To define spices in general, they are simply dried edible parts of trees and plants which are used extensively in cooking as a seasoning and for flavouring the dish. A spice’s duty as a flavourer or a seasoning agent is sometimes handled by culinary herbs as well, although the latter is primarily used as a garnish in dishes. But, a spice is always the dried seeds, fruits, roots, barks, whereas culinary herbs are always the green, fresh stems or leaves, which make the biggest distinction between spices and herbs.

As mentioned before, a spice is employed to add taste to the food, but sometimes spice can also be used to hide a flavour. Spice is essential in the cooking of dishes which make use of meat, seafood, etc. Because meat can be easily and quickly spoilt and the pace of decomposition of meat is delayed by the use of spices due to their antimicrobial properties.

All culinary traditions of the world, especially the Indian cuisine and Chinese cuisine are marked by the elaborate usage of spices in their dishes. India and China were part of the ancient spice trade that began approximately 4000 years ago. Black pepper and cinnamon were mostly traded from the Indian subcontinent, whereas from China, traders sourced herbs and ethnic peppercorns (Sichuan). Another ancient spice variety is clove, which was recorded in ancient Indian, Egyptian and Roman customs.

Turmeric Powder

Below we list some of the most important spice varieties:


Turmeric has been present in both Chinese and Indian traditional medicinal systems since ages. In Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, turmeric is a very important spice which adds a slightly bitter, pungent flavour to the foods along with imparting an earthy aroma resembling mustard. Turmeric is a customary component in Indian curries due to its flavour and the dark yellow colour attributed by a chemical substance called ‘curcumin’. It is often used in curries in the form of powder or paste. Turmeric in powder form is very popular nowadays as an ingredient in smoothies and drinks, as it imparts a slightly bitter, earthy and pungent flavour. Based on the knowledge provided by ancient medicinal systems, turmeric has several health benefits and medicinal properties, although most of them are not scientifically proven.


Just like turmeric, Ginger is also belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. Being rhizomes, both of them are remarkably similar in shape and appearance. Also, in case of both the spices, the roots are used in cuisines. Ginger is peculiar for its strong hot flavour which is pungent and spicy. Ginger has a pleasing aroma, which also doubles its spice quality. Ginger is a regular ingredient in Indian dishes, and in many recipes, it is used with an equal portion of garlic, both in paste (or powdered form). Our store offers a handful varieties of powdered ginger in packets. Ginger’s quality to complement salty and chilli flavours make it a regular entity in spicy dishes.


Garlic is a frequently used spice in cuisines of most of the Asian countries, including China, India, Middle East, and other East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian countries. It is also used widely in African, Southern European and Latin American cuisines.

Garlic is part of the onion genus, called ‘Allium’. Just like onion and shallots, the bulb of the garlic plant is used in cuisines. Garlic has several myths and traditional medicinal uses attached to it in several cultures.  Garlic is notable for its pungent, spicy flavour which becomes mild and subtly sweet with cooking. Find our section of dried garlic powder and garlic flakes for cooking enthusiasts.

Black Pepper

Although there are a few other fruits which are called peppercorns, the real black pepper is the flowering vine variety, called ‘piper nigrum’ in Botanical terminology. Black pepper is native to the South Indian state Kerala, where it was abundantly cultivated during the old times. The ancient spice trade, which was the merchandising of spices among the civilizations during the pre-common era, was drastically changed with the introduction of black pepper by the Romans and Europeans. Just like the olden days, black pepper is the most traded spice variety in modern times as well.

The ground form of black pepper is used in almost all cuisines across the globe, as a seasoning and a flavourer. Black peppercorn is remarkable for its strong, hot spicy, pungent flavour which is due to the presence of a chemical component, called ‘piperine’.


Originated in Indonesia, cloves are used in the cuisines of Asian, African and Arab nations. Cloves are known for their fragrant aroma and a strong biting flavour. Cloves were used in the traditional medicinal systems of different cultures, especially in the treatment of toothache; though its capability to cure toothache is not scientifically proven. They are good to use with meat dishes, and also are used to spice up curry dishes, marinades, while attributing good aroma. We have whole cloves and ground cloves.


Cinnamon is the name given to the dried barks of several trees belonging to the same botanical genus called ‘Cinnamomum’. Although many trees under the Cinnamon order are used as a spice, the true cinnamon is ‘Cinnamomum Verum’, which is native to Sri Lanka, and also widely cultivated in other countries like Seychelles, Madagascar, Brazil, India, and so on. A variety of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia) is called Chinese cinnamon, which is also used as a spice in Chinese cuisines. Cinnamon is added to dishes for added flavour and aroma and is also considered as a digestion aid. Cinnamon is used in both forms in dishes, in bark form as well as in powdered form. Find both versions of cinnamon here.

Assortment of Spices


The spice cardamom is the small seed pods of the plant ‘Elettaria Cardamomum’. Surprisingly, Cardamomum belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, the same group that contains turmeric and ginger. But contrary to both ginger and turmeric, of which the rhizomes are used as a spice, cardamom spice is its seed pods.

A few more plant species under the Cardamomum group are also used as cardamom spice, called Ammomum. But the true cardamom is Elettaria Cardamomum. Cardamom is dubbed as the ‘queen of spices’ and is perhaps the most priced spice of all. It is striking for its biting flavour and the pleasing aroma, which make it an essential component in baking. In India, cardamom flavoured tea is considered as a special drink.


Cumin, both as seed and in the ground form, is a regular spice in many global cuisines especially because of the remarkable flavour and aroma. Originated in the Middle Eastern basin of the Asian continent, cumin has been domesticated elsewhere in the world since then. In India, ‘jeera’ is the name by which cumin is known, and is an essential component in traditional curry dishes, and garam masala mixes. Warm water, infused with cumin seeds, is treated as a special healthy drink in the Southern parts of India. Find here all versions of cumin spice here including, ground, whole, black, etc.

Chilli Pepper

Chilli pepper is a collective name to a group of fruits belonging to the plant species called ‘capsicum’. Chilli pepper is perhaps the most diversified spice variety with a large number of cultivars across the world. Chilli is used in cuisines across the globe for the pungent flavour and is remarkably the universal spice variety, of which the use exists almost in every cuisine on earth.

Chilli peppers, in fresh, dried, powdered and cooked form are used in cooking. The famous cultivars of chilli pepper include habanero, jalapeno, scotch bonnet, bird eye chillies, paprika, bell pepper, cayenne, Piri Piri, and so on. 


Coriander plant with the Botanical name, Coriandrum Sativum is used in cooking. The leaves and stem of the coriander plant is a very important culinary herb used in cooking, mostly as a garnish. Whereas, the coriander seeds are widely used as a spice in many culinary styles. It is noted that, coriander, as a herb has multiple names, such as cilantro and Chinese parsley. Dried, roasted and ground coriander seed is a necessary ingredient in garam masala spice mix recipes and curry dishes of the Indian subcontinent.

A large number of spices are omitted while compiling the list of essential spices due to the space constraint. Notable of them are mustard, ajwain, fennel, anise, caraway, mace, nutmeg, galangal, etc. It is noted that some fruits, which may not be treated as a spice, maybe having spice applications in some recipes. Lemon is an example of this. Another facet is a combination of some spices may be treated as a spice in some occasions. Chinese five-spice is an example of this, which is a combination of fennel, Sichuan pepper, star anise, cloves and cinnamon. Indian panch phoron and garam masala are also examples for this spice blend.

It is not exaggerating to conclude that, though the application of spices makes the preparation of food complex, it is one of the most important ways that humans historically practised to make cooking interesting and the dishes flavourful.