Whole spices release its flavor slowly as compared to ground spices. By sautéing it at the start of the cooking, the aromatic oils from the spices infuses with the cooking oil and adds flavor to the dish. If a recipe calls for stewing or poaching or simmering with the use of whole spices, it is best to make a bundle in single layer cheesecloth and add it to the dish for easy removal. When the liquid warms up, the aromatic oils and flavor infuse into the liquid.
The correct way of using and serving common spices are:
Large whole spices: bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise and black cardamom can be easily spotted and removed before serving the dish.
Small whole spices: cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds and black peppercorns are difficult to spot. It is best to toast/dry roast, powder and add them towards the end of the cooking for maximum flavor.
Nutmeg has a sweet taste and goes well with sweet and savory dishes. Grate it and add a pinch in the end.
For maximum flavor, add mustard seeds, caraway seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds at the start of the cooking and allow it to splutter for approximately 10 seconds in hot oil. Fennel seeds and cumin seeds can be dry roasted, powdered and added to the dish for earthy flavor.
Note: Add Fresh whole spices at the start of the cooking and dry roasted spices in the end. Freshly dry roasted whole spices give maximum flavor than store bought ones. Left over ground spices can be stored in an airtight container. Keep the spices in the refrigerator, away from moisture and sunlight, so that it would last for a week without losing the flavor.