Masalas or spices play an essential role in Indian cuisine. One cannot envision an Indian dish which has no spices in it. However, it is a misconception that by spices we mean things that make the food hot and fiery. The truth is that spices provide flavor to the food and make it tasty. Every spice in an Indian kitchen has a unique flavor and whenever it is put into a preparation, the dish gets the corresponding flavor.

Indian dishes will usually have more than one spice in them. It is typically a combination of various spices that impart an Indian dish a unique flavor and taste. If you are trying out your hand in cooking Indian, it is a good idea to get yourself acquainte with Indian spices commonly use. Here are a few masalas you should know about.

Turmeric powder MasalasĀ 

Turmeric has many heath properties but the main reasons why it is use in Indian cooking is because of its yellow color and beautiful flavor. Most Indian dishes will contain this spice and it is something you should definitely have in your kitchen no matter whether you are cooking a vegetable or a meat dish.

Red chili powder

This is another spice that is a constant in every Indian kitchen. It is also the spice that adds heat to the curry it is prepare with. Its red color also looks beautiful.


laung’ is a spice that is use for tempering and also one of the things that go into making the famed ‘garam masala’. Cloves are great for the high intensity of flavor they bring to a dish. Some people will also make tea with a ground clove.


This is great when use as a tempering and is use in the making of ‘garam masala’. However, cardamom is also something that is use a lot in the preparation of Indian deserts like payasam, kheer, halwa and sandesh because of its sweet flavor.


This will usually be the most expensive spice an Indian kitchen will have. Saffron is use in a limited amount and only in dishes which are special or celebratory.
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Biriyanis, pulavs and rice pudding are a few of the dishes which use this red beauty.


This is a very common spice use in India. It may be use for tempering purposes or may be powder to release its aroma.
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It is well-loved for its earthy aroma and ability to make most vegetables tasty.

The above spices are just a beginning. There are lots and lots of other spices that are use regularly in Indian households. However, these are the most commonly use and you better get yourself familiarized with them if you are thinking of cooking Indian anytime in the future.