Takeaway in Banstead: 7 Essential Indian Spices

Are you a curry enthusiast? Then Indian food is probably high on your food radar. When it comes to ordering your takeaway in Banstead, it’s always good to know what spices are used in Indian dishes. Some you may have seen (cumin, turmeric), while others you may not have heard of (garam masala, fennel seeds).

These spices are must-haves for creating the flavours of authentic Indian cooking.

  1. Cumin

When it comes to an Indian takeaway in Banstead, you can be sure there’ll be a dish on the menu that includes cumin in it. These miniature, crescent moon-shaped herbs look like brown seeds and are a vital flavour in North India in dishes like papadum, Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes), and crunchy flatbreads made using chickpea flour.

  1. Fennel Seeds

These dried seeds from the fennel plant are called ‘saunf’ and their fronds and bulbs are consumed as a vegetable. Liquorice-like in taste, fennel seeds are delicate and small enough to use in meat marinades and dishes containing okra.

  1. Turmeric

Similar in appearance to ginger, turmeric is a rhizome with a vibrant orange flesh. Its earthy flavour is popular in chicken dishes and in turmeric yoghurt soup known as khadi. You can purchase turmeric as a ground, golden powder or it can be bought fresh, so you can choose to grate it.

  1. Fenugreek

With their pungent, celery-like taste, fenugreek seeds are used in dishes like tandoori chicken. They’re yellow-brown in hue and must be heated gradually to bring out the flavour. If heated too quickly, they can burn, making them bitter in taste. Fenugreek can be likened to the flavour of maple syrup and gives a depth of flavour to saucy Indian dishes.

  1. Garam Masala

These warming spices are a blend of peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cardamon pods, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds which you can buy pre-ground from your local supermarket. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make garam masala yourself using whole spices. Dishes using this spice include butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, and chana masala.

  1. Mustard Seeds

Most takeaways in Banstead will use mustard seeds within their dishes. The seeds include three colours: black, brown and yellow. The spice’s sharp flavour is because it contains sulphur compounds, but you can heat the mustard seeds in oil or ghee if you prefer a mellower, nuttier flavour. Mustard seeds are often used to flavour chickpeas or potatoes and are the main ingredient in mango pickle (Gujarati-style methia keri).

  1. Star Anise

Grown from a tree in the magnolia family, the star-shaped star anise seedpod has a liquorice-like taste. It’s used in sweet and savoury dishes alike. It’s known for enhancing the flavour of meat and is a must-have spice in biryani and other masala dishes. Star anise can be either bought as a powered spice, or whole.

Use our list above as a simple guide to help you decipher some of the terms on your takeaway. 

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