Anyone who loves fragrant, spicy food will fall in love with Indian cuisine. The health benefits and popularity of Indian food are due to its ingredients, including these spices, which contribute to its exotic flavors.
Black Mustard Seeds
Black mustard seeds have an earthy, vinegary aroma when crushed into a paste and a floral scent when fried. The tiny seeds are magnesium-rich and promote healthy blood pressure. Adding them to dishes in the early cooking process infuses food with a delicate nutty flavor.
Much of the spiciness of Indian food is due to the heavy use of cayenne derived from the seeds of small capsicum plants. Most Indian curries include cayenne to achieve different levels of spiciness. Grinding the skins of hot chili peppers into a fine powder produces cayenne seasoning. The powder retains a high percentage of naturally occurring capsaicin, the chemical compound that causes a burning sensation.
The seeds of the Coriandrum Sativum plant add a distinctive citrus flavor to many Indian dishes. In addition, coriander has numerous health benefits, such as regulating blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels, reducing inflammation and promoting good digestion.
Cumin has an intense aroma and a slightly nutty flavor. Restaurants specializing in fine Indian cuisine White Plains NY use whole cumin seeds in vegetarian dishes, masalas, and marinades. The taste of cumin is also earthy, citrusy and peppery, making it ideal for giving depth to curries.
Turmeric has a golden-yellow color and is a common ingredient Indian restaurant chefs add to various foods and beverages, including stews, soups, curries and rice dishes. The health benefits of turmeric are primarily due to curcumin, a substance known for its anti-inflammatory properties and abundance of anti-oxidants. As a result, diets high in turmeric are beneficial for individuals susceptible to various ailments, including cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
If you wonder why Indian food appeals to so many people, consider the spices that flavor it.