East End Foods: Spices

We source only the finest produce by having direct contact with the farmers and have consistently improved the quality of our spices by cutting out middlemen and commission agents.

As a company, we have set new trends in this business by focusing on urgent concerns like aflatoxin and pesticide residues. We educate the farmers on 21st century issues and seek to improve the quality of produce to the purest level by limiting the use of even recommended pesticides during cultivation.

The crops are sorted immediately after the harvest to remove any produce showing signs of mould as this can lead to the growth of highly dangerous aflatoxin - a known carcinogen. We also reduce contamination levels by sorting and drying the spices in covered solar tents. Following the cleaning process, the spice is laboratory tested for physical, chemical and microbiological properties. The container for export is loaded only after lab tests confirm that pesticide and aflatoxin levels are below detectable levels. On arrival, the spices are again lab tested and re-cleaned before processing through the grinding stage in our modern plant facility.

Our spices are available in innovative re-sealable stand up 'zip' packs that make spices so convenient to use and store.

Spice Range

Asafoetida

It is grown from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. In India it is grown in the Northern states of Jammu & Kashmir and in parts of Punjab. The taste of Asafoetida is acrid and bitter with a peculiar and offensive smell due to the presence of sulphur compounds. Asafoetida is used sparingly for flavouring curries, sauces, and pickles. It is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties.

Bay Leaf

Bay is the leaf of an evergreen tree native to Mediterranean region. The spice is also known variously as "sweet bay", "bay laurel", " noble laurel" and "true laurel."

Today, Bay leaf is one of the most sought after culinary spices for flavoring soups, casseroles, fish, fish sauces, meat, poultry, puddings, and marinades. It is an important ingredient of Garam Masala in the ground form.

Cardamom

This is the fruit of a reed - like plant. Cardamom is one of the most ancient spices in the world and one of the most highly valued and expensive. In India it is known as the queen of spices. The fruit is a small pod and the seeds within the pods have a strong, sweetish flavour.

The aroma of cardamom is mellow. Initially the taste has a penetrating note of camphor. It is sharply bitter and strong, and lingers quite long in the mouth if you chew a few seeds, but is warming and agreeable.

Rich vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries are flavoured with cardamom. Powdered cardamom is a big favorite in cakes, puddings , halwas etc. Pulaos and Biryanees also depend on this spice for their flavour. Cardamom can enhance both sweet and savory tastes. All the flavour is held in the small, but very hard, seeds.

Types of Cardamom:

  • Green Cardamom
  • White Cardamom
  • Black Cardamom

Tincture of Cardamom is considered a useful medicine for flatulence and stomach disorders. Chewing a few seeds cleanses the breath.

Chilli

The universal spice of India. Chilli is nature's wonder with it's fruits appearing in different sizes, shapes and colours. The fruit size of some varieties is more than a hundred times that of others. Chilli has two important commercial qualities. Some varieties are famous for their red colour because of the pigment capsanthin, others are known for biting pungency attributed to capsicum. India is the only country rich in many varieties with different quality factors. Chilli is an essential ingredient of Indian curry. Tempting colour and titillating pungency, both are contributed by chilli. In curry, chilli is used as a paste, powder, broken, split or whole form. It is also used fresh.

The medium pungent 'Sannam' and mildly pungent 'Mundu' chillies are internationally recognized as the finest in quality. Products are available as powder and oleoresins. The use of Dried and roasted chilli brings out the most intense flavour of a dish. Several varieties of chillies combined and ground to a fine powder give more complex flavour.

Cinnamon

The bark of an evergreen tree belonging to the "Laurel" family and is chiefly cultivated in Ceylon and the East Indies. It has a fragrant odour and its taste is pleasant and aromatic. It is used in both western and Indian cookery, in cakes, buns, ketchup, pickles, in pulaos(rice dish) with cardamom and clove, etc. It is used in the preparation of garam masalas and curry powders.

Cinnamon's agreably sweet, woody aroma is quite delicate, yet intense. The taste is well defined, fragrant and warm. Cinnamon was once commonly used to flavour ale and wine, and it is still a good spice for mulled wine. It is available as sticks or ground fomant.

Cloves

A very old and important spice, the clove was known before the time of the early Egyptians. It is grown in Tropical regions of the world. Cloves have an assertive, dark aroma that is warm and rich. Tasted on its own, a clove is bitingly sharp, hot and bitter and it leaves a lasting numb sensation in the mouth.

Cloves are used in both western and Indian dishes, both savory and sweet e.g.. Pulaos, cooked ham, sauces, gravys and meat dishes. Its effect is tempered by cooking and by other ingredients. The Oil of cloves is used in dentistry to soothe toothache, and its antiseptic properties are well known.

Coriander

The leaves and seeds of a plant called "coriandrum sativum", a member of the parsley family is extensively used in the preparation of Indian savoury dishes and forms an essential ingredient of curry powders. The fresh leaves are used for flavouring curries, in salads and chutneys and also as a garnish. Seeds are sweet and strongly aromatic with a slightly bitter edge, rather like orange peel. Fresh leaves produce the best flavour when added to the dish at the very last minute. A fragrant spice, coriander is today valued as much as for its medicinal properties as for as its use as a condiment. It finds extensive application in several kinds of foods, beverages, liquors and perfumes.

Cumin

An intensely strong flavour and grows abundantly in mild, equable climatic conditions where rich, well drained sandy loamy soil is available. Cumin's distinctive warm flavour is unique and makes a valuable contribution to many savory dishes. It is a vital flavouring in Indian recipes. Indian cumin finds worldwide use in foods, beverages, liquors medicines, toiletries, and perfumery. The spice cumin is an important ingredient of commercial Indian curry powder.

Fennel

Ancient Indians used fennel as a condiment and culinary spice. The dried ripe fruit of an aromatic, herbaceous plant, fennel grows well in most mild climates. The seeds are green to yellow-brown in colour with prominent lighter ridges. The whole plant is aromatic and the seeds smell like anise. The taste is warm, and fragrant but not very sweet.

Fennel was an important medical plant in the past. It was also believed to help cure stomach complaints and toothache. The pleasingly warm, sweet smell and the clean appearance are clear indications of how well Indian fennel retains its exclusive quality, even-after drying. Well known as "saunf", Indian fennel is used in food, medicine, liquor and perfume.

Fenugreek

Also an ancient spice. Traditionally, fenugreek grows best in well-drained loam with a low rainfall. The ripe, dried fruit of a quick-growing annual leguminous herb, fenugreek has a strong, pleasant and quite peculiar odour reminiscent of maple, and dominates in commercial curry powder. Uncooked fenugreek tastes bitter, astringent and is very disagreeable. It is often lightly dry roasted before use to mellow the flavour.

Fenugreek is combined with other spices in many Indian dishes and pickles.

Garlic

Known and used worldwide. It comes from a bulb which splits into individual cloves, Garlic is an excellent condiment with a pungent flavour. It has always been known to have many health giving properties and is taken by many people in pill and capsule form. It is considered to be very wholesome and is a stimulant. The entire bulb is almost without odour but, once cut or bruised, they produce an intensely strong and characteristic odour. Garlic is used in vegetable, meat and poultry dishes especially in casseroles stews and marinades. It is also used to to flavour salads. "Ginger - Garlic" paste is an important ingredient in most of the Indian meat cookery, where it gives excellent flavour and aroma to the food.

Ginger

One of the oriental spices well known in Europe. Ginger has been cultivated in India both as a fresh vegetable and marketed as a dried spice since time immemorial. The fresh, dried or powdered rhizome of a slender, perennial herb. Indian ginger has been acclaimed world wide for its characteristic taste, flavours and texture. It has a warm aroma, with a fresh woody note.

India and most other Asian countries use fresh ginger often with garlic. Both fresh and dried are common in India. Ginger has numerous applications in sweet and savoury cooking. It is an essential ingredient of every spice blend, and is found in bread ginger , biscuits, cakes, puddings, pickles and many Asian vegetable dishes. It is also preserved in syrup (stem ginger). It is still widely used in Asian medicine as a digestive aid. Ginger tea is a warming drink thought to improve the circulation.

Mustard

Mustard has always had a host of uses in condiments and medicines. Mustards taste is slightly bitter. Black seeds have a strong, pungent flavour. Unlike other spices, the seeds have virtually no smell.

Brown seeds are an important flavouring in many dishes from Southern India. Before they are added to a dish, they are usually heated in hot oil to bring out their nutty flavour. Mustard pwder mixed into a smooth paste, is a popular British relish. In traditional medicine, mustard plasters are a common treatment for arthritis and rheumatism.

Nutmeg & Mace

The nutmeg is unique among spice plants as it produces two distinct spices Nutmeg & Mace.Nutmeg is the kernel of the seed; Mace is the lacy growth, known as the aril, which surrounds the seed.

Mace and Nutmeg are similar in aroma and taste, but mace is more refined with an aroma that is rich, fresh and warm and with a slightly bitter taste. Nutmeg has a warm and sweetish taste and is used in western and Indian dishes in puddings, for flavouring egg and in some curries. Nutmeg is also used to relieve bronchial disorders, rheumatism and flatulence.

Pepper

Invaluable in the kitchen, pepper is quite rightly known as the "king of spices'. This spice, which plays an important role in cuisine the world over, is the berry of the plant PIPER NIGRUM. India has always reigned supreme in the production and export of this most exotic and sought -after spice. Pepper production accounts for one quarter of the global spice trade.

Indian pepper had a profound influence on the European economy of the middle ages. Easily the finest in quality, anywhere Indian pepper is grown in the monsoon forests along the Malabar Coast in south India. There was even a time when pepper was worth its weight in gold. Pepper probably changed the course of history being the single most important factor in the European search for sea routes to the East. This quest for pepper dominated the spice trade for centuries, and without it, the colonial Empires of modern history might not have existed.

Types of Pepper:

  • Green pepper
  • Black pepper
  • White pepper

Green pepper corns are harvested while still unripe. Their flavour is somewhat milder and fruitier but not entirely without spice.

Sun dried green peppers are more commonly known as Black pepper, which is flavourful, pungent, and aromatic.

For white pepper some berries are left on the plant until fully ripe and red in colour. They are then soaked and peeled to expose the inner white corns, which are then dried. The flavour is slightly less piquant than that of black pepper.

Poppy seeds

Poppy is the dried seed of a particular type of poppy indigenous to the Mediterranean region and central Asia. Poppy seeds have a slight but pleasantly nutty aroma, and a similar but more pronounced taste, with an underlying sweet note. In cookery poppy seeds are mainly sprinkled on breads and cakes or crushed with honey or sugar to make pastry fillings. They are made into halwas and desserts.

Turmeric

An aromatic root or rhizome of a handsome perennial, with large lily like leaves and yellow flowers. It has been cultivated in India for over 2000 years and is now grown in all Tropical regions of the world. It adds a warm, mild aroma and gives a distinctive yellow colour to foods. It is used in curry powders, not only for imparting colour and flavour to the curries, but also because of its preservative qualities. Turmeric is used as a mild digestive and as a remedy for liver ailments. It is used freely in Indian medicines.

India Spice Range

Fresh spices are the basis for every Indian meal, whether used in traditional ways or with a modern twist.

East End Foods is one of the biggest spice importers in the UK, which means we can select the best quality ingredients and some we even grow ourselves in collaboration with approved farmers.

We grind recleaned spices in our U.K. plant thus ensuring the ultimate purity, freshness and aroma.

In New Product Development we have created exclusive spice blends to meet the precise needs of certain customers.

  • Tikka Masala
  • Balti Masala
  • Rogan Josh Masala
  • Jalfrezi Masala
  • Korma Masala