Use of Indian Spices in Non-Vegetarian Food

India is a vast country with diverse cultures and diverse cuisine which is basically influenced by the geographical location and climate. In the North, the food is spicy and has more oil in it. Milk and milk products are used a lot. In the West, food cooked in Rajasthan is very spicy while the food of Gujarat is a little sweet.

Every region has its own unique methods of cooking and its own unique taste for vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food items.

Non-vegetarian dishes are prepared in different ways with different spices in every region.

Non-vegetarian food with Indian spices

In Andhra Pradesh, a range of spices are used to cook non vegetarian food, commonly used spices are cinnamon and black pepper. A blend of red chillies and tamarind add a tangy taste to the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh.

  • Tiger Prawns in Garlic Butter – This delicious dish of tiger prawns is prepared with garlic, parsely, mustard paste, pepper corns, and lemon juice.
  • Chicken Methi Masala- In this recipe, chicken is prepared using ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek leaves, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander powder, red chilli powder, black pepper, cream, salt and onions.

  In Assam, the food is not very spicy.

  • Poora Haah – This dish of duck is cooked with egg, onion, bread, black pepper, potatoes, lime juice, green chillies, coriander, spring onions, vinegar, red chilli powder, oil and salt.
  • Fish Fried Rice – Fish is commonly used in Assam. Rice is cooked with pieces of fish, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, onion, coconut, bay leaves, oil and salt.

In Goa, the climate is tropical and the cuisine is rich in spices. Staple food of Goa is rice and fish.

  • Goan Fish Curry – This dish is prepared with Kashmiri chillies, ginger, garlic, pepper corns, coriander seeds, methi seeds, tamarind, coconut, turmeric, cumin, green chillies and salt.
  • Chicken Cafreal – It is a very popular chicken dish of Goa. It is green in colour and the chicken is made with green chillies, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, khus khus, pepper corns, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, tamarind and cloves.

In Jammu and Kashmir,  the food is influenced by the cuisine from Persia, Central Asia and plains of North India. Mutton is the main item of Kashmiri cuisine. The food of Kashmiri Pandits is very scrupulous and they use spices like turmeric, red chillies, cumin, ginger and fennel. Onion and garlic is not used in their food.

  • Rogan Josh – This fragrant dish of lamb was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. Pieces of lamb are cooked in a gravy made with onions, curd, garlic, ginger, and spices like clove, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, and lots of dried kashmiri chillies. Its aroma is strong but it is not hot, so it can be enjoyed by one and all.

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Indian food is full of variety, people living in diverse regions have different foods. A wide range of non-vegetarian dishes can be prepared using Indian spices which are good for health and add a lovely flavor to the dish.

Different types of Blended Masalas used in Indian Cooking

Masala means ‘spices’, and masalas are a blend of different spices mixed together in dissimilar proportions. These spices are got from plants and they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are beneficial to health and are used in Indian cuisine as well as in medicines, perfumes and as preservatives.

The blended masalas have been used in India since ancient times. A number of spices are produced in Kerala. Every region has its own blend of masalas, different for different recipes, with a distinct flavor like garam masala in North India and curry powder in South India. Different blended masalas are used every day in all Indian homes.

Different Types of Blended Masalas

  • Garam Masala – As the name suggests, Garam masala means a hot mixture. It is an amazing blend of Indian spices with maximum aroma and flavor. The spices used may differ from place to place, but the basic spices remain the same. These are cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper corns. Other ingredients may include dry ginger powder, bay leaves. Mace, fennel, fenugreek seeds.

To make the masala, all ingredients are dry roasted before grinding them to a powder. This is stored in a cool, dry place in airtight containers.

It can be used for any dish, vegetarian or meat. A small quantity of garam masala augments the taste and flavor of the dish. It can be added to gravy, soup, sause, stewed vegetables, to marinate any food item etc. It should be added at the end, when the dish is cooked, to retain its aroma.

  • Chat Masala – It has a sweet as well as a sour taste. It is used to give a tangy taste to foods like golgappa, aloo chat, dahi chat, papri chat and also to some drinks. It is also used to sprinkle on fruits and salads.

Chat masala is a blend of spices that are extremely aromatic and stimulating. It is made by mixing spices like coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, black pepper, salt, black salt, dried ginger powder, asafetida, mint and chilli powder.

  • Pav Bhaji Masala – The masala used for making ‘bhaji’, mashed mixed vegetables, to be eaten with ‘pav’ or the bun. Mainly eaten in Gujarat and Maharashtra, it is loved by all and now it is a very popular dish.

The masala is a blend of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black cardamoms, black pepper corns, dry red chillies, fennel seeds, cinnamon and dry mango powder. All ingredients are dry roasted and then ground to a fine powder.

Not only pav bhaji, this masala can be used in any Indian curry. It is a versatile masala.

  • Channa Masala – Channas or chole, mainly a Punjabi dish, but very well-liked all over. It is eaten with ‘bhatura’ or ‘kulcha’, but it can also be eaten with rice or parathas.

Chanas can be cooked in many different ways, dry or with gravy. Chana masala is made using spices like coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, cumin seeds, anardana and bay leaves. Dry roast and grind all ingredients.


Freshly ground masala has a strong fragrance which becomes less over a period of time. Care must be taken to check the date of packing, while buying masala packets from the market. The blended masala will have less aroma if the masala is old.