Usually tucked within the hustle and bustle of spice sellers in our wet markets and the more concealed spice makers in shophouses spread across our tiny island, To uncover them, we take an expedition through our bustling wet markets and friendly neighbourhood Indian provision shops.


Ever ate some Kesari or drank some Payasam to suddenly bite into a spice that fills your entire mouth with its peppery, yet citrusy flavour? Well congratulations, you’ve encountered the emerald of our spice gems, the cardamom!


cardamom pods
Cardamom pods, Pixabay

This small yet potent spice is used in a plethora of Indian dishes to enhance flavour and provides an authentic flavour without the use of any artificial flavouring. It is usually added to Kesari and Payasam as its bitter property helps to balance the sweetness of the dish.




Much like the reverberating presence of the cardamom, cloves also accentuate a wide range of mains such as curries and soups with their aromatic sweetness and warmth.



Cloves, Pixabay


It is this warmth that makes it the best substitute to salt, allowing you to seamlessly cut your daily sodium intake without even realising! Cooking with these spices elevates your cooking to a whole new level - both in terms of health and flavour.




Did you know Indian dishes also use a variety of herbs and spices that have their own health benefits? A keystone in many Indian dishes - turmeric - is one of said spice, also often found in these Indian grocery hubs.


tumeric powder

Turmeric powder, by Pexels


Sold as fresh pieces, freshly ground or as powder, turmeric offers a distinctive earthy flavour whilst adding life through the burst of colour it embeds in the dishes its added in. Not only that, turmeric is also brimming with antioxidants and minerals that help keep you !



Also luscious in both taste and nutrition, the all-purpose herb can often be found stashed in bulk in Indian grocery shops. The warm, spicy yet citrus infused aroma sneaks into your nostrils even before you enter the store. Available in the form of seeds, powder, and fresh leaves, coriander offers versatility when used in various dishes.

coriander leaves

Coriander leaves, Pixabay


This ever-present garnish is used in all facets of Indian cuisine, making its appearances in appetisers, mains and even beverages – a few of which you can find some.



Finally, perhaps most elusive, we find saffron, the golden treasure of the spice world hidden within the shelves of the shop. As one of the world's most expensive spices, it has gained a reputation as a luxurious ingredient, adorning dishes with its vibrant hue and imparting a subtle, floral taste. However, it is also packed with nutritious compounds and has been associated with improving the mental well-being of . So, the next time you cook a sizzling pot of briyani, don’t forget to add the deluxe saffron in!


Saffron, Pixabay

These little jewels, often overlooked, hold the potential to elevate our culinary experiences while adding a nutritious touch to our meals. By incorporating these healthy spices and herbs into our everyday cooking, we can transform mundane dishes into extraordinary culinary experiences.