Essential Indian Herbs You Can Grow At Home

1. Coriander /Dhania

All you need is to sow a row of whole coriander seeds from your kitchen in a pot on a sunny window sill in early spring. Don’t over-water the plant at any point. Soon you’ll see little shoots of coriander that can be plucked and used as this everyday herb as a garnish for your food. Refreshing and light, coriander, dhania, or cilantro partners brilliantly with all Indian food

2. Mint/Pudina

If you happen to have bought mint stalks with roots, you can just plant them (after using the leaves) in a pot. Very easy to grow, once mint takes root it is quite a prolific herb. It is recommended that you grow it in a pot otherwise this invasive herb can take over your green patch. The flavorful green leaves of mint will let you make the freshest of chutneys, and brighten up your raita.

3. Basil/Tulsi

A sacred herb that grows in many Indian homes, tulsi requires plenty of sunlight and water. It should be planted right before the monsoon, under intense heat, and allowed to grow through the rain and cooler climate. The leaves have a warm, spicy flavor. Add a few leaves of tulsi to flavor your tea and to heal throat infections, cold, and cough. Also, try a crushed leaf of this homegrown herb on a stinging insect bite for natural relief.

4. Lemongrass

You can grow lemongrass by rooting a market-bought stalk. First, keep it in a jar of water. Change the water every day till the lemongrass grows about 2 inches tall and then transfer it to a sunny spot and keep it hydrated. Most people use lemongrass to infuse flavor into their teas, but it can also be used to make flavored pasta sauce, Thai curries, and marinades.

5. Curry Leaves/ Kadi Patta

The fragrant curry leaf plant needs abundant sunlight. So keep it under direct sunlight for most of the year except in hot summers. While seeds work well, stem cuttings (about 3 inches long) are the easiest way to plant them. Leftover curd or buttermilk serve as excellent home-produced fertilizers that promote the growth of this plant that is known for its distinct flavor.

6. Carom/ Ajwain

Growing the ajwain plant is easy. It does not require too much sunlight or water. The beautiful ridged leaves of the ajwain plant are edible and an easy home remedy for tummy upsets. Add it to raita, sprinkle on to salads for a fresh taste or chew a few leaves for an instant natural mouth freshener! Interestingly, according to Feng Shui, this plant is lucky for your house

7. Dill/ Sowa Bhaji

The Dill plant likes well-drained, sunny spots and shelter from the wind. Use stalks to lend support to the plant that dislikes being transplanted, and is best sown directly in spring. Both the seeds and the leaves of this herb have a sharp, slightly bitter taste. Extensively in South Indian cooking, Dill can also be used to flavor fish, soups, salads, meat, poultry, omelets, and potatoes.

8. Chilli Pepper/ Mirchi

A signature herb of Indian cuisine, Indian chilies are an ideal candidate for herb gardening at home. Just grab a dried red chili from your spice jar, break the chili and gather the seeds for sowing. Allow them to germinate in a seed tray before transplanting the delicate saplings into a bigger pot when they reach a 4 or 6 leaf stage. Chili plants love heat and water in equal measure, and they will do best in a spot that gets loads of sunshine.

9. Thyme

Sow the Thyme seeds in early March, with the spacing of six inches between two seeds. Thyme needs light sunshine, grows slowly from seed, and should be allowed a few months of growth to become well established, before cutting. You can use the intensely aromatic thyme leaves in a marinade for meat and fish or add it to flavor rice and stir-fried veggies. The blossoms are also edible flowers.

10. Parsley

Sow Parsley seeds in mid-spring for a summer harvest of parsley, and mid-summer for a winter harvest. To enhance germination, soak seeds overnight and plant them fairly close together as they thrive on competition. It has a long germination period, around three to four weeks, so be patient. Picking parsley often helps it grow. Parsley is popularly used as a garnish in salads, pasta and sauces.

11. Rosemary

Rosemary is usually propagated by cuttings as seeds can be difficult to germinate. Once it has taken root, this perennial, woody shrub will thrive for years. It grows well in well-drained alkaline soil and hot sunny climates. Prune it regularly so that the plant doesn’t get spindly. Rosemary has a strong aroma and flavor and is generally used in Mediterranean cuisine.

12. Indian Sorrel/ Chaangeri

A well-documented ayurvedic herb useful in vitamin C deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, indigestion,on-demand, and diarrhea, Chaangeri or Indian Sorrel has a delicious sweet-sour taste. It grows best in sunlight but doesn’t mind a shady patch under the shrubs. The flowers, fruit, and leaves are completely edible and can be blended with coriander, mint, and raw mango to make great green chutney.

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