Popular Spices Used in Indian Food in Hong Kong | Mint & Basil

Popular Spices Used in Indian Food in Hong Kong and Around the World

Indian food is widely known for its variety, spices, taste and all things nice. But do you know which is the most popular spice used in Indian food in Hong Kong? Well, it is turmeric – Yellow in colour, this spice is added to almost every dish. Not only does it give colour to the food item, but also enhances the flavour. Apart from this, it also has many medicinal qualities so often used as a healer when any injury happens.  

Turmeric is not the only spice used in Indian food, Hong Kong, there are many. We will talk about all the spices as we proceed. But before that, let me tell you that there are many Indian spices that have made their way into Chinese cuisines such as pepper, cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin.    

In one interview, a Hong-Kong based homemaker once said that most people in Hong Kong have got Indian spices in their taste buds.  

A Fact to Remember! 

India is among the top producers, consumers and spice exporters in the world. Because of different agro-climatic conditions and soil types, more than 60 spices grow in the country. About 6.9 lakh metric tons spices are exported from India.  

Spices Used in Indian Food Hong Kong, Their Benefits 

Turmeric is not the only one that becomes a member to all Indian dishes but there are many others too. Let us see: 

Dried Red Chilies 

Just like dried Italian red pepperoncini, the most common Indian dried red chiles ranges from medium-hot to hot. When used fully, these are mild. Dried red chiles are used in a wide range of Indian cuisines such as dals (lentils), vegetable dishes.   

Cinnamon Sticks 

In America, cinnamon is usually used as a spice for desserts. In India, it is used as a seasoned savory meat and rice dishes.  

Fenugreek Seeds 

Fenugreek Seeds

These seeds have an earthy and a slightly bitter taste that is especially well-suited to potato and eggplant.   


  • Helps in lowering blood sugar levels 
  • Boosts testosterone and increases milk production in breastfeeding mothers.  
  • It also reduces cholesterol levels, lowers inflammation.  
  • Perhaps helps with appetite control.  

Cayenne Pepper 

This is a spicy red pepper powder that is made from grounded dried Indian reed chiles. It is also used in Creole and Cajun cooking.   


  • Provides beneficial plant compounds.  
  • Cayenne pepper is a fantastic source of antioxidants. 
  • Protects your heart.  
  • Improves digestion.  
  • Maintains a healthy weight.  
  • Eases pain and clears congestion. 

Coriander Seeds 

One can use these in the form of seeds or even in the powdered form.   


  • Anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. 
  • It helps in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. 

Cumin Seeds 

This spice is used in Indian food items Hong Kong. By roasting, nutty and perfumed flavour comes out of the cumin seeds. This spice is commonly used in many Indian curries and some vegetable dishes.  


  • Aids in digestion. 
  • Rich in antioxidants, studies claim that cumin aids in digestion. 
  • Help in reducing food-borne infections.  
  • When added to a low-calorie diet, cumin can help with weight loss.  
  • Helps manage blood sugar levels. 



The green cardamom pods are more aromatic than the bleached whitish cardamom pods. To use this spice, split open the pods and extract the seeds.  


  • Antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. 
  • Produce compounds that help in fighting cancer cells. 
  • Anti-inflammatory effects. 
  • Anti-oxidants in cardamom cells protect from damage.  
  • Stop inflammation from occurring. 
  • It treats bad breath and prevents cavities. 
  • It helps in fighting common mouth bacteria. 

Brown Mustard Seeds 

Indians use black and brown mustard seeds in the Indian food items in Hong Kong. This spice is yellow in colour in American stores and is a fine substitute.     


  • Prevents cancer and slows ageing.  
  • Promotes healthy skin.  
  • Aids digestion.  
  • Good for the health of the heart.  
  • Strengthens teeth, bones, and gums.  
  • Treats pain. 

Ground Turmeric 

Bright ground turmeric powder is derived from a root. It adds color to many dishes from dals i.e., lentils to rice. Use this spice carefully as it stains the clothes.   


  • Medicinal properties that prevent heart attacks. 
  • Used in Indian households as a medicinal herb. 
  • Curcuminoids from turmeric can reduce the number of heart attacks patients.  
  • Boosts brain’s function. 
  • Beneficial effect on levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).  
  • Shows benefits against depression. 
  • Curcumin can also boost brain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. 
  • Turmeric is also used as a dietary supplement to treat inflammatory arthritis, skin, stomach, liver and other gall bladder problems. 


Extracted from the rhizome of the ferula plant, asafetida adds a distinctive garlicky, truffle-like flavor to the Indian foods in Hong Kong. This spice is used in lentils and other dishes.   


  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial effects. 
  • It helps in lowering blood pressure. 
  • Potential anti-cancer effects.  
  • Might even protect brain health.  
  • Might ease asthma symptoms.  
  • Might lower blood sugar levels. 

Why are Spices Added to Food? 

Spices are added to enhance the flavour. This is something we all know. But the real answer is that spices do not just contribute to adding rich flavour, but also do not add any fats, sugar, calories and salt. 

In addition, research shows that spices provide anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.  

There must be thousands and lakhs of small and big spices that are used to make Indian food in Hong Kong and around the world.  While some spices might focus on providing nutrition, some add aroma such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, rosemary etc.   

Each of the above spices is blessed with medicinal properties. All the above spices have made a special place in other Pan-Asian cuisines as well. To relish the flavours and aroma of the spices in Indian food in Hong Kong, come to Mint and Basil, the best Pan-Asian restaurant in Tung Chung.