50+ Indian Spices List with Names, Uses & More

When people say Indian food is popular around the world, we should thank those chefs who’ve passed on the Indian spices through their excellent preparations. It is these secret spices that make our food so special and unique in its own way.

So, I thought there won’t be any better idea than to talk about some of the commonly used traditional spices in this post.

This way, those of you who don’t know much about Indian food will also get to know a few things about these unknown ingredients. And if you’re looking for particular names or their usage, I think the following Indian spices list will also help you out.

Hindi is a well-known language in India, so I’ll try and share the names of these spices in Hindi as well as English. It will hopefully make your job much easier while selecting them in your local grocery store.

For those who’re unaware of popular Indian masalas i.e. blend of different spices, here’s the list of masalas for you –

Most Popular Masalas in India

  • Garam Masala
  • Pav Bhaji Masala
  • Tandoori Masala/Kebab Masala
  • Pulao/Biryani Masala
  • Sambar Masala
  • Pani Puri Masala
  • Chat Masala
  • Chole Masala/Rajma Masala
  • Fish Masala
  • Chicken Masala
  • Chai Masala

Alright, these are the most commonly used masalas in all households across this country. Of course, people from different regions also include other spices along with aforementioned masalas in their traditional recipes.

For ex. Malvani people have their own masala (known as Malvani Masala) that they use with different spices in their delicious fish curries as well as chicken curries.

Indian Spices List:

Now, let’s jump over to the list of Indian spices.

English NameHindi NameHow to useUses
AsofoetidaHingTemperingFlavoring agent for curries.
Basil SeedsSabjaSoak in water and mix with other ingredients.Flavoring ingredient. Mostly used in Falooda and other desserts.
Bay LeafTej PattaStir-fry in oil for a couple of minutes. Dry roast for masalas.Flavoring ingredient for spicy rice and curry dishes; Also used in many masalas.
Black CardamomMoti Elaichi/Badi Eliachi/Kali ElaichiStir-fry or Dry roastFlavoring ingredient for curries, rice and dessert dishes.
Black PepperKali MirchStir-fry or Dry roastImportant flavoring agent in majority of Indian masalas.
Black Sesame SeedsKale TilDirect use or Dry roastFlavoring ingredient for some vegetable curries and Indian breads.
Caraway SeedsShahjeera/Shahi JeeraStir-fry or Dry roastFlavoring ingredient in rice preparations. Can be included in masalas.
CardamomElaichi/Choti ElaichiStir-fry or Dry roastImportant taste and flavor enhancer for Pulaos, Biryanis and sweet dishes. Also used as an aromatic for certain dishes.
Carom SeedsAjwainStir-fry or Dry roastFlavoring ingredient for different dishes.
CassiaDalchiniStir-fry or Dry roastUseful alternative to Cinnamon.
CharoliCharoli/ChironjiStir-fry or Direct use in sweets.Flavoring ingredient. Also used in some Indian sweets.
CilantroDhaniya ke PatteGarnishing or Direct use in some curries.Same as Coriander Powder. The leaves bring more fresh flavor to the dishes.
CinnamonDalchiniStir-fry or Dry roastTaste and Flavoring ingredient. Basic spice in different masalas. Sticks can also be used in some rice and curry dishes.
Cinnamon BudsNag KesarDirect useFlavoring ingredient. Used in blended spices.
CloveLaungStir-fry or Dry roastImportant flavoring agent in numerous Indian spice blends.
CorianderDhaniyaStir-fry, Dry roast or Direct use depending on the recipes.Taste and Flavor enhancer for various dishes. Mostly used in the form of powder.
CubebKabab ChiniDirect useFlavoring ingredient. Should be used in powdered form.
Cumin SeedsJeeraStir-fry or Dry RoastFlavoring agent for many curries and rice preparations. Also used in blended masalas.
Curry LeavesKadi PattaTempering or Stir-fryFlavor enhancer for vegetable curries and dal preparations.
Dry CoconutSukha Nariyal/Kopra/KhopraDry roast and make a paste with other spices as per the requirement of your recipe.Base ingredient in blended spices required for different coastal curries.
Dry Fenugreek LeavesKasuri MethiDirect use, when the vegetable curry is almost cooked.Flavor enhancer for Punjabi curries.
Dry GingerSoonthDirect useMostly used in powdered masalas for its medicinal properties.
Dry Mango PowderAmchoorDirect useTaste enhancer for curries.
Dry Pomegranate SeedsAnardanaDirect useFlavoring ingredient for curries.
Fennel SeedsSaunfStir-fry or Dry roastAromatic and Flavor enhancer for curries. Important spice in many masalas.
Fenugreek SeedsMethi DanaTempering or Stir-fryBase ingredient for different styles of Tadkas. Can be used in blended masalas.
Flax SeedsAlsiDirect useFlavor enhancer for juices, salads, etc. Should be used in powdered form.
Four Seeds (Almonds, Pumpkin, Cantaloupe and Watermelon)Char MagazDirect useMostly used in vegetable curries and sweets preparations. Enhances flavor of the dish.
Indian GooseberryAmla/AwalaStir-fry or Direct use as per the recipes.Can be used in whole as well as powdered form. Improves taste of the dish.
GarlicLahsunStir-fry or Direct useBasic ingredient for lots of Indian curries and rice dishes.
GingerAdrakStir-fry or Direct useBasic ingredient for lots of Indian curries and rice dishes.
Green/Black RaisinsKishmishDirect useParticularly used in sweet dishes and some of the royal curry or rice preparations for its taste.
Green ChilliesHari MirchDirect useTaste enhancer for innumerable spicy dishes.
Ground NutsSingdanaDirect use or Dry roastFlavor enhancer for chutneys and curries.
KokumKokum/RatambiDirect use in curriesTaste enhancer for lip-smacking Malvani and Goan curries.
Licorice SticksJethimadhDirect useUsed in regional spice blends for its medicinal properties.
Lotus SeedsMakhana/Phool MakhanaDirect useUsed in Kheer preparations as taste enhancer.
MaceJavitriStir-fry till aroma comes out.Important ingredient in most of the masalas. Used as a taste and flavoring agent.
MintPudinaDirect use for chutneys and garnishing.Aromatic and Flavor enhancer for several rice preparations, chutneys and stuffed parathas/rotis.
Mustard SeedsSarson/RaiTemperingImportant tempering ingredient.
Nigella SeedsKalaunjiDirect useFlavor enhancer for some Punjabi curries as well as rotis.
NutmegJaifalDirect use or Stir-fryOne of the most important ingredients in many spice mixtures. Brings amazing flavor to various preparations.
Pine NutsChilgozeDirect useFlavoring and Taste enhancer for different dishes.
Poppy SeedsKhas KhasDry roastUsed in some regional blended masalas for its taste and flavor.
PulsesDalTemperingUsed as a flavoring agent in Indian curries.
Rock SaltKala Namak/Saindhav NamakDirect useFlavoring ingredient for various dishes. Sometimes used as an alternative to regular salt.
Red ChilliesLal MirchTempering, Stir-fry as well as Direct use.Basic ingredient for majority of Indian spices, though people use different chillies as per their availability.
Rose WaterGulab JalDirect useAromatic.
Saffron StrandsKesar/KesharDissolve in water or warm milk.Coloring and Flavoring agent.
Screw Pine EssenceKevda Water/Kewra JalDirect useAromatic and Flavoring agent
Sichuan PepperTeppal/TriphalDirect useFlavoring spice for fish curries.
Star AniseChakra Phool/BadiyanDirect use, Dry roast or Stir-fryMostly used in various spice blends. Can be used in vegetable Pulaos. Imparts great flavors to your dishes.
Stone FlowerDagad PhoolDirect use in powdered form.Mostly used in blended masalas. Provides unique flavor, which is not found in other spices.
TamarindImliDirect use as a fine paste.Taste and Flavor enhancer for curries and chutneys.
Tea LeafChai PattiDirect use in boiling water.Used in herbal teas for its medicinal value.
Turmeric PowderHaldi PowderDirect useColor Enhancer and Anti-Bacterial ingredient in different marinations.
White PepperSafed MirchDirect use or Dry roastFlavoring ingredient. Could be used as an alternative to Black Pepper.
White Sesame SeedsSafed TilDirect use or Dry roastTaste and Flavor enhancer.
White VinegarSirkaDirect useAlternative to Tamarind, Kokum, Lemon and other sour ingredients. Generally used in North-East Indian and Goan dishes.

Conclusion

Now, that’s a quite huge list of spices! I didn’t know we use so many spices in our dishes.

We’re really fortunate that we can use any of these spices and enhance the flavor, taste and aroma of our preparations.

Like our previous generations, I believe we should also treasure this beautiful gift of nature and share with the new generations. It will only help make our food culture more rich with new additions from different cultures around the world.

Over to you

If you know any other spice names, please do mention them below with proper details i.e names (Hindi & English), uses and health benefits (if any). I’ll add them in the above list.

1 comment… add one
  • Anil Kumar Rishi

    It is very useful information you have here. I didn’t get this type of details in one box. Thanks for this collection.

Leave a Comment