The cuisine areas of Asia are divided into three: The southwest includes Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Burma, the southeast includes Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, and Thailand, and the northeast includes Korea, Japan, and China. This area has a lengthy history of good cuisine and a variety of spices. This is a list of some Asian spices.
Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum. It was first cultivated in Southeast Asia by Sri Lanka in the 18th century, and Sri Lanka is still a major grower of cinnamon to this day. Cinnamon has a sweet, aromatic quality and has a variety of uses. In India, the whole cinnamon is used for cooking, the bark pieces are fried in hot oil to release the fragrance before adding other ingredients like tomatoes and onions. After cooking, the bark pieces may be removed or left on as a fragrant decoration. In other Asian countries like North India, cinnamon is used in a powdered form for cooking.
Almond (Prunus dulcis)
Sweet almonds are widely used in Asian cuisine. They are used in India as a sauce thickener. They are usually fried with other spices like garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cumin. Almond pieces may also be browned in butter fat and served with dishes of meat and dried fruits. Almond essence is used in baking to flavor cookies, marzipan and cakes.
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Dill originated from Asia and has a sweet aromatic flavor. Dill may be dried or used fresh, although the fresh dill herb has a sweeter fragrance than the dried version. One of the uses of dill in Asian cuisine is in combination with spicy foods where fresh dill is chopped and sprinkled over the food, together with other spices like coriander and parsley.
Cumin (Cuminium cyminum)
Cumin originates from western Asia and is one of the most common spices in India, especially southern India. The fruits have a strong, spicy flavor that can be modified to a nuttier flavor, either by frying or roasting the fruits. They are used to flavor legumes like lentils by frying the cumin in butter fat and for the preparation of northern Indian tandoori dishes. They are also widely used in the preparation of Asian savory meats and vegetables, and the ground or powdered cumin is used to prepare spice mixtures like curry powder.