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Indian cuisine is full of color and spice.  There is no better way to spice up your healthy meal rotation than to give Indian flavors a try.  Check out a few of the Indian herbs and spices you can use to add some variety to your healthy weight-loss diet program.

1. Fenugreek: It is hard to think of Indian cuisine without thinking of curry, and fenugreek is the spice that gives Indian curry its earthy flavor.  The seeds of fenugreek are yellow in color and resemble wheat kernels.  Fenugreek seeds should be used carefully, since they are very fragrant.  The leaves of fenugreek are not as potent as the seeds, but they are usually dried and used as a spice, too.

2. Turmeric: Turmeric is the new “it” spice and just happens to fit perfectly with a healthy weight-loss diet program.  Turmeric is responsible for the distinct golden color of curries.  Similar to ginger in taste, turmeric is one of the most common Indian spices.  The flavor of fresh turmeric is a little stronger than the dried version.  When cooking with turmeric, be sure not to wear your favorite outfit, since turmeric can stain clothes and even utensils fairly easily.

3. Saffron: This spice is the most expensive spice in the world due to how labor intensive it is to harvest.  Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower and has to be picked by hand.  Thankfully, a little saffron goes a long way.  Because of its intense flavor, it should be used sparingly in dishes.  It is typically dissolved in warm water before being added to Indian dishes.  When purchasing saffron, be sure to look for saffron that has a deep red color.  Saffron that is darker in color is fresher.

4. Parsley: Parsley is a popular herb in almost every culture.  In Indian cuisine, parsley is used in green chutney.  Cilantro and mint leaves are also used to make the green sauce used on many different Indian snack foods.

5. Cardamom: Green or black, cardamom is essential in Indian cooking.  Green cardamom is more commonly found and used in spice mixes and in Indian desserts.  Green cardamom is light, sweet, and resembles the flavor of eucalyptus.  When cooking with cardamom, pop the pod open and lightly crush the black seeds before adding cardamom to your dish.  Black cardamom has a smoky flavor that should be used sparingly in dishes.  If you choose to use the entire cardamom pod instead of just the seeds, be sure to pull the pod out before serving the dish.

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