Lying just upon the tropic of cancer, surrounded by water on three sides and the mighty Himalayas on one, India is where 53 different kinds of spices feel at home. The climate in the tropical and subtropical regions of India is a blend of severe humidity with dry hotness and high rainfall. It is not something you will find everywhere in the world and that is why the world came to India for her spices.
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The Arabians were a bridge between the Indian subcontinent and Europe in the middle ages and earlier. In between the 7th and the 15th century they sold Indian spices in Europe and the Europeans absolutely loved it. So much so that they sent numerous expeditions to find out the origin of the spices. You must say that the Arabians were good at keeping some secrets. It was a Portuguese expedition under the command of Pedro Alvares Cabral that brought spices directly from India for the first time in 1501, which is four years after Vasco da Gama reached the coast of India. The spice trade from India to the rest of the world never really stopped. Our black pepper, cinnamons, cloves, turmeric, cardamom, and coriander seeds, have been adding life to worlds’ food since time immemorial.
It is not just about the taste
The other day I was watering some plants on the roof when the aroma tickled my nose and I had a strange nervous reaction. I started salivating like Pavlov’s dog; images of rich gravy started flashing before my eyes and my mind was searching for a specific sensation of taste and it was at a complete loss. Yes, this is what a perfect blend of Indian spices can do to you. My mother was cooking an innocent curry with soybeans and potatoes but the aroma of ground spices hitting the hot oil was enough to transport me. You cannot possibly chew through some black pepper and tell us that you liked it. You cannot relish a cinnamon stick or munch on some mutilated turmeric. They do not taste good on their own. What they add if blended with care and dexterity and mixed with the food in the right proportions is priceless. This blend is what every cook longs to achieve, it is what makes the best eating places in Noida the best.
More good things
Cinnamon, a woody, aromatic spice stick, is diabetes-friendly. If you happen to have insulin resistance you should put some cinnamon in the food. It also helps with indigestion, poor circulation of blood, and the common cold. Cloves are great for teeth. They have anti-inflammatory qualities hence they are a very common ingredient in toothpaste. Black cardamoms not only give your biryani an edge but also help with indigestion, flatulence, and throat problems. Saffron can treat depression and protect your vision. I am not even mentioning the qualities hidden in turmeric assuming you already know. The list could go on.
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Indian spices add so much richness combined with goodness without adding fat to your food. Proportion and blend is the key to unlock this treasure trove.