India, known as the home of spices, boasts a long history of trading with the ancient civilisations of Rome and China. Today, Indian spices are the most sought-after globally, given their exquisite aroma, texture, taste and medicinal value.But still there are some lesser known Indian spices definitly you should try in your kitchen.
Here are some lesser known Indian spices:
Kalonji (Nigella Seeds)
Nigella seeds or kalonji are tiny, triangular, jet black seeds that have a faintly bitter flavour with a touch of sweetness. Apart from having medicinal properties, kalonji is a superb spice, used to flavour a variety of traditional dishes, including pickles. Other than being an essential ingredient of the Bengali five-spice mix known as panch phoran, kalonji is also used to temper lentils, greens and other curries.
Radhuni (Dried Fruit of Wild Celery )
Often confused with ajwain, caraway and celery seeds due to its similar appearance, radhuni is actually the small dried fruit of trachyspermum roxburghianum or wild celery, a flowering plant that grows extensively in South Asia. Radhuni smells similar to parsley and tastes quite like celery.
Mostly used in Chettinad and Maharashtrian cuisines, Dagad Phool is ussually mixed with other spices to make indigenous masalas. It is also believed to be a part of the traditional garam masala.
Black Cardamom or Hill Cardamom, Amomum subulatum, is related to green cardamom and are both from the ginger family, but there the comparison stops. The flavors of black cardamom are far different and do not lend to use in sweet dishes. The seed pods are larger and coarser and have a camphor like flavor and a smoky character from the method of drying over fires. It is commonly used in savory dhal or rice mixtures, and in some northern Indian garam masalas.
Lakadong Turmeric (Dried Curcuma Longa Root)
A high curcumin turmeric exclusive to Meghalaya, Lakadong turmeric is counted among the finest turmerics in the world. The root and rhizome (underground stem) of the Curcuma lomba L. plant is crushed and powdered before being sold in the local markets of Jaintia hills.