|April 03, 2023


The most popular Indian cooking has an exciting history of including Indian Masalas that date back thousands of years and has been influenced by countless outsiders, kingdoms, and other societies settling the land. 

Indian Masalas have experienced an extraordinary change over time, growing from the Harrapan culture to its present form. This change has resulted in various tastes and culinary traditions unique to different regions.

The traces of farming of turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, and mustard is three thousand years old. It is believed that agriculture and animal keeping initial traces were found in 8000 BC in Rajasthan. From then, Indian Masalas came into existence.

Historians believe that the first mention of Pulao is in Mahabharata. Indian masalas have a great influence on Thai food; they also have an impact on Philipines cuisine. Indian cooking patterns and Indian hot masala greatly impact their cuisine. 

Early History of Indian Masalas

Early History of Indian Masalas

In the early days, the use of Indian masalas was for medical purposes. The inclusion of various spices and herbs was done at later stages. Hunters then used the leaves of plants to wrap the meat. Later, they found that this enhanced the taste of meat.

People then started using spices and herbs to reduce the unpleasant odor of the food by wrapping it with bark, nuts, and seeds. Later they started using it for making medicines. People started using them in foods to enhance flavor when they were convinced of the taste.

Evolution Of Indian Masalas

Evolution Of Indian Masalas

Indian masala spices attracted many explorers and led their route to India for this luxury item. Indian Masalas were widely used in Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt even before the Greek and Roman civilizations existed. Later, Greek merchants reached South Indian ports to buy South Indian Masala, a great luxury.

Indian hot masala led the Arabians, who were traders of cassia and cinnamon, to make stories about the land of origin of Spices to protect their business from other explorers. They narrated made-up stories to the buyers, had a monopoly for several centuries, and gained huge profits.

During the first century CE, Pliny, a roman scholar, revealed the Arab traders and their stories about the Indian hot masala. He identified that the traders were earning well because of the increased valuation of Indian spices. These spices are still popular today: black pepper, cardamom, turmeric, and cinnamon.

A Culinary Exploration

India has a history of spices because of its favorable climate and is called the nation of spices. It has a varied climate that is good for the range of spices to grow. For example, turmeric, a well-known spice, grows in tropical regions with heavy rainfall and cumin in cool subtropic areas.

Ginger, fenugreek, and turmeric, because of their medicinal properties, have been in use for thousands of years. In many places in India, people still preserve their food by using these spices.

Different Spices & Their History

1. Turmeric


turmeric powder

Turmeric has been familiar to Indians from ancient times. It was present for around 4000 years during the Vedic period because of its cultural significance and culinary use. It is cultivated mainly on the islands of the Indian ocean.

2. Cinnamon


Cinnamon has so desired in ancient Egypt that it was even more valuable than gold. Medieval Europeans used spice in religious rituals, as well as to enhance the flavor of their food. When the Dutch East India Company began to work, cinnamon became their most lucrative product in the trading market.

3. Cloves


As early as 200 BCE, envoys from Java presented cloves as gifts when appearing before the Han-dynasty court of China; the aromatic cloves were meant to freshen the breath during such formal visits. During the later Middle Ages, cloves were popular in Europe for preserving, flavoring, and garnishing meals.

4. Cardamom


Cardamom is known as one of the oldest spices. It has been in use for around 4000 years. Ancient Egyptians used this spice for medicinal practices and rituals. To keep minty breath and strong teeth, they used cardamom pods.

5. Cumin


Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans used cumin as a famous spice. Throughout history, cumin has been connected with superstitions and featured in home remedies and religious proceedings. It was especially prevalent in the Middle East, North Africa, and India, featuring beloved dishes like chutney and curry.

6. Mustard


The popular condiment known as mustard is derived from the tiny, circular seeds of the mustard plant, a part of the Brassicaceae family. To make a spreadable paste, crush, ground, or crack mustard seeds. This paste can then be used as a condiment or included in various dishes.

7. Black Pepper

Black Pepper

Pepper began in Southeast Asia and was revered as a condiment due to its comprehensive cultivation. Consequently, it became a crucial commodity in trade between India and Europe and was even used as currency in Ancient Greece and Rome.

8. Red Chilies

Red Chilies

The cuisine of Goa, formerly a Portuguese colony, heavily incorporates chili peppers. Red chili peppers, which originated in Mexico, were introduced to India by Portuguese traders and are now grown on a large scale in the country. From India, chili peppers spread through Central Asia and Turkey.

Summing Up On the History of Indian Masalas

Indian masalas have great history attached to each spice. India has a land that is favorable for growing spices because of its climatic conditions and various regions. Many spices are grown here, from which you can make ground and spice blends.

Whole spices, such as coriander, cumin, and dry red chilies, can be used for making ground masalas and thus spice blends, such as garam masala India version,  Indian paneer curry masala, and  India tikka masala for delicious dishes.

The traditional Indian masala has evolved immensely over time, from its Harrapan culture origin to the range of distinctive flavors and cuisines it has come to embody in various regions today.


Why are spices grow in India quickly?

Many spices are grown in India because of their climatic condition. India is a diverse land, and different climatic conditions are found in other areas. These are favorable for spices to grow.

Which spice was used as a currency in the early days?

In earlier days, black pepper was used as the currency and in trades for exchange.

How spices came into existence?

Many spices came into existence by the hunters as they used to wrap their food with leaves and used spices to preserve their food.

Which is the oldest spice?

Cinnamon is known as the oldest spice in India. 

Which spice had religious significance?

Turmeric was considered a religious element and has been used in many spiritual practices till now.

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