Spices And Common Cooking AdditivesJanuary 31, 2022
Some common spices include:
- garlic (rasun)
- onion (piaz)
- ginger (ada)
- chilli (lanka)
- turmeric (halud)
- radish (mula)
- cardamon (eláchi)
- cinnamon (darucini)
- cumin (mongrela, kala jiira)
- basil (tulsi)
- nutmeg (jáyaphal, Myristika fragrans)
- anise (saonp, mauri)
- cloves (lavanga)
- Garlic (Rasun)
All the parts of the garlic are static. The Saḿskrta name for garlic is “rasona”. It has five out of the six tastes (rasas).
The 6 tastes are:
- tikta – neem (bitter)
- katu – chilli (hot and spicy)
- kaśava – plantain (alkaline)
- lavańa (salty)
- amala (acidic)
- madhu (sweet).
Garlic has all of the tastes except acidic.
Garlic is indigestible, so it comes out in the perspiration.
Thus, it helps in the expulsion of hidden diseases. Yet, it has negative effects also, so it is not to be eaten by persons following a sentient diet.
Those who eat garlic emit a very foul odour. Garlic can be used as a medicine, but it is not necessary to eat it as a food.
In very cold climates static food becomes mutative, and mutative food becomes sentient. In such climates householders (grhis) may take garlic.
There is a children’s rhyme about garlic. A bird sang a song and everyone heard different things. The bird sang, “Na na na na nanan na”. The scholar heard, “Rama, Siita, Dasharath”. The mullah heard, “Allah, Mohammad, Hazarat”. The wrestler heard, “Dan, Baithaka, Kasarat”. The cook heard, “Rasun, Piaz, Adarak”.
Garlic is propagated by planting bulbs (kovas). Each bulb should be planted so that three quarters is below the ground and one quarter is above the ground. The quarter above the soil must not be buried under any circumstances, and it must also remain above water during irrigation. The water requirement for garlic is less than that of small onion (chota piaz), but more than that of big onion (bara piaz).
Garlic can be cultivated on the border line of wheat and early boro paddy fields. When growing garlic with rice, sow the garlic in two rows so that it forms equilateral triangles. One line of safflower seeds (kusum biija) should be sown between the rows of garlic so that each seed is in the middle of one triangle.
Research should be done on garlic to pinpoint its medicinal properties, and to ascertain whether there is any possibility of producing garlic oil from the leaves.
The Saḿskrta word for onion is “sukarkanda”. In Hindi it is called “piaz” and in Bengali “pianz”.
Like garlic, onion has some medicinal value. It helps to bring out hidden diseases, although it also has negative effects. The medicinal value of onion minus its negative effects can be utilized if onion is used in ways other than eating it, such as in the form of onion oil.
Onion is also a good blended crop with rice in certain seasons. Onions can be sold at good prices in Bangladesh and Arab countries.
The method for rotating onion crops is as follows. In the month of Paoś, onion seeds are sown. The seedlings should be transplanted along with late boro paddy in the month of Mágha. In the middle of Vaeshákha, the late boro should be harvested. After that, the onions should be dug up. These small onions (chota piaú or kali piaz) are very pungent. The soil requirements for small onions are the same as for áman paddy, that is, clay soil. These small onions should then be sown with early boro paddy.
Small onion is a winter crop. The top can be used as a green leafy vegetable. After harvesting early boro, the large onion bulb (boro piaú kanda) can be dug up. The stalk of the boro onion (boro piaz) should be twisted down fifteen days before the bulb is dug up, and the bulb should be dug up only after the stalk has dried. Big onion (bara piaz) is tasteless, but it may be considered pungent if it brings tears to the eyes. Some of the small onions which are sown on the border of the paddy fields should be left for flowering. Seeds will grow from these plants, but once the seeds have formed, the bulb will disappear. These seeds can again be sown in the month of Paoś for small onion (chota piaz).
The onion stalks should be twisted down so that within a short time the plants die and the tubers become ready for harvesting. If the stalks are allowed to grow, they will bear flowers and seeds, but the tubers may disappear. From these seeds, small sweet onions (chachi or sachi piaz) can be grown which can also be used as seeds. If big onions are going to be harvested for marketing, then the stalk should be twisted down while it is green and about to flower. This process will ensure that the onion attains its maximum size.
Onions are 67% water and need a sufficient supply of water to grow properly. The seeds from big onions are used for producing small sweet onions (chachi piaz), and the onion tubers (kalik) from the small sweet onions are used for producing big onions. Small sweet onion takes four to five months to grow and should be developed in a nursery for the first one or two months before being transplanted.
Ginger is a popular cooking additive. Many products can be made from ginger including syrup, sauce, marmalade, liquid extract, etc. Ginger processed in cow dung water is called “sout ada” and is used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Ginger can grow in either the sun or the shade, but it should be planted in the month of Phálguna. Ginger stalks, like onion stalks, should be twisted down so that within 15 days the plant dies and the tuber is ready for harvesting. The best ginger is found in Tripura and Mizoram.
Chilli is very common in India. There are many varieties which vary in size, spiciness and growing conditions.
For example, the kacha lanka variety is a three year crop. In the first year it will produce a good yield, in the second year a medium yield, and in the third year a very low yield.
Thus, the plants should be removed after the second year and new ones grown. Dhani lanka is not suitable as a blended crop because it grows very large and affects the nearby plants. The indigenous and suryamukhi varieties have similar yields, but the dhani lanka variety produces more than either of these two.
The indigenous, suryamukhi and dhani lanka varieties are all summer varieties of green chilli. There is also a red winter variety which is often dried and made into powder. Chilli can also be made into a spicy sauce.
Turmeric is commonly made into powder and used as a spice.
When taken raw, it is poisonous. It should be taken only after it has been processed in cow dung water. Raw turmeric can be converted into sunte halud by boiling it with cow dung.
Turmeric requires half sun and half shade. The best turmeric tubers are found in Patna.
Radish is a 45-60 day crop. Its came from Japan. It first came to India 3,000 years ago.
It has less food value than potato, although it is rich in mineral salts and is good for the blood.
It is a general purifier. It is not easily digestible, but it helps digestion because it stimulates saliva secretion.
It can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled, etc.
The leaves of mustard and radish are similar, but all varieties of mustard have yellow flowers while radish has white flowers.
The green leaves of radish (mula shák) are a good food, but the green leaves of mustard (sarśe shák) are not. Where there is a dense growth of radish plants, they should be thinned out. The leafy off-cuts can be eaten as a vegetable (mula shák).
The varieties of radish include:
- summer season
- rainy season
Radish seeds are larger than mustard seeds and can be used to produce oil, although they are not usually used for this purpose.
Radish oil is pungent, like mustard oil. Radish oil cake makes a good manure. If radish tops are planted, they will produce seeds and flowers. The summer variety of radish can also be grown with áus paddy.
Radish can be grown as a blended crop with potato and other crops. The root is not wide, so it can be grown with a tuber such as potato without disturbing it.
The soil for growing radish should have a very light texture. Sandy alluvial soil is good, but it should contain a lot of calcium.
Radish require 1 tilling. In Guazipur and Juanpur radish grows quite large. Radish seedlings should be planted in such a way that the roots go straight down.
Radish seeds can be grown in 2 ways:
- If soil is available, cut off 1.5 inchese from the top and plant it in wet soil.
After some time plenty of flowers and seeds will grow.
- If soil is not available, cut off the top of the radish as above, but hang the top upside down in a sheltered place.
Gouge a cup-shaped cavity in the pulp and pour water into it.
When the water dries up, wash the pulp and refill it with water. After some time, flowers and seeds will grow profusely downwards.
Radish seeds should not be sown within a radius of three miles from where they were produced. Seeds should always be brought from outside the locality, otherwise the radish crop will be prone to disease.
There are many varieties of cardamom, such as aromatic cardamon (choto ellaichi or moranga elach), large cardamon (boro elach), true cardamon (eláchi), etc.
This sweet spice is often used in preparing confectionery.
Cinnamon is a sweet spice with medicinal value which is often ground and used as a powder and can also be used to make essential oil.
- Cumin (Mongrela, Kala Jiira)
Cumin is a common savoury spice which is usually ground into a powder and used directly in cooking. Cumin can be grown with potato as a blended crop in the irrigation furrow of a field.
Basil is a popular savoury herb which is often used in cooking. It also has medicinal value and is considered a sacred plant by some communities in India.
Basil is a moon affected herb, and its effect increases on the full moon (purnima). Moon affected plants should be planted in a location which provides maximum exposure to moonlight. Moon affected herbs do not generally like sunlight, so if it is possible they should be planted so that they get maximum moonlight but no sunlight.
Nutmeg (Jáyphal, Myristika Fragrans)
Nutmeg is a spicy fruit which is often dried and used in cooking sweets and breads. Its flowers are very beautiful.
Anise (Saonp, Mauri)
Anise is known as “madhuri” in Saḿskrta and “mahuri” or “mauri” in Bengali. It is a sweet spice which has medicinal value.
Anise has 2 varieties:
- greenish (Varanasi), and
- yellowish (indigenous).
It is also commonly grown as a companion plant with potato in the irrigation furrow.
Cloves are well-known as a savoury spice which aid digestion. Clove oil is commonly used for this purpose. Cloves should be planted as near as possible to a river, but care should be taken that they are not inundated with water.