Taste: Between molasses and caramel, depending on the season. Not as sweet as refined sugar.
Look: Yellow to golden brown in color, usually sold in a large block to be broken into chunks.
Smell: Distinct, caramel sweet-like scent.
Taste: Herbaceous, earthy with a hotter and sharper heat than black pepper.
Look: Cream colored delicate spheres. The husk is removed so it will not look wrinkly like green or black pepper.
Smell: Barnyard-like scent.
Taste: Fresh, herbaceous notes. But not as hot as black or white pepper.
Look: Bright green, imperfect spheres.
Smell: Usually a slightly fermented smell since they are often preserved in brine.
Taste: Sweet, slightly bitter, musky, nutty taste. More often used for the color it imparts rather than the flavor.
Look: Orange root (when fresh) and an orange-yellow powder when dried.
Smell: Bright, floral scent.
NUTMEG & MACE
Taste: Warm, aromatic. Sweetish in nutmeg, a bit more bitter in mace.
Look: Nutmeg is a large, round seed while mace is ribbony and tan with a pink hue.
Smell: Fresh, rich, and warm with some floral notes.
Taste: When fired in oil, they develop a flavor that is nutty and pleasantly sharp.
Look: Small, round black to slightly grayish seeds.
Smell: Unlike most spices, the whole seeds have virtually no smell. The sinus-opening aroma happens when they are ground and combined with liquid.
Taste: Slight bitterness, a warm, toasted-onion flavor with an oregano-like quality.
Look: Black, rounded, pear-shaped seeds (often mistaken for black sesame seeds).
Smell: Faint, peppery aroma.
Taste: Slightly sweeter and more delicate than the traditional spicy anise flavor that is often used. Adds a herbaceous, pine-like bitterness to dishes.
Look: Light tan, greenish seed. Appears similar to cumin except is smaller with a greener color.
Smell: Anise-like aroma.
Taste: Slightly harsh, rich and strong flavor with smoky overtones.
Look: About an inch long dark brown pods with visible seeds.
Smell: Smoky and savory. Reminiscent barbecue sauce.
Taste: Sweet, mild, floral, with a faint citrus note. Often referred to as the “vanilla of India”.
Look: Bright green clover shaped pods.
Smell: Warm, sweet, intense camphor-like aroma.
Taste: Sweet, bitter, and somewhat peppery flavor. When eaten on their own can produce a numbing sensation.
Look: Dark brown spice shaped like an nail.
Smell: Warm and strongly aromatic smell.
Taste: Nutty, peppery, slightly bitter, warm and pungent with a smokey flavor.
Look: Dark grey blackish seeds
Smell: A bit mellower than regular cumin, slightly floral, and sweeter.
Taste: Peppery and slightly bitter taste, adds warmth to your dishes.
Look: Long, light tan seeds.
Smell: Pungent, warm, slightly nutty, with an earthy aroma (very noticeable when crushed).
Taste: Sour, slightly sweet. Like a powdered lime.
Look: Light grayish brown powder - keep away from humidity to prevent clumps.
Smell: Citrusy and fresh (made from dried green mangoes).