Spices are an integral part of our cuisine. They have the potential to make our bland dishes incredibly delicious with their flavour and aromatic properties. However, when it comes to spices, the world gets divided in two on the differences of which option is best: using whole spices or ground spices. People generally prefer buying wholesale spices in bulk and grinding them as needed.
In our opinion, both ways are significant, and people generally opt for the conventional method. However, given that, there are differences in practices of using whole and powdered spices, which we will discuss in this article.
Black pepper is one of the world’s most exported and used spices. This extremely hot, flavourful, and aromatic herb can be used in several ways, in whole peppercorn form or ground to powder. Black pepper is a common ingredient in meat, fish, vegetables, soups, salad dressings, and many more cuisines. In addition, you can use whole peppercorns, frying them in oil or butter, and other spices to add more flavour to your dish. However, black pepper works best in powder form when powdered right before using it. A dash of black pepper is enough to zing up your dish.
Cardamom has a sweet flavour that goes perfectly with every dish, whether spicy, savoury, or sweet. You can use cardamom pods as they are, and they’ll be able to impart their sweet aroma to your dish. However, cardamom works best when its seeds are released from pods. But the tiny seeds give a bitter taste when chewed. So it is best when they are ground. A dash of cardamom powder is enough to flavour your dish, and the bitterness becomes ineffective when grounded.
Fennel seeds have a sweet liquorice-like taste and give a slightly hot and tingling sensation when chewed in the whole form. Fennel is a versatile spice that can go with every dish. Whole fennel seeds are usually used as a seasoning spice. However, you may find seeds a little hard to chew. In that case, you can substitute it with its powder. Fennel seed powder can also be used in fennel tea, sweet dishes, and other spice blends.
Turmeric is always used as a powder. This brilliantly yellow powder gives your dishes its distinguishing colour and a hint of flavour. When using turmeric powder, little is always more. A pinch or two is enough to give any cuisine a yellow shade. Apart from its colour and flavour, turmeric also has many health benefits. It has a health beneficiary substance called curcumin which becomes more bioavailable and gives many benefits when used with black pepper.
Chilli powder is the most prominently used spice in the world, and almost every wholesale ground spice exporter has this spicy powder listed on top of their catalogue. Chilli powder is made from whole dried chillies. There are various types of chillies in the world, varying in their hotness potency. So, different chilli powders will have different spiciness and choosing yours needs a little understanding.
Cumin seeds have a nice warm earthy flavour which everyone loves. However, the spice can become punchy when overly added to any dish. Whole cumin seeds are often fried or roasted to bring out their flavour. Cumin seeds are a prominent spice in tempering Indian dishes. It is fried in oil, purified butter, and other spices to release the flavour. Then, powdered cumin powder is sprinkled directly onto the dishes.
Coriander is one of the staple spices in Indian cooking. It has a woody, citrusy flower flavour, which adds freshness to your dishes. In many Indian dishes, coriander seeds are used whole, while some dishes require their powder form. Since coriander seeds are mild in flavour, you can add other spices, such as cumin, mustard, cinnamon, etc., to complement the taste.
Sesame seeds are more of a topping than a spice. They can be added raw or fried, or roasted in a pan to bring out the flavour. You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on your salad, veggie, or other side dishes to give them a nice nutty flavour.
Fenugreek is one of those plants that can be eaten whole. Although slightly bitter in taste, fenugreek seeds make flavourful spice when used rightly. To remove the bitterness from fenugreek seeds, toss them in a hot pan and roast them for a minute or two. Then, crush them and add them to your dish.
Mustard seeds are always used whole. This is a prominent seed in Indian cuisine, often used to temper the dishes. Mustard seeds are tossed in oil along with curry leaves, cumin, and other spices to zing up the flavour of Indian dishes.