Talk of Indian cuisine and you can’t miss the flavourful and vibrant ground spices that have the ability to transform an ordinary dish into a culinary masterpiece.
From fiery hot chilli to the nutty floral and musky aroma of natural coriander powder, ground spices speak a lot about the rich gastronomic tapestry of Indian food. In this blog, we will take you through the meaning, nutritional value, benefits of spices and much more. Keep on reading to know more!
Brief History of Indian Spices
It was during 2000 BCE, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent saw the flourish of the spice trade with cinnamon and black pepper, while East Asia saw the development of the trade with herbs and pepper. (1)
The Rig Veda, together with the Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharveda (about 6000 BC), have the oldest mentions of spices in India. The Yajur Veda and the Rig Veda both mention various spices, including black pepper.
In 1498, Vasco Da Gama set out for India via the southernmost point of Africa to find a straight route to a place where spices were inexpensive and in great supply. The beginning of direct trade between Europe and South East Asia was signalled by his landing on the Malabar Coast of India, which served as the core of the spice trade.
Fun Fact: Do you know black pepper was one of the earliest spices used as a commodity to trade in the world?
Indian Spices Shaping Global Trade Routes
In the past, traders from countries such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia used to come to India to trade for spices. However, the medieval era saw a rise in the importance of the spice trade due to the strong demand for spices in Europe for use in cooking, perfumes, and medicines.
Indian spices were highly prized for their flavour and quality during this time, and they were frequently exchanged for gold and silver. Calicut, a port city on India's southwest coast, rose to prominence as a major hub for the trading of spices and earned the moniker "City of Spices."
Early in the 16th century, the Portuguese became a significant player in India’s spice trade. They created numerous commercial stations along India's coastline, including those in Goa and Cochin, and they rose to prominence as the main European force in the area.
Later on, with the establishment of The East India Company in 1600, the spice trade flourished manyfold.
What Are Ground Spices?
Ground spices are the powdered form of whole spices. They release a distinct aroma and enhance the flavour of the dish due to the essential oils that get exposed during grinding.
However, with so many adulterated products available in the market, it's important you pick pure and natural ground spices that offer high nutritional value while adding a dash of rich taste and aroma to your dishes.
Different Types Of Ground Spices And Their Origin
Come let’s check out some of the amazing spices that you might be missing in your kitchen:
Known for its rich aroma and deep red colour, Byadagi chilli has moderate seed content and mild pungency. Having inflammatory properties these chillies are rich in vitamins A, B, C and E.
These chillies are named after the town of Byadgi in Haveri district of Karnataka.
Famous for their fiery hot taste, these chillies have immense health benefits if consumed regularly in small quantities. They are said to prevent acidity and shield the inner lining of the stomach from ulcers.
Sankeshwari chilli is grown organically by our farm partner in the Sankeshwar region of Maharashtra.
Known worldwide for its high curcumin content, Waigaon turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is used for wound healing, curing colds and many other diseases. Compared to 1-2% curcumin in normal turmeric, this variety of turmeric has more than 5% curcumin content.
This variety of turmeric is native to Samudrapur district of Wardha district in Maharashtra.
Natural and organic coriander powder is a rich source of minerals such as potassium and iron and vitamins A and C. It lends a beautiful aroma and texture to food and lends its distinct flavour.
In India, the best quality of coriander powder is produced in various states namely Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam and Haryana.
Benefits Of Indian Ground Spices
From enhancing the taste of the tongue to benefitting our bodies, spices do a lot for us. Here are some of the major benefits of spices on our health.
Aids In Digestion - Ground spices help in easing bowel motions, thus improving digestion and preventing digestive problems such as constipation. Spices assist boost enzymatic activity in the human body and are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, spices are widely known for their ability to control insulin levels and reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Reduce Inflammation - The health benefits of Indian spices are immense and one of them is their ability to reduce inflammation in our bodies. Since spices typically have anti-inflammatory effects, they are frequently considered best in situations when certain bodily regions or nerves/tissues are inflamed. It is proven in studies that, people who consume good-quality spices are less prone to chronic diseases.
Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels - Cinnamon and turmeric are two foods that have been connected to greater insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. These types of spices can lessen the chance of overeating by stabilising blood sugar levels, which can help minimise energy spikes and crashes.
Have Anti-Oxidant Qualities - The benefits of spices can be gauged from the fact that they are high in antioxidants. They help prevent oxidation of other compounds and neutralise free radicals in the body. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants defends human beings from oxidative stress.
Boost Immunity - Having relatively few calories, the health benefits of spices are incredible in boosting the body's natural defences. A healthy immune system is essential for preventing infections and maintaining overall well-being.
While maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is important, adding particular herbs and spices to your meals can also help to enhance your immunity. Being a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, uses of herbs in our food can help fortify our body's immune system.
Skin & Hair Benefits Of Ground Spices
India’s rich spices are not only about adding flavour to your dishes, but they have immense benefits on skin and hair as well. Let’s check out how these aromatic spices can improve your skin and hair quality.
Improve Skin Texture
Due to their wide variety of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, and other bioactive components, spices have many positive effects on the skin. Certain spices can promote healthy skin and treat various skin issues when applied topically or consumed in the diet.
Utilising natural turmeric-based masks on a regular basis can help balance out skin tone, minimise the look of dark patches, and lighten hyperpigmentation.
Improve Hair Quality
Given that spices are rich in nutrients that can nourish hair and encourage a healthy scalp, spices have a number of advantages in increasing hair quality. Certain spices like black pepper, sesame, cumin, etc can improve hair strength, shine, and general health whether applied topically or taken in a diet.
Antioxidants found in spices like saffron and turmeric shield the hair from oxidative damage brought on by free radicals. These antioxidants can give dull hair sheen and lustre, making them appear more healthy.
How To Use Ground Spices In Cooking For Daily Routine
Your foods can be improved with the addition of ground spices, and your daily routine can be infused with enticing fragrances and health advantages. Ground spices give your culinary explorations and wellness rituals, from savoury delights to sweet indulgences, depth, character, and a hint of enchantment. Accept the allure of the spice world and allow it to fill your life with a symphony of flavours and well-being, making each day a wonderful and aromatic experience.
- Fiery Sankeshwari chilli can be added to the dishes to add hot and spicy flavour.
- Add a pinch of Waigaon turmeric to your cookies to bring a deep, mustard yellow colour.
Ground Spices - Local Sparrow
Ground spices are known to add a touch of texture, flavour, and rich aroma to your dishes. However, opting for organic Indian spices not only enhances your dish but also promotes a healthy lifestyle. At Local Sparrow, we collaborate with farmers who practice organic and sustainable farming to bring you a range of essential cooking ingredients. Before bringing them on the shelf, our spices pass the quality test.
We pack our spices in glass jars to prevent toxic chemicals from leaching in. We produce our spices in small batches to preserve their nutrients, aroma, and freshness for a longer time.
Frequently Asked Questions On Ground Spices
1. Do ground spices really improve health?
The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of ground spices help in improving health.
2. What are the most used spices in Indian homes?
Turmeric, chillies, coriander powder, mustard seeds and coriander powder are the mostly used spices in Indian homes
3. How should I store ground spices for a longer shelf life?
You must store ground spices in an air-tight glass jar or container to retain their essential oils and aroma for a longer period of time
4. What is the difference between ground spices and whole spices?
Ground spices are the powdered form of whole spices.