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Aditya Spice Encyclopaedia

encyclopaedia of spices


Piper nigrum L.

Botanical Name : Piper nigrum L.
Family Name : Piperaceae.
Commercial part: Fruit.
Calorific value of Black Pepper/100 gms - 304
Calorific value of Green Pepper _ 98

Pepper, invaluable in the kitchen, pepper is quite rightly known as the "king of spices'. This spice, which plays an important role in cuisine the world over, is the berry of the plant PIPER NIGRUM. India is the world's foremost producer. India has always reigned supreme in the production and export of this most exotic and sought -after spice. Pepper production accounts for one quarter of the global spice trade with America being the single largest importer.
Indian pepper has a profound influence on the European economy of the middle ages. Easily the finest in quality anywhere Indian pepper is grown in the monsoon forests along the Malabar Coast in south India. Here a combination of natural advantage and organic techniques produces bigger, better-shaped more aromatic and flavourful berries.
There was even a time when pepper was worth its weight in gold. Pepper probably changed the course of history being the single most important factor in the European search for sea routes to the East. This quest for pepper dominated the spice trade for centuries, and without it the colonial Empires of modern history might not have existed.

Types of Pepper:

Green pepper
Black pepper
White pepper
Pink pepper

Green pepper corns are harvested while still unripe. Their flavour is somewhat milder and fruitier but not entirely without spice.
Sun dried green peppers are more commonly known as Black pepper, which is flavourful, pungent, and aromatic.
For white pepper same berries are left on the plant until fully ripe and red in colour. They are then soaked and peeled to expose the inner white corns, which are then dried. The flavour is slightly less piquant than that of the black pepper.
Almost ripe, soft pink berries are known as pink peppercorns. They have slightly resinous flavour and their culinary value is primarily visual. They offer a stunning contrast when combined with other Ingredients.
       Pepper is exported as whole, powder form and as oborisins to countries such as USA, UK, and European countries.

Elettaria Cardamomum Maton

Green Cardamom

Botanical Name : Elettaria Cardamomum Maton
Family Name : Zingiberaceae.
Commercial part: Fruit.

Brown Cardamom

Botanical Name: Amomum Subulatum Roxb.
Family Name: Zingiberaceae
Commercial Part: Fruit.
Calorific Value of Cardamom: 229

Cardamom, this is the fruit of reed - like plant . The fruit is a small pod and the seeds within the pods have a strong, sweetish flavour.
The pods vary from 0.5 - 2 cm and more in length. The small sized ones are considered the best. Rich curries like kurma include cardamom. Powdered cardamom is a big favorite in cakes, puddings , halwas etc. Pulaos and Briyanees also depend on this spice for their popular flavour.
Cardamom is one of the most ancient spices in the world and one of the most highly valued and expensive spice. In India it is called as queen of Spices. The green pods from Kerala, Southern India, set the standards of quality and price level.
The aroma of cardamom is mellow. Initially the taste has a penetrating note of camphor. It is sharply bitter and strong, and lingers quite long in the mouth if you chew a few seeds, but is warming and agreeable.
Cardamom can enhance both sweet and savory tastes. The pods themselves are inedible; all the flavour is held in the small, but very hard, seeds. In India Cardamom, is one of the main components of Garam Masala and Curry powder.

Types of Cardamom:
Green Cardamom
White Cardamom
Brown Cardamom

Tincture of Cardamom is considered a useful medicine for flatulence and stomach disorders. Chewing a few seeds cleanses the breath. Together with betel leaves and areca nuts. Cardamom forms part of the betel quid that Indians like to chew as a mouth freshener and digestive aid.
       Indian Cardamom enjoys a premium preference in the Middle East, Japanese and Russians who relish it for its distinct enriching properties.

Asafoetida is a dried, resin like substance obtained from the rhizomes of several spices 'ferula' or giant fennel, a popular spice in foods and medicines. Indian asafoetida enjoys an exalted position in the International market, being unique in blend and made with the finest ingredients.
Powdered Asafoetida has a strong, unpleasant smell, reminiscent of pickled
Garlic, which is caused by Sulphur compounds in volatile oil. The taste is bitter and
Acrid and decadently nasty when sampled alone. However when asafetida is fried in hot oil the nastiness disappears and the oil takes on as onion taste.
In western and southern India, asafoetida flavours pulses and vegetable dishes, pickles and sauces. A piece of asafoetida may be rubbed on a grill before cooking meat. It should always be used sparingly.

Asafoetida is said to have antispasmodic properties. It has been used in past to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative on India it is prescribed to treat flatulence and bronchitis.
         India exports several varieties of asafoetida and major among them are Hing, Hingra, Irani Hing, Pathani Hing, Hadda, Sweet, Bitter, white and Black. In addition to domestic cultivation, India imports asafoetida in crude form. A part of the imported resin is re-exported after processing.

Ferula asafoetida

Botanical Name : Ferula asafoetida
Family Name : Apiaceae
Commercial part : Oleogum resin extracted from rhizome and thickened Root.
Calorific Value of Asafoetida/100 GMs = 297




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