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5 Indian spices, 5 winter recipes

Last updated on: February 01, 2016 14:00 IST


Mini Ribeiro tells you how to make the most of winter spices.

Winter foods can be guiltless pleasure. But indulgence apart, warmth is what the body needs this season and spices used well, can ensure that.

One can savour Makki Ki Roti with Sarson Ka Saag and pile calories too, but care must be taken to ensure that these are doused generously with spices, which provide antioxidants, vitamins, aid good health and keep us warm.

Spices and herbs can be dexterously woven into one's daily diet without seeming boring or forced.

One need not confine oneself to using a single spice in a dish. A multitude of spices may be used in one dish, but balance is key.

So, reap the health benefits of spices like nutmeg, mace, peppercorns, this winter, as you up the taste quotient of your meals too.

Mini Ribeiro shows you how five popular spices can be used interestingly in your daily food along with her favourite recipes.

Turmeric or haldi 

An integral part of Indian cooking, turmeric, becomes even more important in winter.

Its antibacterial qualities help one to fight infection.

Apart from milk with turmeric, its slightly warm and peppery flavour, works especially well with winter vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes and root vegetables.

Adding a dash of haldi to a fragrant pulao apart from curries, works too.

I personally enjoy a roasted sweet potato and turmeric soup as it can be a comforting and healthy winter meal option.

One must exercise caution not to use excess haldi, as it leaves a peculiar taste, apart from the deep yellow colour.

Turmeric Pickle

Turmeric pickle

Recipe by Executive Chef Ashish Bhasin, Trident BKC, Mumbai



Note: If the pickle is soaked in oil completely then it can be consumed for up to six months or more.


The aromatic Cinnamon, one of the staples in every Indian kitchen, is a warming spice that stimulates blood circulation, thus inducing warmth in body. It also helps in strengthening the immune system.

A pinch of powdered cinnamon mixed with honey in warm water protects one from cold. But how about incorporating cinnamon interestingly in one's cooking? With winter, comes the festive season when cakes, puddings, cookies, galore, are consumed.

Cinnamon lends itself perfectly to desserts. The easiest way is to sprinkle raw cinnamon powder on desserts to enhance their flavour and enjoy its health benefits.

I can never resist a warm apple pie, replete with cinnamon.

While Indian cooking makes use of the cinnamon stick generously in pulav, curries and meat dishes, a comforting lamb stew, a lasagne or moussaka can also be made tastier by adding some cinnamon to it for depth and subtle flavour.

Tea Smoked Shrimps

Tea smoked shrimps

Recipe by Paul Kinny, director-culinary, Pallazzio Hotels and Leisure Ltd, Mumbai



Smoked shrimps

For tangerine dressing


Special Tip: Add smoke liquid to shrimps while cooking for extra smoky flavour.


This is abundantly used in winter in various forms. If masala chai with ginger, is every Indian's favourite during this season, be known this spice can be heartening in smoothies too.

A regular strawberry and banana smoothie can be perked up in terms of freshness with some ginger. That is usually my breakfast this season.

Ginger added to winter vegetables either in fresh or dried form can boost the palate too.

A dash of ginger added to winter squash with its pronounced sweet taste, compliments methi (fenugreek) and is a popular dish eaten in winters.

Add minced fresh ginger root to a soup, or ginger pieces to chicken soups and experience a new flavour. And for those who do not fancy the usual ginger in Indian preparations, play around with it in global dishes like, ginger and tuna confit or even in Pan Asian dishes combining it with tofu or a ginger fried rice or maybe even in a steamed chicken with lemongrass and ginger?

Meat lovers can relish pork meat balls with ginger sauce.

Adraki Keemey Ka Samosa

Keemey Ka Samosa

Recipe by Rahul Dhavale, executive chef, Westin Mumbai Garden City


For mutton

For the filling

For dough

For samosa

Sarson Ka Saag

Sarson ka Saag

Recipe by executive chef Naveen Handa, JW Marriott Chandigarh



Tomato Pepper Rasam

Tomato Pepper Rasam

Image: ratna rajaiah/Creative Commons

Recipe by Sunit Sharma, Executive Chef, Cidade de Goa




Recipes: 3 vegetarian soups to spice up your winter

Slurp! Three non-veg soup recipes

Recipes: 10 hearty winter soups

You can send us your favourite recipes too. Write in to us at (subject: Favourite recipes) with your name, hometown and any interesting details about the origin of the recipe, along with a photograph if possible. We'll publish the best preparations right here on and in India Abroad.

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Mini Ribeiro