Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in slow cooking for their distinctive bitter flavour and fragrance.
Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance.
Kashmiri chilli powder is mildly hot, has a distinct flavour, and it adds a bright red colour to food.
The flavour of cinnamon is quite delicate and aromatic. It is a fundamental ingredient to most north Indian dishes.
Cloves have a sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic. They are used in sweet and savoury dishes.
The coriander seed has a warm and subtle flavour with a slight citrus hint. It has an aromatic scent that is soothingly warm, nutty, slightly fruity, and complex.
Cumin seeds, used either whole, or roasted and ground, add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking.
Fennel seeds are highly aromatic, are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour.
Of all the masala mixes that exist in Indian cookery garam masala is the best known. It is usually added to a dish towards the end of the cooking process.
Black mustard seeds are usually fried quickly in oil to give a hot and spicy flavour once the seeds have popped. When fried, the taste is nutty rather than fiery.
Turmeric powder is a bright yellow spice powder made from dried turmeric rhizomes. It has has a warm, earthy and musky flavour. The whole fresh rhizome can be used, too.
This article is about the tin that sits beside the stove in every Indian household around the world - the spice tin.