fruit of the herb commonly referred to as Cilantro in the United States. The fruit, or seeds are dry little spheres about 3-5mm in diameter that have a warm, nutty, spicy and orange flavor when crushed. Ground coriander seed loses its flavor quickly in storage, so it is best ground fresh. The seeds are often briefly roasted in a dry pan to enhance their flavor or aroma. Coriander seeds are a main component in “Garam Masala”, and are used in most of our savory dishes. The fresh or raw leaves are also frequently used in Indian cooking, almost always put in last, as heat quickly diminishes their flavor. We include the whole seeds in our “Tandoori Chicken & Naan Mix” for fresh grinding, and ground coriander can be found in “Vijay’s Masala Chicken & Rice Palau Mix”.
Asafoetida is a stinky little powder that (appropriately so) may also be known as, “devils dung” or “stinking gum”. It has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but when cooked in dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks, sautéed onions and garlic. Asafoetida is used as a digestive aid as it reduces the growth of indigenous micro flora in the gut, thus reducing flatulence (always a good thing). It is most commonly found in the form of, compounded asafoetida, which is a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour and Gum Arabic. Asafoetida is used in our both our “Tandoori Chicken & Naan Mix” and “Vijay’s Masala Chicken & Rice Palau Mix”.