Psychedelic spice: the source of Indian taste

The author of the British author John O’Connell’s Book of Spices writes that without the wealth of the spice trade, the Renaissance may never happen. When Dumas wrote in Venice, he described it best: “Under the influence of spices, intelligence seems to have an immortal leap. The reason why we can have the masterpiece of Titian, is it all thanks to spices? I really want to believe at this point.”

In 1658, in order to compete for the cinnamon trade in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the Dutch defeated the Portuguese in the war and added a port for transporting peppers on the Malabar coast and Java island in the southwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. Since the Middle Ages, pepper has attracted Europeans to come to India. After winning the short-lived cinnamon and pepper trade, the Dutch cut off all the clove trees outside Abaya and monopolized the clove trade market for 60 years. Later, the Frenchman stole the seeds of the lilac tree and transplanted it successfully. This monopoly was broken. After more than 100 years of turning around, this has stirred up the spice trade war in Western Europe and ended with the victory of the British.

Spices are the best gift God has given to Indians, and they are still proud of the Indians. Jack Turner gave a definition of spices in Spice Legend: “In general, spices are not vanilla, the part of plants that are aromatic, leafy, and green. Herbs are leafy, and spices are still It can contain other parts of the plant: bark, roots, flower buds, gums, resins, seeds, fruits or stigmas.” For a long time in the past, spices were used for medicine or for other purposes – ancient Egypt People used to import spices such as cinnamon to preserve the body of Pharaoh; the pharmacists of the Old Testament era smashed the spices into balsams and placed them in temples; the Romans used spices as preservatives until hundreds of years. People only discovered the cooking effect of spices.

Psychedelic spice: the source of Indian taste
Spice shop

In cooking, Indians are the world’s favorite country to use spices, and they are extremely particular about it. In old India, if there isn’t a heavy flat grindstone in the kitchen, the kitchen is not complete, and the spices needed during the day are freshly ground in the morning on the grindstone. The flavors used in meat, vegetarian, rice, seafood and hot tea vary according to the type of cooking.

Delhi’s Gadodia Spice Market is the oldest spice market in Delhi, located in the famous Old Delhi Moonlight Market. Once inside, all the flavors mixed together and rushed into the nose. The intense stimulation was many times beyond the smell of curry dishes. We kept sneezing and asked about the qualities of each spice and the way they spiced. Indians use spices to have a lot of their own principles: the sweet and spicy cloves have a strong scent, and as long as they are a little bit, they can add a strong taste. If they are too much, they will grab the taste; the nutmeg will be sweet and bitter, and the meat will be put, but It is not used too much, it will be too bitter, and so on; the red meat is heavy and suitable for scented spices such as cloves and black pepper; the white meat tastes lighter, generally with the fresh fragrance of bay leaf, mung bean and so on. To reduce the thick taste of the taste, some will also add roasted cashew nuts, peanuts, the smell of nuts can increase the layering of the taste.

The use of spices in the four regions of the east, the west and the north is also very different, which makes the Indian taste generally spicy, but it has a strong regional character. The north is India’s granary, but also rich in dairy products. Yogurt, milk tofu, Indian ghee, and cheese can all be used in cooking. It is a unique taste in the north. In addition to the rich desserts in the eastern region, mustard seeds are often used in cooking. , mustard oil and poppy seeds, these seasonings will only give the food a slight pungency, not very exciting; the southern point is typical of eating sea by the sea, seafood is a unique fresh food in the South, they love to cook with coconut milk, Because of the abundance of peppers, the southern Masala’s spicyness is not a grade in the north. The south often eats a kind of vindaloo, adding a lot of red peppers. It is also a kind of red curry that we often say. There is some red wine added, and some of the sour taste of the wine is eaten. This is a kind of spicy food that I have eaten. I lived with the mutton belly and stimulated and ecstasy. As for the western region, compared with other regions, the food category is lacking. Here, the ratio of pork and beef to vegetables is higher than other places. A little vinegar is added during cooking, and there is some sweet and sour taste in the spicy.


Pepper is the king of spices. In the Middle Ages, the pharmacists of wealthy people kept some pepper all year round. They used a special skin to keep the crushed pepper in the kitchen for easy access.

In the BBC documentary “Spices Road”, the first episode talked about Indian pepper, which was highly sought after in medieval Europe. The film said, “In the Middle Ages, if you stole a handful of pepper, you will get a profit. Successfully ransacked the bank today.” Europeans’ fascination with spices has led to the discovery of later geography. “The first impetus for Europeans to invade India is entirely secular and utilitarian: that is the great demand for spices.” They believe that black pepper has the magical effect of treating plague and black death.

Pepper was introduced to India very late. Before the 16th century, pepper was the most spicy spice in Indian spices. Two types of pepper are the most common, one is the sweet and spicy piterlongum, and the other is the black pepper we are familiar with. Lizzie Collingham’s “The Legend of Curry” writes that these two peppers are commonly prescribed by Indian doctors to treat phlegm and flatulence, and long peppers can also increase sperm. The quantity is therefore popular with men.


It was through the Portuguese that peppers were introduced to India. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when peppers were first introduced to India, people kept confusing them with pepper. In the current Goa, a coastal city in the south of Mumbai, there is also a person called pepper “Gowaimirchi”. As soon as it entered the southern Indian subcontinent, the pepper spread quickly. Not only did it have no obstacles to plant it, but more importantly, the Indians found a new flavoring agent. The method of eating pepper is simple and different from pepper. The pungent spicy taste. “Make it into a paste between two stones, plus a little mustard oil, ginger and salt, which is the only condiment that thousands of poor people can get with rice.”

There is a kind of hot pepper in the Assam area in the northeast. It is called “Indian Ghost Pepper” or “Broken Pepper”. The Scoville Scale is the basic unit for measuring capsaicin content in peppers worldwide. According to tests, the index of Chaotian pepper is 30,000, the number of Indian peppers is 1.04 million, and the index of peppers that should be Welsh is as high as 2.48 million. The pepperie (Mike Smith) named it Dragon’s Breath, but this thing is likely to cause anaphylactic shock and even death risk.

Having said that, no one in India will make a spice cooking with ghost peppers. Experiments have shown that when the pepper is transplanted to the field in central India, capsaicin is reduced by 50%.

Curry leaf (curryleaf)

The chef of Kakatiya Restaurant in Hyderabad took a handful of curry leaves and showed us a dark green leaflet with fine serrated leaves. It tasted bitter and was originally a herb, which was later used. Cooking. It is said that the forest at the foot of the Himalayas is a place where the curry leaves flourish, but the northerners rarely use curry leaves as spices, but the southerners cannot do without curry leaves.

In India, the more you go south, the more you like to use curry leaves, until you reach Sri Lanka across the sea, where cooking is completely inseparable from curry leaves. If you want to define the eating habits of the southern coast of Kerala, curry leaves and coconuts are the two most important flavors. People will immerse their food in sauces made of ginger, chili, garlic, onions, tomatoes, curry leaves and coconut milk. Cook it, mix it with rice or coconut milk, and finally enjoy it on the banana leaves.

Chef Shankara also told us about the magical effect of a curry leaf, which is a medicine for the treatment of hair loss in India, which is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, carotene and other trace elements essential for hair growth and fixation.


It is cumin, whether it is in the north or in the south of Masala, it is an important taste. In Hindi, it is called jeera, and the pronunciation is similar to the word “孜然”. Indians love to be awkward, even cooking it directly with rice, and some menus will be written with jerearice, which is to cook rice. There is also cumin water, Nanyin people will directly drink cumin powder, Beiyin people will also use cold, lemon juice, ginger and mint leaves to make a cold drink, sometimes add some mango powder, in short It sounds like an unimaginable “dark dish”, but this is a popular cold drink for their summer heat.

As in the Middle East and Xinjiang, the combination of cumin and lamb is the perfect combination. Whether it is curry lamb or various barbecues, as long as there is lamb, Maserari must be awkward. But Indians will never take mutton to stew. In the Ayurvedic medical system, it has the effect of improving diarrhea and vomiting, and it can also reduce fever. In many oriental medical views, fever is an inflammatory reaction, and it is also a medicinal herb in anti-inflammatory.


There are many spices in India, many of which look very similar and are not very distinguishable. Gezizi is a bit like a slap in the face. From the head, Gezizi is a little slenderer than the scent, and the scent is similar, but the taste is more intense than the scorpion, and the scorpion has a refreshing sweetness. Aroma of cool.

It is said that the earliest origin of Gezizi was Sicily, Italy, and later spread north to Northern Europe and west to Central Asia and South Asia. In the Middle Ages, Caraway was popular in Europe and West Asia, so the Orientals also like to call it “Roman cumin.”

There is also a fennelseed that is not very clear. It is used more in East India because it is a bit sweeter. It is also a lot of fennel used in post-dinner breath fresheners.

Psychedelic spice: the source of Indian taste
Gitika, the gourmet darling, showed us the spices she used to cook.


It is a coriander, which is especially loved by Indians. Like China, many meat dishes are sprinkled with a few fresh clams to enhance their taste.

But as a spice, Indians use more coriander seeds. In some English-speaking countries, it is also called coriander directly. Although the research is not very clear, as a spice, coriander seeds have been used in the production of Masala for a long time. Its taste is relatively mild, with a hint of citrus sweet smell, not so good, it can be combined with a lot of irrelevant taste without abrupt, but can make the taste soothing. Stir-fry in a dry pan is the release of essential oils from the seeds, and it also emits a subtle floral fragrance with a rich layer.


This is probably the most expensive spice in the spice market, and it is generally only used in large restaurants. The earliest people who used saffron to cook were Persians. Later, they spread throughout the Islamic world and Western Europe. The shadows of saffron can be found in the cooking of Turkey, Spain, and Italy. Under the influence of Persia, the Indians developed their own hand-picked biryani. “The saffron soaked with milk will be sprinkled on the rice to add color and aroma to the rice. The whole dish will be tight. Cover it and cook it slowly.”

In cooking, saffron has a spicy and bitter smell. People who like it feel that this smell is wonderful, but many people cannot accept it. Hundreds of years ago, saffron was a very important dye. Medieval monks found that if saffron was mixed with protein, it could be used as a yellow pigment to replace the more expensive gold in the manuscript. Saffron in cooking also adds a layer of yellow to the dishes, and some people sprinkle a few saffron without cooking on the dishes. Like pepper, saffron was also used as an antidote to the Black Death during the Middle Ages.