The Indian diet makes use of many spices, flavors, and colors. It is generally low in fat and high in vegetables, fruit, and lean meat. Many of the spices used in Indian cooking contain health benefits ranging from high iron content to helping treat and cure skin irritation, to minimizing high blood pressure.
Turmeric can be used fresh or dried and is in almost a dozen of Sula’s dishes such as the Mattar Paneer, Navrattan Korma, and many of our chicken dishes. Fresh turmeric is slightly stronger in flavor than that of dried, and it adds a potent yellow color to the dish. Turmeric contains curcumin which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it contains antioxidant properties which are beneficial in reducing the instances of illness and disease.
Ginger is another popular spice with powerful medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries to relieve digestive problems such as motion sickness, pain, and nausea. Like turmeric, ginger root can be dried or used fresh. It is used to enhance flavor in combination with other spices in our Gobi Aloo, Channa Masala, Lamb Tikka, and a number of other dishes.
Garlic is used to enhance flavor in almost every cuisine in the world. It is high in sulfur compounds and is said to rank second to turmeric in benefits. It has a powerful aroma and boosts flavor in curries and stir-fries. Garlic is used in many of our dishes such as the Garlic Naan, Dal Makhani, and in a creamy onion curry in the Palak/Saag Paneer. Garlic has medicinal and health benefits including improving cardiovascular health, and blood pressure. It can also protect skin from free radicals and slow down the depletion of collagen which leads to aging.
Cardamom is related to ginger and can be used to help with digestive issues, detoxification, depression, asthma, hypertension, skin, and relieve cold and flu. It is used in desserts, coffee, tea, and many Indian dishes. Both green and black cardamom is used in Indian cooking. Green cardamom has a sweet and light flavor and can be blended when making spices for a variety of dishes. Black cardamom is smoky and should be used with caution — typically only the seeds are used as it can add a significant amount of spice to the dish. Our Murg Malai Tikka is seasoned with cardamom and a mild Indian spice blend.
Caraway is another common spice used in Indian cooking. It acts as an antihistaminic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, disinfectant, and digestive. It contains many antioxidants which remove harmful free radicals from our bodies. It is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Caraway can also help reduce puffiness and inflammation of the skin. We use it in combination with mustard in our Tandoori Fish.
Coriander (also known as cilantro) is one of the oldest-known spices in the world. It is gently ridged in texture, can be used as a base for spice mixes, and is one of the most commonly used ground spices in Indian cuisine. It is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, Magnesium, and protein. Coriander can also heal ulcers, reduce blood pressure, and clear up skin disorders such as eczema and dryness. It is used in our Gobi Aloo as well as the Chicken Jalfrezi.
Paprika is made by grinding bell or chili peppers into a fine powder and it adds a vibrant red color when used. Paprika is loaded with carotenoids and other vitamins which prevent light rays from damaging eye tissue and aid in healthy cell development. It also contains a large amount of iron which supports cellular metabolism, allowing cells to carry out chemical reactions which result in energy production. Paprika also promotes many skin benefits such as anti-aging, treating spider veins, and bacterial skin problems such as acne. It is used in combination with masala in our Mix Veg Curry as well as the Chicken Vindaloo.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and is more valuable by weight than gold. This is because it is one of the most labor-intensive spices to produce. Saffron comes from Kashmir, Iran, and Spain, and is dark red in color. It is an intense spice typically dissolved in warm water or milk before added to dishes. It contains more than 150 volatile compounds and is used in both Eastern and Western medicine. It helps increase appetite and reduce stomachache and tension. It also aids in healthy cell formation and repair. At Sula, we use saffron in our Vegetable Biryani, Chicken Biryani, and Lamb Biryani.