Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines.

Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines. History unveils stories of foreign travellers who visited India centuries ago for trading. The main commodities were spices from Kerala, especially the black pepper. Also it is known as Black Gold. In addition to pepper, spices such as cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, clove, cinnamon etc, are exported to different parts of the world.

Importance of Spices from Kerala.

The Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines served all around the world. Surely, it is a privilege for us, the people of Kerala for being a part of it.

Pepper Ginger Turmeric Cardamom etc are spices of Kerala
Spices of Kerala

Usually different parts of plants are used as spices. For example the seeds of pepper and cardamom, flower buds of cloves, bark of cinnamon etc. Almost all these spices are widely cultivated in Kerala, and a few of which I will try to share with you.

Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines.

1. Cardamom, The Queen of spices.

Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world, having a unique taste and aroma. It is used for adding flavour to cuisines and in confectionery. Moreover the essential oil made from it is used for the preparation of medicines. It is largely cultivated in the Idukki district of Kerala, a major part of which spreads in the western ghats,

The shadows of rain fed forests and loamy soil provide the most favourable conditions for cultivation. Usually the mature seeds are collected and dried in a particular way without losing the texture and colour. Definitely these are highly in demand in Indian as well as international markets .

Above all, we welcome our guests with a very special cardamom flavoured hot tea which is really refreshi

Cardamom plants with fruits.

2. Ginger.

Ginger is classified as a herb as well as a spice. It is another major cash crop cultivated in Kerala, on a large scale . The tuber is the edible part of the plant that adds flavour to food. Also it is one of the major ingredients for the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. It is easy to preserve ginger for a long time in the dried form.

Surely it is one of the must have ingredients in every kitchen. Likewise the ginger lemon combination is a wonderful home remedy for minor ailments such as stomach upset, nausea etc. The hot and spicy ginger curry, is one of the most important side dishes for Sadya, the feast on special occasions.

Ginger, is aSpice as well as herb tuber preserved in dried form.

Fresh ginger

3. Turmeric.

Similarly, Turmeric is one of the Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines. It is widely used all over the world for adding colour and flavour to cuisines. For culinary purposes, processed turmeric tuber is used whereas the raw tuber is used for the preparation of medicines. Above all, modern studies have already proved the importance of curcumin, the alkaloid found in turmeric.

Besides, a paste made with raw turmeric and basil leaves, is an effective remedy for poisoning caused by insect bites. Turmeric has also got ritual importance, and it is one of the main offering to the deity in temples. Especially to Devi, the feminine manifestation of God.

Turmeric, tuber adds yellow colour and aroma to cuisines.

Turmeric plants in our kitchen garden

4. Pepper, The King of spices.

Since the climatic conditions are favourable, the Pepper plants are also widely cultivated in Kerala. The creeper like stem usually grows up to a height of

Ripe pepper red in colour turns black on drying.

A ripe pepper corn

ten meters on supporting trees. The properly dried, mature fruits are long lasting. Hence it is easy to preserve for a very long period.

Usually stem cuttings, with two or three nodes are used for propagation. In addition, Bush Pepper, the dwarf variety grown in pots is also common. There are a lot of advantages for growing bush pepper plants when compared to that of pepper wines. The bush pepper plant in the pic below, is from our kitchen garden. Surely, we get sufficient quantity of pepper corns for kitchen needs.

Dwarf pepper grows well in pots, convenient for smaller spaces.
A Bush pepper plant in a pot

Spices of Kerala that add aroma and flavour to cuisines.

Recipe for Pepper chicken.

Preparation and cooking time: One hour

Ingredients needed:

  • Chicken ( diced ) : One cup.
  • Onion ( thinly sliced ) : One
  • Green chilly : Three
  • Ginger garlic paste: One table spoon
  • Green pepper ( crushed ): One table spoon
  • Coriander powder : One table spoon
  • Garam masala powder : One tea spoon
  • Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon
  • Coconut milk ( thick ): Half cup
  • Oil: Two table spoons
  • Curry leaves: Two stalks
  • Mustard seeds: ¼ tea spoon
  • Salt: To taste

How to prepare:

Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, add sliced onions and fry for a few seconds. Then add ginger garlic paste, crushed pepper and fry well till the colour begins to change. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and stir well. Add the chicken pieces, salt to taste and cook slowly on a low flame.

No need to add extra water, because the water from the chicken is sufficient and it will taste better. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes with occasional stirring. Finally add coconut milk and keep on the flame for a few more seconds.

Your favourite spicy Pepper Chicken is ready.

Try this delicious recipe with special spices of Kerala.


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