English Class: The Indian Spice Box

Part I

Chili– Chilies vary in color, shape, heat levels and pungency from variety to variety. They are a rich source of vitamin C. Whole chilies are dried and then crushed to give ground chili.

Coriander– All parts of the coriander plant are used in Indian cooking; the seeds are ground and used to thicken and flavor dishes and the fresh green leaves are used in garnishes.

Cumin seeds– Cumin seeds are strongly aromatic and the aroma varies according to whether the spice is fried or dry roasted. It stimulates, the appetite and acts as a digestive.

Ground cumin– Ground cumin gives a slightly bitter and sweet taste at the same time. It is used as a seasoning for lime or chili based sauces.

Fennel– This is a sweet and aromatic spice with an aniseed type flavor. Fennel seeds contain important antioxidants, with anti-cancerous properties.

Ginger– Fresh or dry ginger is aromatic, pungent and hot. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes. It is known to help digestion and calm mental activity.

Turmeric– The root of this plant looks very similar to ginger but the flesh is a deep orange color. When dried and ground, turmeric gives a beautiful yellow color to any food cooked with it.

Cinnamon– Cinnamon sticks are carved from the bark of the cinnamon tree. Cinnamon has a sweet taste and a fragrant aroma.

Bay leaf– The Indian bay leaf is aromatic and bitter in flavor. These leaves are used whole to flavor mainly meat dishes.

Cardamom– Cardamom has a sweet, spicy, and pungent flavor. The green variety is used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Cloves– Cloves are strongly pungent and sweet. Very small quantities are required to flavor dishes. Clove oil is used topically as it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mustard seed– In Indian cooking, the whole seeds are fried quickly in oil to give a hot and spicy flavor once the seeds have popped.

Garam masala– A blend of several strongly aromatic spices designed to add flavor, fragrance, and heat to many Indian dishes.

Kaul, Sereena, et al. The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook: Flavours and Spices of India. Simon & Schuster, 2010.


  1. Which spice is a rich source of Vitamin C?
  2. Which spice acts as a digestive?
  3. Which spice has anti-cancerous properties?
  4. Which spice helps digestion and calm mental activity?
  5. Which spice has a sweet taste?
  6. Which spice has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties?

I wanted to share with you all a recipe from the book. I chose a recipe called Crispy Okra. I have yet to make it, but I wanted to share it because one of my favorite dishes is boiled okra dipped in soy sauce and vinegar.

Here is a recipe I got from the book:

Bhindi Churma

Crispy Okra Chips


What you need:

7 ounces of okra

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of white rice flour

3 tablespoons gram flour


oil for deep frying


Serves: 4 people


From your spice box:

Ground Spices

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon chili

1 teaspoon coriander



Wash the okra and dry each piece well using a clean kitchen tea towel.

Top, but don’t tail the okras and slice each one lengthways.

In a large bowl mix the ground spices, salt, and lemon juice with the okra.

Use your hands to mix but make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after mixing.

In a separate bowl mix the rice flour and gram flour with 4 tablespoons of water to a smooth paste and pour over the okra, mixing well to coat but taking care not to break the okra.

Heat the oil in a khadi or wok over a medium heat. When the oil is hot. Fry the okra in batches for a few minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on sheets of kitchen paper.

Serve with Coriander Chutney.

Check out this photo I found online of Crispy Okra.

Here is a video I found on Youtube about how to make Crispy Okra. I have yet to try this myself, but I wanted to share it with you all. The recipe is slightly different, but it looks delicious too.


  1. What 3 spices do you need?
  2. What do you mix in a large bowl?

Here is the recipe to the coriander chutney. It goes with the Crispy Okra.

Dhania Chutney

Coriander Chutney

What you need:

2 teaspoons olive oil

2.5 ounces of fresh coriander

Plus extra to garnish

1 green chili, deseeded and cut in half

¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt


From Your Spice Box:

whole Spices

½ teaspoon mustard seeds



Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the whole spice. When the seeds begin to sizzle, remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the coriander, green chili, salt and 1 tablespoon of yogurt in a food processor or blender and blitz to a smooth paste.

Add the oil-spice mixture and the remaining yogurt to the paste and blend for a further 3 seconds.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve chilled with starters or as an accompaniment to a main meal.


  1. What kind of yogurt do you need?
  2. What do you garnish with?

Essay Questions:

Write about the difference between normal snack yogurt versus Greek yogurt.

Define garnish and use it in a sentence.

I hope you all enjoyed these recipes. I am hoping to try these recipes soon. Let me know if there are any recipes you are interested in learning about.


Regular yogurt is thicker and creamier because the whey is strained off of it. Greek yogurt becomes dense because the liquid is drained off of it. Greek yogurt provides more protein than the regular yogurt. Greek yogurt also contains less sugar and carbs than the regular yogurt. Regular yogurt also has less fat than Greek yogurt.

According to an online source: “While Greek yogurt boasts more protein and less sugar and carbs than regular yogurt, it also has a higher fat content. An eight-ounce serving of Danon’s regular full-fat yogurt has five grams of saturated fat, whereas a seven-ounce serving of Fage full-fat Greek yogurt has over three times that amount (16 grams of saturated fat). It can be a good idea to go for low-fat or fat-free versions when buying Greek yogurt.”

Part II




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s