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Secrets to Spice Up Your Recipes – A Few Indian Spice Mixes

1 July 2010 12 Comments


Culinary skills like any other skill is either inborn or acquired. We add friends to our network to increase our interpersonal skills. Likewise spices are added to give extra flavors and a professional touch to our culinary skills.

In secrets to spice up your recipes I plan to share those small tips about cooking which I learned from friends and acquaintances  from different regions of India and abroad. These secrets are what makes a normal cooking look more creative and a mundane recipes more delicious.

Each one of us possess and create certain secret formulas of cooking which we often use to enhance the taste of the recipes. For example I learned many recipes for pickle from my mother, but have never come across the same taste as of hers, reason being I often include variations in my recipes which retain the authenticity of the recipe while adding extra flavors to it.



Spices of India:

Idly and Dosa are my all time favorites,  much before I settled in the land of rice- Tamil Nadu.

The variations that our humble plain rice takes here is amazing. I never knew that cooked rice can be given this many make overs !

Be it mint rice, coriander rice or carrot rice,  each recipe is distinct and as delicious as the other variety.

spices and recipes

Many houses in Maharashtra use roasted groundnuts and sesame seeds with certain spices for flavoring their dishes.  While in Rajasthan fenugreek or methi seeds are used to make sweets and flavor pickles.  Roasted cumin seeds powder or  Dhana jeera powder are favorites for the Gujarati houses.

szechawan pepper

Timur Seeds   Courtney Wikipedia

My visit to Uttaranchal last year got me introduced with Timur seeds in my friends house. People in mountain region use this seed to garnish salads. Later after searching in the net I found out that it is nothing but Szechawan pepper! But the taste it gives to the salads is exquisite.

In this series I plan to share those incredible powders made with wholesome pulses and spices, which can be further used to give extra flavors to any dish.


1. Groundnut and Sesame Powder


  • 1 cup of groundnuts/peanuts
  • 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • salt as desired
  • a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing)


Method: Dry roast groundnuts till it emanates nutty flavor, slightly black in color. Remove from heat and rub the groundnuts with a rough cloth to get rid of the skin. Dry roast the sesame till it is dark red in color. Grind all the ingredients in a mixie and store in a glass bottle. Refrigerate it for a month.


  • Use the same powder for enhancing the flavors of curries and rice.
  • Mix in with the wholewheat flour and make chapattis or puris for a nutritious change.



2. Pulses and Sesame Powder


  • 1/2 cup Black gram dehusked
  • 10-15 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp Bengal gram dal
  • 4 tsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp
  • salt as desired (2 tsp)
  • a pinch of asafoetida


Method: Dry roast the dehusked black gram dal (urad dhuli), bengal gram and sesame seeds till they are golden brown in color. Grind all the ingredients together in a coarse powder. Store in a clean glass bottle.



  • Mix a tsp of gingely oil (til oil) to one tsp of the above powder and serve with hot idly and dosa as accompaniment.
  • Sprinkle on cooked curries.
  • Add it in while preparing variety rice such as carrot rice, mint rice, coriander rice etc.
  • Spread this powder on a buttered toast to give a spicy taste to the normal sandwich.
  • Just mix one spoon of the powder with hot rice and a dash of pure ghee.

mint and rice


3. Mint Powder

(makes one serving)


  • 1/2 cup of Mint leaves
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp of Black gram dal (dehusked)
  • 1 tsp of Pegion gram (thur dal)
  • salt as desired
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 tsp of oil

Method: Heat 1 tsp of oil and fry the mint leaves in it, till it changes color and dries. Dry fry other two pulses till slightly golden brown in color. Grind all the ingredients together.

mint and rice

Cook rice separately and mix in this powder, enjoy a tangy and healthy mint rice as any time meal.

Hope you like these small and tasty secrets. Shall be posting and sharing many more of these secrets from various regions of India which I often use to enhance my cooking skills and win accolades from family and friends.


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  • Vanyda said:

    Sanjeeta, this is one wonderful and informative post.

  • sheba said:

    Thanks for the post….very informative and useful.

  • Swathi said:


    Niceinformation of spices and wonderful recipes too.

  • Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective said:

    Wonderfully useful post! The mint powder sounds incredible!

  • Rosa said:

    I love spices and spices mixes! I cannot live without them. Your spice mixes look and sound terrific!



  • Krishnaveni said:

    Timur seed is new to me, thanks for the useful information. beautiful pictures…Thanks a lot for following my blog…glad to follow you back

  • Raji said:

    Nice post.. will try the mint rice for sure!

    In andhra , they add daniya,kadalai paruppu(sanaga pappu),red chilli and add to all the veg curries..yummy !

  • tanu said:

    Hi! What a lovely site u have. I am amazed. I am following you and will keep coming back to you. The pics look really amazing! Would like to read more in kids lunch pack category. Seasoned blogger u!!

  • Malar Gandhi said:

    Wow, thats a whole lot of info’ very useful one’. Never hearda bout Timur peppers, sounds interesting…thanks for sharing the mint rice recipe, very new to me.

  • elra said:

    Thanks for visiting my blog Sanjeeta, I like yours as well. Very informative. I too love spices.

  • sonal said:

    hi sanjeeta kk thanx for dropping by at my blog,your comments r highly appreciated pls keep coming 🙂
    loved ur space too ,ur blog is kinda very informative and luved all the clicks too..have bookmarked few of the recipes..will try them soon..

  • FOODESSA said:

    Although by foundation is certainly more so Italian than any other cuisine…I am known to mix things up a little. I also have used Indian spices often in my ‘minestrone’ and other protein type dishes.
    I do want to learn more…and your place seems to be the right stop.

    Thanks for sharing such a well thought out post.

    Flavourful wishes,

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