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Spices play a very important role in Indian cooking. If there are no spices, it’s not Indian food. We Indians have a habit of spicing up our food to make it more hot and tasty. Some of the spices are required for the aroma, some for flavor and some for complimenting other spices.

Spices are defined as “a strongly flavored or aromatic substance of vegetable origin, obtained from tropical plants, commonly used as a condiment”. Spices were once as precious as Gold. India plays a very important role in the spice market of the world. In ancient times majority of the spices were produced in India and exported world wide. It was then, the spices of India attracted people across the borders and forced them to come to India for Spice trade.

Masala is a word very commonly used in Indian cooking and is simply the Hindi word for “spice.” So, whenever a combination of spices, herbs and other condiments are ground or blended together, it is called masala.

The Indian spices can be categorized into three main categories:

  • 1. The basic spices
  • 2. Complimentary spices
  • 3. Aromatic or secondary spices