Warming Spice Masala Dubba

Warming Spice Masala Dubba

Warming Spices

Warming spices are often known as finishing spices. They are spices that can not be cooked for very long as they lose their flavour quite quickly when cooked. They are added towards the end of cooking to finish a dish and elevate its flavours. Once you get to grips with key spices , cooking a good base (onions, tomatoes, ginger, chilli and garlic) and the addition of warming spices you really are set to make some incredible and authentic curries.

Click here to watch my video about warming spices.

I use 7 warming spices

Star anise 

Star anise has a bold liquorice and lemon flavour and is often used in slow cooked dishes.

Green cardamom

This is a really floral spice. The seeds need to be lightly crushed to get the best flavour from them.

Black Cardamom

If black pepper is the king of spices black cardamom in his queen. It has a smoky flavour with peppermint undertones. You need to use the whole pod as the pod itself gives off a charcoal note also.


Cloves have a very complex flavour - rich, hot and fruity - but they should be used sparingly as they can take over if you’re not careful.

Fenugreek leaves 

These are sweet and nutty and need to be soaked in a little warm water to rehydrate them. They actually smell of "curry," far more than curry leaves do!

Mango powder 

A souring agent which also helps tenderise meat. It is made by drying out the skin of raw green mango and grinding into a powder. If you can’t get hold of mango powder, tamarind paste is a good alternative.

Kashmiri chillies

These are the best dried chillies to use if you are new to Indian cooking as they have a beautiful colour and are less pungent than other chillies.

Fennel seeds

These aren't in my own dabba as I don't use them that often. Fennel seeds add a hint of sweet aniseed and liquorice flavour to dishes.

author photo

Anjula Devi

A respected food writer and author, Anjula started cooking with her father at the age of eight. At that time the ingredients for Indian cuisine were not as readily available as they are now and Anjula travelled on the number 207 bus with her father to Shepherd’s Bush Market where they would buy a selection of spices, fresh fish and Indian vegetables. ​​ Utilising her cookery skills and passion for spices, Anjula launched her own business in 2010, Anjula Devi Authentic Indian Food, providing Indian dinner parties and Indian cookery classes. Anjula has created a range of authentic recipes for Manchester United, arguably the biggest football club in the world, where she is a consultant chef. A Brand Ambassador for TRS Foods, the world’s largest Indian food company, Anjula has also launched her own brand, Route 207, inspired by the bus route she used to take to the spice market.
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