Meghalaya Spice Basket
Spices have been integral to cooking no matter what the cuisine is! Spices that are native to the South-East Asian continent have been ruling the space for ages. Apart from their culinary applications, spices are known to possess a myriad of health-aiding attributes. If you are planning to restock your spice counter, and looking out for some of the best, pure, natural, organically-grown spices, Meghalaya Spice Basket is your go-to option!
This spice basket combo from Zizira is brought to your doorstep directly from the source. So, you can rest assured about the authenticity and premium-quality of these spices. Besides, all Zizira products stringently are tested for food safety guidelines, best practices, and are devoid of heavy metals, chemical additives, and adulteration at any stage of sourcing, processing, and the supply chain.
Be surprised by the quality and taste of the traditionally grown spices that come from farmers of Meghalaya. Check out the Zizira spice basket right away!
This spice combo contains:
Perilla Seeds (50 g) - Perilla is an herb and is scientifically known as Perilla frutescens. This plant is majorly found in Asian countries like Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, and India. It is also known by other names such as Beefsteak plant and ‘Nei Lieh’ in the Khasi language. Perilla seeds have recently gained importance due to the different beneficial phytochemical constituents it has and also because of its medicinal properties. Unlike other varieties of seeds, perilla seeds are more delicate and are less stable because of the high lipid content present in them.
The seeds have been traditionally used for the treatment of various diseases like depression, anxiety, tumour, allergies, and some intestinal disorders. Perilla plant belongs to the mint family and has a minty liquorice kind of a taste in addition to the nutty flavour.
Dried Bhut Jolokia (15 g) - Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Chilli or Naga Chilli is widely cultivated in the North-eastern states of Indian. It had a Guinness Book Record as the Planet's hottest ever chilli from 2007 to 2010. Despite its extreme pungency, Bhut Jolokia has a sweetish, fruity taste too.
The people of the Northeast have great affection for Bhut Jolokia Chillies, and it is used to make mean curries full of flavours. Ghost peppers are also eaten raw with meals. Bhut Jolokia consumption even in smaller quantities improves metabolism and can help in weight loss. Capsaicin in Ghost pepper is high, and it is known to reduce many health issues. Although very pungent, Bhut Jolokia has layers of flavours, it has a fruity sweet taste in the layers.
Cinnamon Chunks (34 g) - It is a very versatile spice and is well-known for its uses in sweet and savoury foods. It has a sweet woody fragrance that is used in every Indian household. Cinnamon chunks have a high content of essential oil known as cinnamaldehyde which contributes to its antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Another component, eugenol is responsible for its antiseptic and pain killer effects. Cinnamon has a warm, sweet flavour and pungent aroma. The taste and scent come from cinnamaldehyde, which makes up most of the essential oil of cinnamon, but also 80 additional aromatic compounds. Cassia has a stronger flavour than the more subtle true cinnamon, which can have floral notes.
Roasted Indian Bay Leaf Powder (40 g) - The Indian bay leaf is scientifically known as Cinnamomum tamala or tej patta in Hindi. Originated in the southern slopes of the Himalayas, they are also found growing in Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and the North-Eastern hills of India. It is an endemic spice in most Indian cuisines from savoury to sweet dishes due to its distinctive fragrance and flavour.
However, dried roasted bay leaf is also well-known for the medicinal properties it possesses. The presence of various nutrients and minerals such as Vitamin A and C along with folic acid (a type of vitamin B) makes it a highly beneficial herb. If the leaves are eaten whole, they are pungent and have a sharp bitter taste. Its fragrance is more noticeable than its taste which when dried, gives out an herbal and slightly floral fragrance which is due to the presence of essential oils like Myrcene and Eugenol in it.
When the herb is added to water, soup, or another cooking liquid, it develops an almost minty flavour (somewhere between spearmint and menthol). Bay leaf powder adds a subtle bitterness that keeps heavy soups and stews from tasting so heavy.
Black Cardamom Powder (50 g) - It is the bigger version of the green cardamoms and is commonly known as Badi elaichi or Kali elaichi. Because of its distinct smoky aroma and flavour, black cardamom is often used as a substitute for green cardamoms. The pods have a slightly minty aroma due to their volatile content and are often used as a mouth freshener. Every Indian household uses this spice to flavour biryanis and other Indian cuisines. Along with flavour, Black Cardamom has also been traditionally utilized to treat various ailments.
Black cardamom has a hint of resin and camphor, as well as menthol. It has a slightly minty aroma that provides balance to an otherwise funky flavour. These intense, potent flavours put black cardamom in the "warming" spice category, along with black pepper, cloves, and chiles.
Szechuan Peppercorns (40g) - Szechuan peppercorns are the spicy external covering of berries belonging to the prickly-ash tree scientifically known as Zanthoxylum khasianum. In our local language Khasi, it is called Jaiur that is used as a culinary ingredient.
These peppercorns have a sharp, tingling yet flavorful taste and are one of the ingredients of the very famous ‘five spice’ powder used by the Chinese. Despite the name Szechuan pepper, it does not really relate to the common black pepper, instead they are totally different. Szechuan peppers are neither hot like chilli peppers nor pungent like black pepper; instead it has an extremely unique aroma and flavour which is slightly lemony and creates a tingling numbness in the mouth.
The Szechaun peppercorn's aroma is similar to that of lavender. When consumed, the first taste is bitter, then a numbing heat is sensed, followed by citrus flavour. This spice is famous for the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth.
These peppercorns contain the molecule hydroxy-alpha-sanshool which interacts with nerve cell receptors in the lips and mouth. It excites the touch sensors and the confusing sensation feels like numbness. With enough stimulation, it feels like the area has gone numb.
Why This product
Our team travels to the most isolated and remote villages to source the best ingredients. This spice basket is loaded with the goodness of such natural ingredients that have been well chosen by our ethical farmers.
The extra mile
- Knowing where our ingredients come from - We deeply care about where each and every ingredient we use comes from. Over the years our team has been able to build up relations with the ethical farmers of Meghalaya and what is important is that we give importance to providing pure and safe products to our customers.
- Evaluation of ingredients - To provide our customers with the best products, we make sure to select the absolute best ingredients with maximum quality. Both our team and our farmer partners share the same mission and we prioritize on the long-term health of the land. The land is free from all unwanted artificial additives such as pesticides, chemical fertilizers and insecticides resulting in safe and pure ingredients.
- Product safety - In the processing of food, we are aware of hazards that can creep in. We do not take chances with any kind of hazard – physical, chemical or biological. We take every necessary precaution to control them at every critical point in our food processing facility. That is what we are doing with every new harvest of each and every ingredient that we use.
- Credible, Safe and Wholesome - We follow a similar process for all of Zizira's products. Credible, high standard quality maintenance without excuses. We understand that the choices we make and who we work with, partner with, what and how we serve can make a difference. We believe that our continued effort and diligent work will contribute to the health of our customers, to the prosperity of the farmers as they revive and regenerate traditional farming practices.
Perilla seeds - Perilla plant and seeds look and are quite different from sesame seeds. The taste of both the seeds is also quite different too.
Perilla plant belongs to the mint family and has a minty liquorice kind of a taste in addition to the nutty flavour.
Bhut Jolokia - Our Bhut jolokia chillies are from Ri Bhoi. These chillies are always plump and smooth, typically as long as an index finger, and are distinguished by its glossy, red colour. Yes, it is very pungent and only a tiny piece of it can leave your taste buds on fire. The Capsaicin in Bhut Jolokia causes the burning sensation in your mouth.
Although very pungent, Bhut Jolokia has layers of flavours, it has a fruity sweet taste in the layers.
Dried Roasted Bay Leaves - A perfect ingredient, this roasted bay leaf powder is a flavorful add on for your Garam Masala or to your soup seasoning. It is complex and strong. In Ayurveda, bay leaf is added in teas for treating cough and cold.
If you smell a dried bay leaf, you might not get as much aroma as you would. But this does not mean there is no flavour in it.
When the herb is added into water, soup, or another cooking liquid, it develops an almost minty flavour (somewhere between spearmint and menthol). Bay leaf powder adds a subtle bitterness that keeps heavy soups and stews from tasting so heavy.
Cinnamon chunks - Cinnamon has a warm, sweet flavour and pungent aroma. The taste and scent come from cinnamaldehyde, which makes up most of the essential oil of cinnamon, but also 80 additional aromatic compounds. Cassia has a stronger flavour than the more subtle true cinnamon, which can have floral notes.
Black Cardamom - Black cardamom has a hint of resin and camphor, as well as menthol. It has a slightly minty aroma that provides balance to an otherwise funky flavour. These intense, potent flavours put black cardamom in the "warming" spice category, along with black pepper, cloves, and chiles.
Szechuan Pepper - The Szechaun peppercorn's aroma is similar to that of lavender. When consumed, the first taste is bitter, then a numbing heat is sensed, followed by citrus flavour. This spice is famous for the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth. These peppercorns contain the molecule hydroxy-alpha-sanshool which interacts with nerve cell receptors in the lips and mouth.
It excites the touch sensors and the confusing sensation feels like numbness. With enough stimulation, it feels like the area has gone numb.
These spices will not only enhance the taste, but they are also loaded with a lot of health benefits. Some of the health benefits of these spices are as follows:
- Lowers cholesterol - The seeds help in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and it increases HDL (good cholesterol) which may further help in preventing heart diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and other rare diseases.
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases - Excellent quantity of healthy fats in Perilla seeds makes it highly beneficial for preventing various heart-related problems. The seeds help in maintaining healthy blood vessels by making them strong enough to overcome the accumulation of plaque. The antioxidant property in it also helps in preventing oxidation of cholesterol that is present in the food.
- Has anti-depressant properties and good for the brain - The powerful antioxidant activity of the seeds and the healthy oils in it has a major effect on the organic chemical (dopamine) which is present at the centre of our brain helping us feel happier. It also helps in optimizing the brain function and helps with memory.
- Boost the immunity - The phytochemical compounds that are present in this seed helps to trigger the activity of a group of signalling proteins (interferons) which may help in promoting the effectiveness of the immune system and helps keep various diseases away.
- Helpful in respiratory disorders - The chemical constituents such as quercetin, luteolin, alpha-linoleic and rosmarinic acid present in the seeds are great for helping deal with respiratory tract disorders and helps a person breathe easily.
- Helps in Losing Weight - Hot peppers contain Capsaicin which can speed up metabolism and help the body burn calories faster. This is because Capsaicin increases your body temperature and contributes to an increase in your heart rate.
- Good for heart - Known to help to improve heart health by improving the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots. Research has shown that low-density cholesterol (LDL or bad cholesterol) resisted oxidation for a longer period (which can clog your arteries) when chilli was added to the diet, thus reducing the heart stroke risk. The capsaicin in peppers also fights inflammation, which has been identified as a risk factor for heart disease.
- Improved circulation - Can promote good circulation, and they appear to lower blood pressure. Your body’s temperature is raised; therefore, it increases your blood flow and gets your heart pumping. Peppers help strengthen the blood vessel walls as they are high in vitamin A and C.
- Improved digestion - Spices also improve your digestion because they increase the hydrochloric secretion of your stomach. This, in turn, will increase blood flow to the stomach and even increase the mucous lining. Capsaicin also helps to kill bacteria like H. pylori and help to prevent or cure stomach ulcers.
- Cold and Flu - Capsaicin promotes sweating and eases the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms. It also helps to open the nasal passages. It may also reduce sinusitis and other flu symptoms.
- Help manage type 2 diabetes - A daily dose of cinnamon has an impact on type 2 diabetes. It helps by reducing blood pressure and improving the sensitivity of insulin. Some of the compounds in it possess similar effects of insulin and helps in regulating the blood sugar level which is an important factor for those who are suffering from diabetes.
- Reduces cholesterol - Cinnamon helps in lowering LDL which is bad cholesterol and raises the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. One specific compound cinnamate may help in decreasing the activity of an enzyme that produces cholesterol which further helps in reducing the fatty acid content in the blood.
- Reduces inflammation - Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is an incredible compound that gives the bark its odour and flavour. This compound also helps in relieving swelling and prevents the platelets in the blood to clump together. The anti-inflammatory qualities in it also help in blocking the harmful substances that are associated with the abnormal growth of cells and therefore decrease the risk of various diseases.
- Rich in antioxidants - Antioxidants are highly important because they help the body in reducing oxidative stress that leads to cell damage which further leads to chronic diseases. Cinnamon is extremely rich in antioxidants and thus helps in preventing the risk of many rare diseases.
- Freshen breath - An incredible compound cinnamaldehyde helps in killing different oral bacteria which causes problems in the gums. This further leads to bad oral odour but chewing a cinnamon stick or gargling with a simple cinnamon mouthwash (boil 5 cinnamon sticks in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes) will help in relieving gum pain and bad odour.
Note: Only a maximum of 1 tsp of Cinnamon powder should be consumed in a day.
Dried Roasted Bay Leaf
- Improves digestion - Bay leaves are believed to have excellent effects on the gastrointestinal system and also acts as a diuretic as it helps in stimulating urination. This effect further helps in decreasing toxicity by flushing out the toxic substances. Furthermore, the compounds that are present in bay leaves are highly effective in dealing with upset stomachs, soothing irritable bowel syndrome. Due to some complex proteins that are present in our diet, it makes it difficult to digest but the enzymes that are present in bay leaves facilitates efficient digestion and the intake of different nutrients.
- Helps in respiratory conditions - Bay leaves have powerful antibacterial properties in them and the essential oils in them help in alleviating respiratory conditions. It helps to loosen up the phlegm and eliminates harmful bacteria that may be trapped in the respiratory tract.
- Has anti-cancer properties - Bay leaves have a unique combination of antioxidants as well as other organic compounds such as phytonutrients, linalool, catechins, and parthenolide that helps in protecting the body from the harmful effects of cancer-causing free radicals or substances. These free radicals cause mutation of the healthy cells into cancer cells, but bay leaves may help in preventing this activity due to the abundant number of antioxidants and organic compounds in it. Cineole, one of the main compounds in bay leaves that help in suppressing the growth of cancer cells.
- Helpful for the heart - The organic compounds that are found in bay leaf which include caffeic acid and rutin helps in enhancing the health of the heart. These two compounds aid in strengthening the capillary walls that are present in the heart further helps in eliminating LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
- Protects the body from inflammation - Bay leaves have an anti-inflammatory activity which is one of its most essential benefits. The presence of some unique Phyto-nutrients called parthenolide in it helps in reducing inflammation significantly which further reduces the chances of developing inflammation conditions like arthritis.
- Gastro-intestinal health - It helps in stimulating the gastric and intestinal glands to produce essential juices due to its stimulant properties. It also helps in regulating the juice secretion process to keep the amount of the stomach acids balanced. This spice helps in dealing with heartburn and stomach cramps. The digestive property has also helped in healing chronic constipation and improve the appetite. It is also carminative in nature which means it will help in getting rid of indigestion.
- Respiratory health - This spice warms up the respiratory tract to help in clearing out the lungs for better air circulation. The plant is also an expectorant which means it will help in relieving cough, cold and sore throat by normalizing the flow of mucous in the respiratory system.
- Cardiovascular Health - Black cardamom helps in controlling the cardiac rhythm which helps in keeping the blood pressure in check. Regular intake of black cardamom helps in keeping and remaining healthy. It also may help in reducing the possibilities of a blood clot thus protecting the body from strokes.
- Oral health - There are many dental disorders like infection of the teeth, a gum infection caused due to the oral bacteria may be reduced with black cardamom. The strong aroma in it helps in dealing with bad breath.
- Antiseptic and antiviral - Black cardamom can help destroy different microbes of different species. When included in the diet, it may help in boosting the immunity and provides protection from bacterial and viral infections.
- Stimulates circulation - For someone who feels lethargic, weak, or lightheaded without knowing why this may be due to a condition known as anaemia. Those suffering from anaemia, they lack the amount of healthy red blood cells that help in carrying adequate oxygen to the various body tissues. It is one of the most common health problems and is also known as iron deficiency. Szechuan peppers contain a high level of iron in it which helps in providing enough haemoglobin in the body which thus help in oxygenating the red blood cells and stimulate the circulatory system.
- Helps in reducing pain - Although Szechuan peppers are associated with spice and heat, it also actually works as an analgesic (pain killer) substances. The phytochemicals that are present in Szechuan peppers can grip pain receptors and eliminate the nervous system from producing pain or discomfort. It is not a cure for pain but will definitely help in relieving it.
- Boosts the immunity - Szechuan peppers have high levels of zinc in it which makes it potent for strengthening the immune system. Zinc is highly beneficial in keeping the immunity in check. The volatile oils that are present in Szechuan pepper are packed with excellent amounts of antioxidants and other important chemicals that have anti-fungal and antiviral properties that make it extremely effective.
- Aids in appetite - It is often very difficult to gain back a normal appetite after recovering from an illness. However, it is during this time that the body is continuously healing and repairing and is in need of a maximum level of nutrients. There are many different compounds in Szechuan peppers that helps in stimulating the appetite and also improves the rate of metabolism, which means that it will aid in deriving essential nutrients from the food eaten at a faster rate.
- Helps in strengthening bones - Quite a few essential minerals are found in minimum quantity within Szechuan peppers which includes copper, manganese, phosphorus, and iron that plays an extremely important role in building up strong bones. These compounds also help in preventing age-related problems like osteoporosis (bones become weak and increase the chances of breaking). The density of bone minerals in our body gets decreases as we get older, so it is very important for us to supplement ourselves with maximum quantities of minerals whenever possible. This infusion is very helpful in providing these essential minerals and keeping the bones strong.
Perilla seeds: Best used for seasoning your salads. Here is a simple recipe:
Boil 3 potatoes. Lightly roast 4 tablespoons of perilla seeds for 3 mins in low heat. Once they let out the nutty aroma, turn off the heat. Pound perilla seed in a mortar and pistil or a grinder. Mash the potatoes. Cut onions and chillies. Mix all the ingredients together and add lemon juice and salt to taste.
Bhut Jolokia chilli: Use the dried bhut jolokia for cooking spicy curries and making chutneys by adding it with other spices in your kitchen. Enjoy the fiery red-hot chilly flavour in your dish.
Cinnamon chunks: This spice blends well with stews, soups and all Indian curries, as it adds a warm flavour and aroma. You can also add the sticks in small quantities for baking cookies, biscuits, bread, and desserts.
Dried Roasted Indian Bay Leaf Powder: This is a perfect ingredient that adds flavour and taste to your curries or soup seasoning. You can also use it to prepare bay leaf chai, use 1/3 tsp for 300ml cup of tea.
Black Cardamom Powder: Add this aromatic, flavorful spice to prepare your daily dishes. You can flavour your dal, subzis, biryanis, chole bhature and more. You can also drink it as a tea. Boil water in a container and add 1 teaspoon of the cardamom powder. Add honey and you can serve up to 4 cups of tea.
Szechuan pepper: Crush the peppercorns to fine powders and sprinkle them in your biryanis, curries, chutneys, and soups.
- Blend the powder with some salt and black pepper and rub in on the chicken or any meat to marinate it.
- Blend it with some salt and sprinkle it over fried chicken or any of your fried dishes.
- Mix it into mayonnaise and use it for making your salads or sandwich spread.
- Melt butter and add powdered Szechuan to it along with some shrimp. Sauté it until the shrimp becomes pink and firm. Add this to your vegetable salad.
- Blend powdered Szechuan with some tomato sauce/paste, cumin powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Sauté some chicken cubes in oil with some garlic. Add the tomato paste and heat it. Add some chicken broth to it to lower the consistency of the broth. Serve this with some bread, buns, pasta, or rice.