Bal Arneson's Must-Have Spices and Their Effects

Most of Bal's favorite spices impart robust flavor, but many also help alleviate pain, boost energy and more.

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Green Cardamom

This is known as the queen of spices. It has a warm exotic flavor with a sweet penetrating aroma — a strong floral note with hints of mint and pepper and a little bit of bite. It helps with breathing and to calm you down. I use it in both my savory and dessert dishes.

Black Cardamom

This has a distinct smoky flavor and aroma with a nice peppery bite and just a slight floral undertone.

Chile Flakes

These have a spicy bite but the heat is not too intense or lingering. It wakes you up and can invigorate you. 

Cinnamon

With an aromatic sweet flavor that delivers a warming sensation and helps to calm you down, it’s also said to boost your brainpower. 

Cloves

Cloves are rich, warm and very aromatic, with a strong and distinct sweet spice flavor. They help relieve pain. 

Coriander

This is the seed from the cilantro plant. It has a bright flavor and aroma with fruity, floral and citrus tones. It’s known to help combat inflammation.

Cumin Seeds

Robust, warm and earthy with a slightly nutty and savory flavor, they’re also good for digestion.

Curry Leaves

Traditionally used in curries, they have a distinct flavor and aroma. They add a deep flavor and spark to any dish. 

Fennel Seeds

These have a sweet flavor with a hint of licorice, and are said to be great for digestion and in helping alleviate back pain. 

Fenugreek Leaves

They're robust with a slightly bittersweet but very distinct Indian flavor.

Garam Masala

It's a warm, sweet and slightly spicy blend of aromatic spices like coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, curry leaves, bay leaves and cardamom. It gives me strength and courage and calms me down at the same time.

Mustard Seeds

They come in yellow and brown varieties. They have a slightly strong pungent flavor. They deliver a bright note with a dry fleeting heat and bite.

Paprika/Smoked Paprika

Having a slightly sweet/smoky flavor, it adds a bright red color to all dishes. It has a warming quality and is good for blood circulation. It’s also believed to help boost energy. 

Star Anise

It has a strong, sweet and dense licorice flavor. It’s great for stimulating the appetite. 

Turmeric

It has a mild, mellow, earthy flavor and adds a beautiful yellow color to dishes. It's thought to help heal injuries. 

Spice of Life with Bal Arneson

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Bal Arneson

Bal Arneson is an author educator mother wife and passionate advocate for simple and healthy Indian-inspired cooking. At the heart of her cooking are fresh ingredients and the vibrant flavors of herbs and spices.

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