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Indian spice exports touch Rs. 14,899 crores in international markets

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Traditional spices market in India.

Kochi: Despite having stiff global competition, Indian spices maintained their robust demand in the international market, with exports touching a whopping Rs.14,899 crore in 2014-15, as compared to Rs.13,735 crore a year ago.

Chilli, mint and mint products, cumin, spice oils, and oleoresins, pepper, turmeric, coriander, small cardamom, curry powder/paste, and fenugreek contributed substantially to the spice export basket as the demand for the Indian spices scaled up phenomenally at the global level.

In the fiscal 2014-15, a total of 8,93,920 tonnes of spices and spice products, valued at Rs.14,899.68 crore ($ 2,432.85 million), were exported, registering a nine percent increase in volume, and eight percent in rupee terms, and seven percent in dollar terms, in value, as compared to 8,17,250 tonnes valued at Rs.13,735.39 crore ($2,267.67 million) in 2013-14.

Spices Board, the flagship organization under the union Commerce and Industry Ministry, has been able to meet the export target by devising multifaceted activities for promotion of Indian spices and sustaining their demand in the global market.

“The achievement is substantial, and it was achieved in the face of tough competition. Increased demand for Indian spices in the international market is a testimony to their unmatched quality, and the escalating faith in their sustainability,” Spices Board chairman, A. Jayathilak said.

Chilli continued to propel the growth story as India’s largest exported spice, accounting for 347,000 tonnes in quantity, and Rs.3,51,710 lakh in value during 2014-15.

The export grew by 11.04 percent in quantity, and 29.20 percent in value as compared to 2013-14.

Mint and mint products (mint oils, menthol and menthol crystals) earned substantial foreign exchange worth Rs.2,68,925 lakh through exports of 25,750 tonnes, emerging as a major money-spinning commodity in international spice markets.

Pepper, ‘the King of Spices’, contributed significantly to export earnings by bringing home Rs.1,20,842.16 lakh, with a corresponding export volume of 21,450 tonnes in 2014-15.

“Indian spices are not only lucrative products for the national exchequer, but have also become a trusted global brand,” Jayathilak added. (IANS)

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Land of Spices: India is Hosting Annual meet for Head of State Chefs from across the World

Chefs are going to visit the spice market in Old Delhi and will go to Agra and Jaipur, where they will be enjoying camel and elephant rides

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Indian spice. Flickr

October 26, 2016: Indian food comes with a perfect balance of fresh vegetables and fruits, that can be teamed up with high notes of spices like turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron which makes a dish full of flavour, colourful and aromatic.

This week India is going to host the Annual meet for Head of State Chefs, including personal chefs to the US President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, French President François Hollande, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

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Montu Saini, the executive chef to President Pranab Mukherjee said to HT, “India has been a member of this club for three decades and never once had it hosted the general assembly.”

Saini wants to show them the flavours of Indian cuisine and culture. Chefs are going to visit the spice market in Old Delhi and will go to Agra and Jaipur, where they will be enjoying camel and elephant rides.

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White House chef Cristeta Comerford, who cooks for Barack and Michelle Obama and their children- wants to take Indian spices back as much as she can, considering the luggage she will be allowed to carry, mentioned the HT report.

Michelle Obama laughs with White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford. Flickr
Michelle Obama laughs with White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford. Flickr

On her return to Washington DC, President Barack Obama and his family is going to enjoy some Indian spicy curries.

Not only spices, India also have a wide range of mouth-watering and pocket-friendly street food. All guests are eager to taste some authentic Indian street food during their visit.

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The British royal chef, Mark Flanagan, says London has many Indian restaurants, but the country’s street food is so rich that he has to try it here, where it originated.

According to HT, Christian Garcia, chef to Prince Albert II of Monaco, said they were looking forward to becoming “ambassadors of Indian gastronomy” after their visit.

– Prepared by Ruchika Kumari of NewsGram. Twitter: @RuchiUjjaini

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Cling to Hing: The secret weapon spice of Indian Cuisine

'Hing', popularly known as 'asafoetida' was introduced in the Indian subcontinent by the Mughals of Middle East in the 16th century.

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Asafoetida, popularly known as Hing. Image source: herbfinder.tattvasherbs.com
  • ‘Hing’ or ‘asafoetida’ forms a basic component of Indian spices
  • ‘Hing’ was brought to India by the Mughals of the Middle East in the 16th century
  • ‘Hing’ is used in traditional Indian medicines to minimize, control and cure kidney stones, bronchitis digestive problems, and ulcers

Indian spices have always attracted buyers and admirers from across continents over the years. Many would consider the mixture of different civilizations and cultures as the reason behind the country’s exquisite cuisine, which actually stands true for the special condiments of spices enriching the ingredients of Indian food.

As one who is introduced to Indian cuisine for the first time, it would be easy to guess that the dishes contain about four to six different spices inadequately measured quantities. These spices help create aroma and taste of the food which normally isn’t the case with other styles of cuisines. Where it’ll be natural to guess the presence of cumin, coriander and turmeric in an Indian kitchen, but it will be extremely surprising to discover ‘hing’ as an important ingredient.

An Indian spices market Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
An Indian spices market. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Known popularly as “asafoetida” in the English language, ‘hing’ is made from the resin of huge fennel plants in Afghanistan and Iran. Where Europeans usually refer to it as the “devil’s dung” because of its strong smell of sulfur and onions, it forms a basic component of Indian spices, said an NPR article.

In ‘The Book of Spices’, John O’Connell attributes the Mughals of Middle East as those who brought the ‘hing’ to India in the 16th century. Since then, ‘hing’ is preserved and used in varieties of Indian dishes. Due to its pungent odour, it is often stored in airtight containers.

A newbie would find it difficult to believe in the power of ‘hing’ as a basic Indian spice, but a little amount of experimentation would help to create a giant belief in its strength to turn tastes from good to better.

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“For a Western palette, hing can be shocking,” says Kate O’Donell in her book ‘The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook.’ It is further explained how the pungent smell of the spice mellows to a milder leek-and-garlic flavour when cooked in a balancing manner.

The Indian 'asafoetida' or 'hing' as powder forms a special part of Indian spices Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
The Indian ‘asafoetida’ or ‘hing’ as powder forms a special part of Indian spices
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vikram Sunderam, a James Beard Award winner and chef at the Washington, D.C., Indian restaurants says that he “adds hing to lentil or broccoli dishes.” But his usage of the spice is done efficiently, depending on what he is cooking.

“Hing is a very interesting spice, but it has to be used in the right quantity,” he warns. “Even a little bit too much overpowers the whole dish, makes it just taste bitter.”

According to the NPR report, a huge number of Indians use hing as a substitute for onions and garlic. Gary Takeoka, a food chemist with the U.S Department of Agriculture, after studying the volatile compounds in hing feels, “A major proportion of hing’s volatiles are sulfur compounds.”He further adds, “Some of these are similar to the ones found in onions and garlic.”

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Other than cooking, hing in India also finds a place in traditional medicines. It is believed that the spice is powerful enough to minimize, control and cure kidney stones, bronchitis, whooping cough, digestive problems, and ulcers. The same is used for medicinal purposes in Afghanistan and Egypt.

While hing forms a definite material in Indian kitchens, it is also markedly present in Middle Eastern dishes. However, experts in international food find it hard to believe how hing hasn’t reached the international stage in this age of global fusion of cuisine styles.

It might trigger protests from the elder members in the family if a Slovak were to add chilli or cumin to their food in place of the traditional salt and pepper, but a tiny dash of hing is worth experimenting with!

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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3 responses to “Cling to Hing: The secret weapon spice of Indian Cuisine”

  1. Along with distinctive taste in the food, hing also cure stomach aches and has many other medicinal properties

  2. Asafoetida provide us many benefits. It is also a well known antioxidant and possess anti-carcinogenic properties.

  3. Spices not only add taste to food but also add various nutritional values to it and prevent many diseases. Hing is helpful in digestion and also cures many respiratory diseases.

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The magical things Cumin seeds (jeera) do to your body

Cumin seeds, whose scientific name is Cuminum cyminum, not only makes a dish flavorful but is also healthy

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Cumin seeds (jeera), Wikimedia Commons

By Pashchiema Bhatia

Cummin (Botanical name: Cuminum cyminum). Jeera in Hindi.

Cumin seeds ( Hindi: Jeera )  are mostly associated with Mexican and Spanish foods but it is widely used as a traditional spice of Indian cuisine. Indian food is popular for using spices which not only add flavor to dishes but also nutritional value. The distinct flavor of cumin makes it favorite of many but its health supporting properties are much more impressive.

Nutritional Values of Cumin

  • Iron- 16%
  • Manganese- 7%
  • Copper- 4%
  • Calcium- 4%
  • Magnesium- 4%
  • Vitamin B- 13%
  • Phosphorus- 3%

Benefits of Cumin

  1. Helps in digestion process

It improves the energy production and metabolism and stimulates the production of some essential pancreatic enzymes which is necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. The presence of thymol and other essential oils stimulate the salivary glands hence helping in proper digestion.

  1. Prevents Cancer

In some lab research, Cumin was found effective in preventing cancer due to its high antioxidant content and the ability to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes.

Cummin (Cuminum cyminum). Jeera in Hindi. Wikimedia Commons
Cummin (Cuminum cyminum). Jeera in Hindi. Wikimedia Commons

  1. Improves Immunity

Do you know that 100 grams of cumin contains 11.7 milligrams of iron? Being a good source of iron, Cumin seeds not only keep the immune system healthy but also prevent anemia. The effective anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cumin seed, boosts your immunity and helps to fight infections like cold and asthma.

  1. Beneficial for Pregnant women

Pregnant women deal with a lot of pregnancy symptoms like nausea and constipation. Cumin acts as a remedy in relieving constipation and improving the digestion process. It also increases the milk production without any side effects due to its high iron and calcium content.

  1. Weight loss

Cumin is rich in antioxidants and phytosterols which inhibit the absorption of harmful cholesterol in the digestive tract and thereby helping in reducing weight.

  1. Enhance the memory

One study found that it prevents memory loss and the damaging effects of stress on the body. In Ayurveda, it is commonly used to treat patients suffering from amnesia.

  1. Regulates the blood pressure and heart rate

Due to its high potassium content, it helps in regulating cell production and also in maintaining the blood pressure and heart rate.

Although, these seeds look ordinary and but its benefits makes it unique and special. It’s not just because of its flavor that it got so much significance in Indian cuisine but also because of its health benefits.

Pashchiema is an intern at NewsGram and a student of journalism and mass communication in New Delhi. Twitter: @pashchiema5

One response to “The magical things Cumin seeds (jeera) do to your body”

  1. It is very fortunate to know the good benefits we can get of this seed. In constipation problem, it shows its effectiveness also. Speaking of constipation, this Digestic by Mimonis is very effective also in treating that problem. It does a very good job in getting me out of the constipation that is why I am highly relying on it.

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