Asafoetida, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds and coriander seeds are common Indian spices. Other spices frequently used in Indian cuisine include cinnamon, nigella seeds and black salt.
Asafoetida, also called hing, is an aromatic powdered tree resin often used in Indian vegetarian dishes. The raw powder is extremely pungent and must be kept in a tightly sealed container. When stirred into hot butter or oil, asafoetida develops a savory, musky aroma and flavor.
Indian black salt is a dusky pink salt with a strong sulfurous odor reminiscent of eggs. Many recipes for snacks, chutneys and other Indian condiments call for small amounts of black salt. Due to its distinctive odor, black salt is not a suitable substitute for other salts.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is extremely popular in Indian cuisine. Its vibrant yellow color makes turmeric an effective natural colorant for mustards, butter and cheese. It is also a natural remedy for health problems such as arthritis and jaundice, according to WebMD.
Tiny black nigella seeds are a popular ingredient in many Indian flatbread recipes. Their flavor, which is similar to onions, becomes more pronounced when the seeds are toasted. Nigella seeds may also be stirred into curries and scattered over salads.