5 Spices You Need to Start Cooking More Indian Food


I have said the following a thousand times: Spices are what attract people to Indian food and also what scares them away. When you see a recipe with a list of 20 ingredients, you might flip the page and decide to make a simpler recipe.

I would like to propose that if you buy five spices—along with ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes—you can make a decent Indian dish.

The Essential Five Spices are:

  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Turmeric

I live in a tiny shoebox-sized apartment; nothing that isn't essential stays. Once you have these spices, you are ready to make both simple and complex Indian recipes. This 30-minute chicken curry is my favorite for a busy weeknight.