Are there any "rules" for combining spices in Indian cooking?
I decided to make a vegetable curry and just completely wing it. a little of this, a little of that. It was pretty good, but when I later consulted some Indian cookbooks I started to wonder if there are any rules or formulas for combining different spices. I would love to know if anyone who grew up with Indian food (or has studied it) can say "don't combine blank with blank" or other words of wisdom? Thanks!
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... From whatever little I've observed the combinations of spices end up being characteristic of food from different regional districts.. e.g Sambhar is a lentil gravy made with pigeon peas, Brahmin kitchens would shudder at the thought of adding cinnamon or fennel to the spice blend, but other communities do it all the time, & both versions are equally delicious.
In fact, I've even used non Indian herbs & spices such as thyme & lavender in traditional dishes with wonderful results!