Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Significance Of Spices In Cooking

Authentic South Indian CuisineA broad term used to describe herbal by-products, spices are used to add flavor and serve as aesthetic, aromatic and therapeutic treatment to food items. Spices are made from natural sources like leaves, flowers, roots, barks or nuts of a plant. Also, spices are generally dried and ground before they are mixed with other ingredients and then finally added to various types of dishes. Spices appeal to all the five human sense and have been an integral part of cooking since time immemorial. In addition, spices have also played an integral role in the cuisine of various countries especially India. So while spices are used in almost all regions of India, South Indian food uses them in the most creative and enhanced manner. This is because South India is one of the biggest manufacturer and exporters of spices in the world and this is truly depicted in their dishes as well. In other words, because of the easy availability of spices, a number of South Indian food recipes uses a wide variety of spices in almost all their dishes and food items.

South Indian DishesThe history of spices can be traced back to the Middle Ages particularly that of nutmeg and garlic. Trading spices among different cultures and countries in the early centuries was a means of dominating the world economy, to the point that many expeditions were undertaken for this purpose. As the spices were discovered, continents like North and South America were also discovered, giving a massive impetus to trade and commerce in the global sense. In 1497 the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route around the southern tip of Africa, eventually reaching Kozhikode on the southwest coast of India in 1498. Da Gama returned from his voyage with a cargo of nutmegs, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and peppercorns. Later on in the Middle Ages, spices become as valuable in Europe as gold and precious stones and the single most important force in the economy of the world.  Also fierce competition among European nations for control of the spice trade was the driving force behind the colonization of India and other Asian lands. Additionally, the lack of refrigeration and poor standards of hygiene meant that spices were very useful in helping to mask the flavor of preserved food. Later, as spices become common and economical, it began to be used in a number of household for enhancing and improving the flavor of dishes. Today spices have become extremely common in homes around the world and are an essential element in many cooking techniques as well. 

Idli Sambar
As mentioned above, spices are an essential part of Indian cuisine particularly authentic South Indian cuisine which is known for its extravagant and popular use of various types of spices. Many vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of South India like sambar, rasam, biryanis use a lot of spices in order to improve the taste and flavor of the dishes. Further, many South Indian Cuisine Restaurants also prepare dishes using popular spices in order to retain the authentic taste and flavor. In short, spices are today extremely popular and well-known, making them one of the most important elements of not just South Indian food, but of global cuisine as well.

For details about South Indian Cuisine Restaurants visit

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