Spices & HerbsOur spices and flavours are sourced from all over India. The chefs at Rasam hail from North East, North West and Central India. Each member of the team brings their personal heritage to play in the daily mixing, roasting and grinding of spices.The spices we use include the following:"The food and spices blew my mind. I can confidently say it was the best Indian (and best meal of 2020) I've tasted. It's probably as close to enlightenment as I'll ever get."Susan Jane WhiteAuthor & Food ColumnistYellow Chilli PowderThis, not so readily available powder, is processed using sophisticated methodologies for enhancing the quality of masala. Yellow chilli powder is widely appreciated for its remarkable aroma and rich taste.SaffronDerived from the saffron crocus flower, this delicate spice adds a beautiful golden-yellow hue and a distinctive aroma and flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes. Its costliness has to do with its harvesting - only a small amount of each saffron flower is used, and all harvesting must be done by hand. It takes 75,000 saffron flowers to make one pound of saffron spice.AsafoetidaOne of the most powerful aromatic spices in the world, you must always add it to your frying pan when your oil or butter is hot. It should sizzle for a few seconds 5-20 before adding onions, garlic, or ginger. When used properly, a pinch of asafetida supercharges every other spice in the pan, like salt but in a funkier way (and without any sodium).Panch Phoron SpicePanch phoron is a five-seed blend, made of equal parts cumin, fennel, nigella, fenugreek, and mustard seeds, which is nearly synonymous with Bengali cooking. Though you don't grind the mixture, you almost always will fry panch phoron in ghee or cooking oil before using it in any recipe.Fenugreek LeafDried fenugreek leaves are essentially a herb, have a less bitter element than the seed and are so versatile they are regularly added as a flavour in curries, a garnish on vegetables and flatbreads or blended into butter as a baste for grilling and roasting.Fenugreek SeedFenugreek or methi seeds are one of the staple spices used in Indian cooking, with a sweet, nutty flavour reminiscent of maple syrup and burnt sugar. It can be incredibly bitter when eaten raw, but when cooked and combined with aromatics and spices, it transforms and gives a sweetness and depth of flavour to saucy dishes.Pan Ki JadAlso known as roots of betel leaves, this fragrant root has a distinct taste of its own, is sweet-tasting and acts as a taste enhancer in many Indian dishes. The root when mixed with other whole spices gives an earthy aroma to the food as our very popular dum pukht gosht lamb dish proves with its special aromatic flavours.Vetiver RootVetiver dried grass is soaked in water, to soften and extract flavour. It is also simmered in water with dried rose petals, giving a woody and perfumed flavour.CloveCloves are one of the key whole spices you need for basic Indian cooking — they are often added, along with cinnamon sticks and green cardamom pods, when sauteing onions, garlic and ginger in oil. As soon as the dish is ready to be served, it’s best to remove them so you don’t get a whole clove in your mouth as you’re eating it.Stone FlowerKalpasi or black stone flower is a kind of lichen and used in cooking traditional Chettinad food, but the spice is elusive and not regularly utilised. However, the blackish purple flower is often blended with other spices to make some indigenous masalas.GingerOf all Indian spices, ginger is an absolutely essential ingredient for most curries and is one half of the recipe for ginger garlic paste, used in most food of India. It is used in pickles, chutneys and curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders.Pomegranate SeedPomegranate seeds are used as a souring agent in Indian cooking, in a manner similar to tamarind, kokum and amchur. With their sweetish sour flavour, they are a wonderful addition to vegetable and legume dishes.Mustard SeedWhether it’s brown, yellow or black, Mustard seeds are an essential component in Indian cooking, imparting a nutty, sharp note to many curries, often favoured for cooking in oil at the beginning of preparing a recipe. The general rule with mustard seeds is the smaller and darker, the hotter.Black PepperBlack peppercorns are either used whole or can be ground down in Indian cooking. They are distinctly spicy and can be added to almost anything. Black pepper is considered the King of Spices in India, and also arguably all over the world.Black CardamomBlack cardamom is dried over an open fire creating a distinct smoky aroma and flavour. This spice also has notes of resin and camphor, as well as menthol, a slightly minty aroma that provides balance to an otherwise funky flavour. These intense, heady notes put black cardamom in the "warming" spice category, along with black pepper, cloves, and chillies.CaromA pungent, Indian seed-like fruit with a bitter taste, similar to that of anise or oregano, carom smells almost identical to thyme but even more aromatic. In Indian cuisine, carom seeds are added during the tadka or tempering process of cooking. Tadka means frying whole seeds in hot oil so that the oil incorporates the flavours of the spices.TurmericThe flavour of turmeric is described as a little bitter, a little peppery like mustard or horseradish, with a slight ginger flavour. It's most often used for colouring more than for the flavour. A suggested substitute for turmeric in a recipe is dry mustard.MintMint, a herb, traditionally used to complement lamb and poultry, is usually cut in ribbons (called chiffonade) and added to dishes. The fresh leaves have the most flavour and scent, with those much reduced in dried mint leaves.Coriander seedCoriander is found in the Indian spice mixture garam masala, which is used in many savoury dishes, it also goes very well with cumin. The plant's leaves and the ripened seeds taste completely different and they cannot be substituted for each other.Coriander leafCoriander is an aromatic herb, the most versatile ingredient and every part of it is edible. The coriander leaves are used for garnishing and other culinary purposes. In terms of flavour and aroma, coriander, which is also known as cilantro, is stronger than parsley and celery. Coriander leaves have a complex but delicate flavour with a hint of pepper, mint and lemon.Curry leafCurry leaves are aromatic and flavourful leaves that can change the taste of a dish quite dramatically by adding a pungent lemony flavour. They are not the same as curry powder, though they’re often added to this popular spice mixture and used in cooking to add flavour to dishes, such as curries, rice dishes, and dals.Curry leaf GunpowderThe famous Kandi podi or 'gunpowder' is made with equal measures (about half a cup each) of toor dal, moong dal, and chana dal, 10 red chillies, and one teaspoon of cumin seeds. All the ingredients are again dry roasted separately - once cooled, it's ground coarsely so that the textures of each of the ingredients remain distinct. Best served with a pouring of hot ghee atop steamed rice.Star AniseWhole and ground star anise is used differently in cooking - the whole pods are added to infuse flavour and removed at the end of cooking, and ground star anise powder is used similarly to other ground spices.Red & Green chilliLike all spices, chilli peppers need to be cooked through, really well. Toss them in hot oil, roast them on a dry griddle or cook them with water or stock in a slow cooking curry, stew or soup. Undercooked spices will leave you with an unpleasant spice taste, which detracts from the flavours of the dish.GarlicIt is customary to cook garlic in some way before serving it, which mellows the powerful pungent flavour considerably. Roasting garlic changes the flavour and texture significantly, resulting in creamy cloves with a nutty, mild taste.NutmegOnce it is ground, nutmeg soon loses the oils, which provide its flavour and taste, so grating fresh, whole nutmeg is recommended to achieve the full benefit of the fresh oils. The difference between fresh nutmeg and commercially ground is like night and day.CuminAn essential ingredient in Indian cooking, cumin adds nutty, warm flavours and dimension to countless dishes. Whole cumin seeds can be added to tempering, and roasted and ground cumin is great for adding later in the cooking process. Cumin adds an earthy tone and body to soups, dals, and curries.Our ProduceAt Rasam it is our priority to use only the freshest ingredients and we refuse to compromise because of cost. All the foods, except frozen prawns and whole spices, are proudly Irish. The quality of the produce we use is one of the things that make us stand out and we are fortunate to have such reputable and reliable suppliers providing us with only the best. Our fruits, dairy and vegetables come from Keelings. Fresh fish comes from Wrights of Marino, frozen prawns and whole spices from Worldwide Foods.Lamb, chicken and duck from Doyle Catering Meats – all coming from Irish suppliers. Ice cream from Odaois Foods. Ayurveda India's ancient healing system and sister science to Yoga.The age-old adage “you are what you eat” loosely sums up the premise of Ayurveda.Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health, based on balance; one’s diet profoundly sustains the mind and body’s equilibrium. It is also believed that in eating correctly, food can be not only medicinal but also preemptive in maintaining the body’s immunity to disease.Most Indian homes prepare food based upon assorted flavours (Rasa) and their symbolism is as follows:SaltyWithout salt, there is no flavour. This sensitive ingredient makes or breaks a meal and at Rasam, we use sea salt, volcanic salt (black salt) and rock salt (pink salt from the Himalayas).BitterThis is necessary to balance all the flavours and the body system. Bitter foods have high medicinal values eg turmeric, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds etc.SourSourness sharpens flavours, stimulates tastebuds and has a wake-up quality for example green mango, tamarind, kokam etc.SpicySpices bring out the flavour in any dish and is an integral and indispensable part of every Indian meal. The spice here means aromatic flavours, not heat. SweetApart from desserts, sweet fruits, honey etc are used against various spices to balance a dish. e.g. mango pulp, jaggery and apricots are widely used.The intricate and delicate use of the above in correct combination and proportion are key to extracting the perfect flavours.Garam masala is a mixture of many different spices and garam masala itself comes in various combinations. We use different garam masala for every dish (garam means warm).And not just food, women use jasmine bracelets and marigolds, and men use sandalwood paste on their forehead on formal occasions, sprinkle water on grass and dinner is traditionally served in the open air, to awaken all the senses.Bitterness symbolises struggles and realities; salt symbolises moderation; sourness awakens the spirit and sharpens the mind, and spices symbolise the endeavours of life.At Rasam we do follow these principles by and large.We use fresh whole spices, soak and strain assorted roots, use low glycemic indexed rice, slow-cook meat on the bone and also rely less upon onions to thicken sauces.We always aim to strike a delicate balance of assorted flavours, freshly ground spices containing natural healing oils, pickles and chutney acting as taste stimulants – all these assisting with digestion and a feeling of well-being after having eaten.