The use of herbs and spices has been incredibly important in Indian cuisine. Many were celebrated for their medicinal properties, well before culinary use.
While you may know how to use the spices in your kitchen when it comes to savoury cooking, using them for desserts is also a great idea. From classic cookies to show-stopping sweet centerpieces, desserts can also benefit tremendously from a smack of fragrant spices you may not have usually considered. In fact, many traditional Indian sweets such as halwa, kheer, ladoos, etc. have a dash of spice for flavour and health benefits.
Below are some commonly used spices, their health benefits and suggestions on desserts you can make using them.
Star anise is a rich source of antioxidants including Linalool, an essential oil, and Vitamin C that protects the body against cellular damage caused by environmental toxins. It also exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Using it in your Dal or curries is common but here’s an easy and healthy dessert recipe using this amazing spice.
Lime, Vanilla and Star Anise Fruit Salad
Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in small saucepan on low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add star anise and vanilla bean paste. Increase heat to high and boil for 2 mins. Remove from heat. Add lime peel and juice. Cover and set aside to cool. Place papaya, strawberries, pineapple, melon and mint in a bowl. Pour cooled syrup over top and toss to coat.
Stir brown sugar into yogurt; serve over fruit salad
Red Chilli Powder
A high content of potassium in red chilli powder benefits you by soothing your blood vessels and regulating blood pressure. A rich source of Vitamin C, it also supports the immune system and helps the body combat chronic diseases. To know more about the benefits of red chilli powder and get amazing recipes like Red Chilli Guava Ice-cream using Tata Sampann Red Chilli Powder
Cinnamon is a favourite household spice all around the world. It has a large number of antioxidants, which protects your body from diseases. It also contains several anti-inflammatories and is used worldwide for its ability to reduce a tummy bloat. Cinnamaldehyde, which is found in cinnamon, has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may help reduce infections. Cinnamon can also help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. It is widely used with coffees, cakes, cookies and more as it complements the sweetness.
Also known as elaichi, Cardamom hails from India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Indonesia. A rich source of Vitamin C, calcium, iron, and zinc, the health benefits of elaichi are quite a few. Cardamom may help lower blood pressure levels. The antioxidant compounds in cardamom may help protect cells from damage. It can also help prevent inflammation in your body. Cardamom benefits you in so many ways that it is a must in our Kheer.
As the land of spices, we can’t live without them. They’re a part of our lives on a daily basis and we benefit from their medicinal properties to a great extent. So, there’s no reason to leave them out from our desserts either. After all, sugar and spice, make everything nice!
- Star Anise (Illicium Verum): Chemical Compounds, Antiviral Properties, and Clinical Relevance [NCBI]
- Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant [NCBI]
- The effect of cardamom supplementation on serum lipids, glycemic indices and blood pressure in overweight and obese pre-diabetic women: a randomized controlled trial [NCBI]
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