Category Archives: Spices

Hot Spices – Spices to Get the Heat Going

Cayenne Pepper

If you are reading this article, it would mean that you are probably a fan of the hot spices. Though there are many people who avoid hot spices like a plague, there are a few who absolutely love the taste and zest that hot spices can add to food. The passages below will go over some of the very popular hot spices that are found in various parts of the world. Before, we go into the description of hot spices, you must know that the hotness of a spice is measured in terms of a metric that is known as Scoville heat units or SHU.

Cayenne pepper

Of all the hot spices, cayenne pepper is probably the most well known hot spice to the western world. Cayenne pepper has a hotness of 40,000 SHU. It is the hottest ground red pepper that is currently available in any market.


Baharat is one of the lesser known hot spices in the western world although it is very popular in Middle Eastern countries. It is quite a unique spice as it provides both a sweet taste and a lingering heat as well. This hot spice actually contains a mixture of many ingredients such as black pepper, cumin, cardamom and paprika as well.

Curry powderHot Spices - Curry Powder

Curry powders are native to India, the home of the word “curry”. Curry powders are not considered to be hot spices in India although they make the list of hot spices in many western countries. Curry powders will often contain several different Indian spices that will add a hot taste that is not overwhelming. One of the most popular curry powders is “Garam Masala” which literally translates to “Hot spices”

Ghost peppers – Caution!

Ok, if you really want to know what the extreme end of hot spices tastes like, try getting your hands on a pepper called the Bhut Jolokia. If you thought cayenne pepper is hot at 40,000 SHU, you will be amazed to know that one little Bhut Jolokia pepper has 1,000,000 SHU. That is correct, 1 Million SHU! This pepper is also native to India and powders made from these peppers are considered to the hottest spices in the entire world.

Aleppo pepper

Aleppo pepper is a hot spice that comes from the Mediterranean country of Syria. This spice lends a fruity taste that also offers some heat. The heat is strong enough to just tickle the throat although it will dissipate quite quickly. If one is only willing to try spices that are rather mild, this will be a very good choice. These are mild enough to be used as toppings on pizzas or salads.


If you are looking for spices from the African continent, you should definitely try Harissa that is actually a mix of various spices and ingredients like garlic, oil and chilies. It is native to an African country called Tunisia and the natives there use it as a spread on sandwiches and also as a seasoning ingredient in many dishes.

Indian Cooking Spices

Indian spices

If you are just getting introduced to Indian cooking and recipes, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount and variety of spices that go into even some of the simplest of dishes. Many westerners either hate Indian food or love it with a passion. Indian cooking spices, while making food very spicy, can also offer a number of health benefits. Some of the most popular Indian cooking spices and their benefits are discussed below.

Turmeric – Indian cooking spices

Turmeric is one of the very popular Indian spices that is predominantly used to lend a vibrant, yellow/orange color to a dish. However, turmeric is also very famous for the number of health benefits it has to offer. Turmeric is a natural antioxidant. It contains an ingredient called Curcumin that offers many healthy benefits. In fact, Curcumin has even been part of several clinical trials where scientists have examined its effectiveness to kill cancerous cells in the colon and intestines. There has also been some evidence that turmeric has the ability to fight against the Alzheimer’s disease.

Ginger – Indian cooking spices

Ginger is another staple in the line of Indian cooking spices. It is used to add a tangy taste to any dish that it is added to. Many Indians even prepare food with ginger as the main flavor and you will find selections such as “Ginger chicken” when you go to Indian or ethnic restaurants. This very popular spice in the Indian cooking spices line and it also has several healing abilities. It is commonly used to treat stomach aches and motion sickness. Pregnant women suffering from nausea also make use of ginger to give themselves immediate relief.

Garlic – Indian cooking spices

Garlic, apart from being an important part of the Indian cooking spices, is also a vital ingredient in many other International cuisines. It is quite a potent spice that can leave food tasting delicious although one will generally have to rinse their mouth well after eating a dish with a lot of garlic in it. The reason is because garlic, like some of the other Indian cooking spices, can┬áleave a very strong odor in the mouth. However, people who shun it for the pungent odor must understand that they are also missing out on garlic’s abilities to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Garlic also has the ability to fight against certain cancerous cells.

Coriander – Indian cooking spices

Coriander is one of those Indian spices that is primarily used as a garnish or as the main ingredient in dipping sauces. It has a taste that is best described as citrusy or tangy in nature. Other Indian cooking spices that will definitely be worth looking into are spices such as cumin, mustard, chili powder and cardamom. If you are looking for Indian cooking spices that will offer a sweet taste, you can try out jaggery which is a form of brown sugar. Jaggery is used in the preparation of several sweet dishes in India.

In conclusion, one will be very impressed with the taste and health benefits of Indian cooking spices if they do decide to try them out.