a small stack of bay leaves

bay leaves

Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in slow cooking for their distinctive bitter flavour and fragrance.

a small pile of green cardamom pods and seeds

cardamom – green

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance.

a heap of Kashmiri chilli powder

Kashmiri chilli powder

Kashmiri chilli powder is mildly hot, has a distinct flavour, and it adds a bright red colour to food.

a small pile of cinnamon quills


The flavour of cinnamon is quite delicate and aromatic. It is a fundamental ingredient to most north Indian dishes.

a small mound of cloves


Cloves have a sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic. They are used in sweet and savoury dishes.

a small mound of coriander seeds

coriander seeds

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.

a heap of cumin seeds

cumin seeds

Cumin seeds, used either whole, or roasted and ground, add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking.

a small mound of fennel seeds

fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are highly aromatic, are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour.

a heap of garam masala

garam masala

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.

a snalll mound of black mustard seeds

black mustard seeds

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.

a small mound of ground turmeric, with some whole rhizomes at the side


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.

a spice tin filled with ground and whole spices

what is a masala dabba?

This article is about the tin that sits beside the stove in every Indian household around the world – the spice tin.