The secret of Pakistani & Indian cuisine lies in its spices, freshly ground each day. All spices have their own characteristics, which are used in varying proportions to make the correct combination for a particular delicacy. The main reason Europe and the West started trading with India was the unique, delicious spices it had to offer.
Although the beneficial use of spices had been recorded in ancient Indian treatises, they were not widely known until recently. Apart from making food palatable, spices also have inherent 'cooling' and 'warming' properties.
The basic spices along with salt, are Jeera (Cumin) to impart fragrance to the food, Haldi (Turmeric) to give color, and Laal mirch (Red Chili) to spice up the food. Amchur (Dry Mango Powder) adds piquancy and a pinch of Heeng (Asafetida) adds a unique taste and also aids digestion. Fresh coriander is the most common garnish and also adds a light fragrance.