Asha’s 5 Essential Spices

Indian Cuisine. Loved by many, known by few. Tantalising textures, complex flavours and magical experiences, Indian cuisine is an art in itself that goes way beyond butter chicken or tikka masala. But how much do we truly understand around the complex nature of the dishes we smell, see and crave after?

At Asha’s, a lot of careful thought, preparation and tasting goes into deciding which flavour works best for which dish. Taking local preferences into consideration, we tailor each dish to reach the optimal level of flavour. As an avid explorer of flavor, Asha herself ventures out to select the freshest of spices.

As with any extraordinary concept, there are foundational blocks. Whether you love our kebabs or biryanis for its rich aromas or vibrant colours, here’s a quick guide to Asha’s five essential spices of Indian food.

1. Saffron

Description: A spice derived from the Saffron crocus flower. Gram for gram, the most
expensive spice in the world.

Characteristic: Dark red colour. Complex flavour, with slight floral hints. Because of its
extremely intense flavour, saffron is usually dissolved with water or milk.

Used in: Our delicately flavoured biryanis.

2. Cardamom

Description: A spice made from either the green or black seeds of the cardamom pod.

Characteristic: Green seeds tend to taste light and sweet, with a mild eucalyptus note, while
the black seeds give off a smokey and powerfully spicy flavour.

Used in: Green seeds are used in Indian sweets and desserts, while black seeds add heft to savoury dishes like our Tandoori Machli or our vegetarian-friendly Bhindi Do Pyazaa.

3. Cumin

Description: Brown seeds from a flowering plant. Cumin powder is also widely used.

Characteristic: Smokey fragrance, with a bitter undertone. Tastes best when seeds are freshly ground and dry-roasted.

Used in: You can find these in almost all our dishes, such as our home style spinach and Barrah Kebab.

4. Coriander

Description: Herb, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. Both the seeds and leaves are
used in Indian kitchens.

Characteristic: Slightly citrus notes, seeds are golden-yellow in colour with a rigid texture. Similar to cumin seeds, coriander seeds are best when dry-roasted.

Used in: All our curries and succulent kebabs such as the Gosht Seekh Kebab. It’s the perfect condiment!

5. Turmeric

Description: A spice made from root. The plant is either used fresh or dried. You probably
know it as a powder.

Characteristic: Golden colour. Earthy and pungent fragrance. Stains easily.

Used in: Almost all savoury dishes, including Murg Begmathi and our Boatman Prawn Curry.

Using these spices is the first step on the journey of Indian flavours. Making them work together in harmony is an art that takes great Indian chefs and spice masters years to master. Try looking out for these flavours next time you indulge in one of our curries! We look forward to welcoming you soon!