Spices have been a part of Indian cooking for ages. Many of these spices are known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-allergic and antifungal properties. Spices also impart taste to foods and also improve digestive health and immunity. Certain spices like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cumin seeds have also been used to prepare kadhas which might act as immune boosters against COVID-19. Spices can also benefit pregnant and lactating women as well. Consumption of galactagogues (substances that promote an increase in milk supply) like garlic, ginger, cumin, fenugreek can boost milk production. Consumption of ginger can relieve nausea or vomiting frequently observed in pregnant women.

Nutritional Values

Spices (100 gms)Energy (kcal)Carbohydrate (gms)Protein (gms)Fat (gms)Fibre (gms)
Turmeric (Haldi)350606.58.519
Coriander seeds (Dhaniya)29550121611
Cumin (Jeera)36542162011
Brown mustard seeds (Rai)50025223212
Green cardamom (Elaichi)3056410725
Cinnamon (Dalchini)245804150
Asafoetida (Hing)29565314
Fenugreek seeds (Methi)3205520623
Fennel seeds (Saunf)34050151335
Cloves (Lavang)2706551233

Health Benefits Of Spices

Now that you know the nutritional value of spices, let us look at the benefits of consuming these spices.

1. Diabetic-Friendly And Lowers Cholesterol

Cinnamon and fenugreek seeds lower blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can even cater to the sweet tooth of certain diabetics as the addition of cinnamon to foods imparts a slightly sweeter flavour. Cinnamon can also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels too.

2. Anti-inflammatory Property 

Curcumin present in turmeric helps in lowering inflammation. Consumption of turmeric has also been associated with reduced inflammation of the brain especially in individuals suffering from depression or Alzheimer’s. Turmeric also helps in healing wounds and lowering pain.

3. Antioxidant Property

Cumin has antioxidant properties that help in reducing inflammation and improving the immune system.

4. Reduces Digestive Issues

Cloves are a good source of fibre which helps in dealing with digestive issues like constipation. Consumption of cumin and coriander seeds has also been known to ease digestion-related problems.

5. Beneficial During Lactation

Fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, fennel seeds and cumin have been associated with increased production of breast milk. This can be extremely beneficial for women who have reduced production of milk.

Nutritional Recipes

Now that you know the nutritional value and benefits of spices, let us look into some delicious recipes that incorporate these spices.

1. Lamb Rogan Josh

This tasty curry can be consumed with steamed rice or naan. The addition of fried onions imparts a strong and yummy taste to the recipe.

Cooking time:  1 hrs 20 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 365 kcals

Carbohydrates: 15 gms

Protein: 20 gms

Fat: 10 gms

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms boneless lamb leg (cut into cubes)
  • ½ cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 4-5 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ cup tomato puree
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp fennel (saunf) powder
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • ¼ cup curd
  • Few coriander leaves (for garnishing)
  • 1 tsp sugar to taste (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee for cooking

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat ghee and toast cinnamon, saunf, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. Let it cool for a while.
  2. Blenderize cinnamon, saunf, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns.
  3. Clean and cut the lamb into cubes. Rub the blenderized spices onto the lamb, mix well and keep it aside.
  4. In a large pot, heat ghee. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn brownish. 
  5. Add the ginger-garlic paste after the onions turn brown. 
  6. Blenderize the tomatoes in a blender to obtain tomato puree. Add the tomato puree along with chicken stock and cook for a few minutes. Add the salt as well.
  7. Add the pieces of lamb. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for a while.
  8. Cook at least for an hour till the lamb turns soft. You can check in between using a spoon.
  9. Remove the lid after an hour and add the curd along with saunf, sugar and garam masala. Cook for a few minutes.
  10. Switch off the flame and add coriander leaves on top of the mixture. Serve hot.

2. Rajma Curry

This tasty curry can be consumed with hot rice, plus it is high in protein and fibre!

Cooking time: 25-30 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 200 kcals

Carbohydrates: 25 gms

Protein: 7 gms

Fat: 8 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kidney beans (rajma)
  • 2 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. Soak rajma for 7-8 hours.
  2. Pressure cook the rajma for 4-5 whistles along with 2 cups of water.
  3. In a pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
  4. Add onions along with ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few minutes after the cumin seeds crackle.
  5. Add tomatoes and mix well. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and garam masala. Mix well and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the rajma and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the fresh cream and stir well. Serve hot.

3. Egg Bhurji

This tasty dish can be consumed as a side dish with rice or alongside hot roti or pav.

Cooking time: 10-15 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 125 kcals

Carbohydrates: 15 gms

Protein: 7 gms

Fat: 12 gms

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger (chopped)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • Few coriander leaves (for garnishing)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat oil. Add the onions and cook them till it’s translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes along with ginger and chillies. Mix well.
  3. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix well.
  4. Whisk the eggs properly. Add the eggs onto the pan.
  5. Keep stirring the eggs for a few minutes.
  6. Switch off the flame. Add lemon juice and garnish the bhurji with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

4. Coconut Stew

This tasty stew can be prepared quickly and consumed along with appam.

Cooking time:  20-25 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 155 kcals

Carbohydrates: 15 gms

Protein: 5 gms

Fat: 8 gms

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup carrots (chopped finely)
  • ½ cup french beans (chopped finely)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves (lavang)
  • 2-3 cardamoms (elaichi)
  • ½ cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 2-3 chillies (finely chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. In a pan, heat oil. Add the dry spices (cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick) and saute them for a few minutes.
  2. Add onions and saute till it turns translucent.
  3. Add the coconut milk along with salt and chopped chillies. Mix well and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the veggies and stir the mixture. Let it cook for a few minutes. Serve hot.

5. Kadai Paneer 

This tasty recipe goes well with naan. The addition of spices contributes to the rich flavour and taste of this recipe.

Cooking time:  20-25 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 230 kcals

Carbohydrates: 14 gms

Protein: 12 gms

Fat: 15 gms

Ingredients:

  • 100 gms paneer
  • 2-3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 big onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 big tomato (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Few coriander leaves (for garnishing)
  • 3-4 red chillies (dried and deseeded)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 6-7 cashews
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Oil for cooking

Method:

  1. In a mixer, blenderize chillies, saunf, coriander seeds and cardamom. Keep it aside.
  2. Blenderize the onions and tomatoes as well.
  3. Roast cashews and keep them aside.
  4. In a pan, heat oil. Add paneer and fry for a while. Switch off the flame and keep it aside.
  5. In another pan, heat butter and add ginger-garlic paste.
  6. Transfer the onion-tomato paste and paneer onto this pan.
  7. Add the blenderized spices mixture as well.
  8. Add chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well.
  9. Add 1 ½ cup water to the mixture along with salt. Let the mixture simmer.
  10. Switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and cashews. Serve hot.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cumin seeds can quickly burn if cooked at a higher temperature. When it starts to crackle, immediately lower the heat and start adding other ingredients to prevent burning.
  2. Coriander seeds can be best used as a powder to add to the flavour of a recipe.
  3. Asafoetida should be added to the dishes at the beginning of the recipe when the oil or ghee is hot. Allow it to cook for a few seconds before adding the other ingredients.
  4. Cloves can be used in biryani, chicken dishes or other curries for imparting a strong flavour and aroma to the dishes.
  5. Certain spices like turmeric, cardamom, coriander or cumin can be used for marinating chicken or fish.
  6. Green cardamom is gently crushed or the pods can be opened before using in any dish.
  7. Go for food products that are made from organic, local ingredients, available on the Red Dot Shop.
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36 Irresistible Breakfast Recipes

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