A Comprehensive Guide to Indian Spices: Whole Seeds

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Close up detail shot of cumin seeds

If you’re a beginner to using spices in your cooking, I really recommend checking out my article on 16 Essential Herbs and Spices for Indian Cooking. In that article I’ve personally picked the spices listed from years of experience, and it’s a great introduction to the different types of spice. However, you’re looking to delve deeper into the world of spices then this is the article for you! 

Whole spices are one of the most important components of Indian cookery. Being able to layer different textures and flavours with spices is what brings complexity, balance and depth to a dish. Once you understand the individual flavour aroma and use of each spice you’ll be empowered to take your cooking to the next level. 

Seeds can be used for many things – bringing texture and bite to a dish, as well as adding spice, sweetness, freshness or tanginess. Some seeds can even be soaked and ground to replicate a creamy texture which is used to thicken Indian gravies. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the ingredients required for making Indian food and how to use them, then do check out the rest of my articles on this subject: 

For now let’s move onto the article so you can learn about the flavour profile, appearance and uses for this spices! 

Please note that all the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for every purchase made through these links, at no extra cost to yourself. 

Glossary of Whole Seeds in English, Hindi and Marathi

Sweet Basil SeedsTukmaria / SabjaTulshi cha Bi
Black Cumin SeedsKala Jeera / Shahi JeeraKala Jeera / Shahi Jeera
Carom SeedsAjwainOwa
Coriander SeedsSabut DhaniaDhane
Cumin SeedsJeeraJeera
Fennel SeedsSaunfBadishep / Sop
Fenugreek SeedsMethi DanaMethi Dana
Black Mustard SeedsSarso / RaiMohri / Rai
Nigella Seeds / Black Onion SeedsKalonjiKalonji
Dried Pomegranate SeedsAnardanaAnardana
White Poppy SeedsKhus KhusKhas Khas
White Sesame SeedsTilTil
Melon SeedsTarbooz ke Beej / MagazTarbooz ke Beej / Magaz

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