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Weights & Measures | English - Hindi Index of common Ingredients - Spices & Nuts | Fruits | Vegetables | Lentils & Cereals | Weights & Measures | Indian Ingredients Glossary


Atta Flour : (Also know as a chapatti flour) Whole wheat flour widely used for making unleavened flat breads.


Banana Leaves : Is widely used for wrapping ingredients (particularly fish) before cooking. They should be soaked briefly in hot water to make them pliable. If banana  leaves are unavailable use alumininium foil.


Basmati Rice : The finest Indian long-grained rise grown in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is known as the prince of the rice because of its fine flavor and aroma. It should be rinsed and soaked for 10 minutes before using.


Besan : Also known as gram flour, this is made from chickpeas. It is used to flavor and thicken curries and for making Pakoras and bhajias, pancakes and teamed patties.


Biriyani : A rice and vegetable, meat or seafood oven - cooked dish.


Biriyani Masala : This is a special sweet spice mix for biriyani dishes. Grind together the cardamom seeds from 8 pods, 25 g (1 oz) cinnamon stick, 6 cloves and 1 tsp fennel seeds.


Chana Dal : A very versatile dried split yellow lentil with a slightly sweet taste, nutty flavor. It is used in variety of vegetable dishes. It can be cooked until soft for the dish called simply dal, or as in southern India, it can be used as a spice.


Chapati : The bread  usually made on a circular cast iron griddle known as a tawa, which is slightly concave to give its distinctive shape. It is cooked without fat, over very high heat.


Chawal : Rice


Chick Peas : Also called gram or, in America, garbanzo beans. As chickpeas often demand hours of cooking before they become tender.


Coconut : (Nariel) is essential to many dishes. It is obtained from the white flesh of the nut and is both rich and smooth-testing. widely used in southern Indian cuisine, is used both savory and sweet dishes.  Buy a fresh coconut to extract the milk or use desiccated coconut to thicken sauces or garnish finished dishes.


Coconut Oil :100% Organic Coconut Oil, Expeller Pressed, Ideal for Cooking, 16 oz. From Jarrow


Cocum : Grows on trees along the Western coast of India. Has a deep purple flesh surrounding a large seed. It imparts a pale -purplish color to food as well as a sour taste. It is used by Sindhis in their gram flour curry, and by Hindu Goans in their fish curries. It is also made into sherbets (refreshing drink concentrates made from fruits) on the West coast of India. Cocum has anti-allergic action, and cocum infusion water drink for three days first thing in the mornings is said to cure urticaria or hives.


Colam Rice : Short-grain polished rice widely used in Western India. Most common varieties of shor and long-grain polished rice may be used for Dosas and Uttapams.


Corn Meal : Flour made from pure maize (corn) which has been ground fine.


Dals (Pulses) : Dried split peas, usually bought skinned. There about sixty  varieties of pulses available in India. THese are dreid seeds of plants such as beans and peas and those most popularly sued include chick peas (kabuli channa), split black chick peas (bengal gram or channa), black gram (urid daal), red lentils (arhar) and yellow lentils (moong). Pulses should be rinsed in several changes of water. Pre-soaking usually cuts their cooking time by half and salt tends to harden pulses it should not be added until the end of the cooking. As they take a long time to cook, a pressure cooker is a great aid to cooking most pulses. The more unusual pulses are sold in health food or Asian food stores.


Dosa or Dosha : Is a flat bread made with flours, rice, wheat or legumes, cooked like a pancake. It may be filled with a spicy mixture.


Food Colorings : Turmeric an saffron will color food yellow, but you can also buy coloring that has no taste.


Garam Masala : A blend of ground spices used in many savory dishes.


Ghee : Clarified butter made by melting butter and separating the fat from the solids. It can be made at home. From the best flavor ghee is made from unsalted butter. Cheaper blends of butter are most suitable to make ghee. Once prepared it will keep for up to three or four months in a cool place.

To make 175 g/6 oz ghee, melt 225 g/8 ox butter in a saucepan. lowly simmer the melted butter until it becomes clear and a whitish residue settles at the bottom. Remove from the heat, spoon off any foam, and allow to cool. Drain the clear oil from the top into a container, straining if preferred. Discard or add the residue to curries for flavoring.

The advantage of using it is that it can be heated to a very high temperature without burning (so is useful for browning onions in order to give a sauce a good rich color, and for sizzling spices before the main ingredients are added to the pan. It doesn't need to be refrigerated.


Gram Flour : Made from chickpeas and also known as besan.


Halva : A sweet dish


Idli : Is a bread from the South, almost like a cake, round and thick, made with fermented rice from the Kerala and legume flour (urad), shaped and then steamed (the legumes have a leavening effect).


Jaggery : Raw sugar, eaten as it is and used to flavor various dishes, even vegetable curries.


Kalonji : Also known as nigella - small black tear-shaped onions seeds, used to add piquancy to vegetable curries and Indian breads.


Kewra Water : Also sold in the stronger form of essence, kewra water is used for flavoring and has a delicate fragrance.


Khoa :Full fat milk powder


Lassi : A yogurt drink


Masala : Spices


Masoor Dal : Skinned split red lentils (they actually orange in color)


Mint : Widely used herb often paired with lamb. Indian mint has a stronger flavor and more pungent aroma than Western varieties.


Moong Dal : Skinned split mung beans.


Murghi :Chicken


Mustard Oil : A yellow oil made from mustard seeds that is pungent when raw and sweet when heated. Much used in Kashmir and Bengal.


Naan : A kind of bread popular in North India. It is made with leavened dough (chopped onion or cilantro can also be added to it), and is often made from buttermilk or yogurt. The dough is stretched by tossing the piece of dough quickly from one palm to the other to form a thin oval flatbread, slightly thicker around the edges than in the center. Traditionally is baked on the walls of a tandoor oven, brushed with a thin coating of oil or ghee and served hot.  It can also be stuffed with cheese, vegetable curry or meat. In this case, the filling is placed on part of the dough which is then folded over on itself before being rolled flat with a rolling pin.


Panch Phoran : Mix of five spices - cumin seeds, onion seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and anise.


Papaya : A fruit with good digestive properties


Paratha : A bread; richer version of chapati, crispy and cooked in ghee on a griddle. They are very thin and are stacked up like crêpes.


Poori : Is a bread fried in hot oil, completed submerged so that it puffs up. Pooris are common to the

Bengal and Gujrat regions of India.


Poppodums and Pappads : The pre-made and precooked flat breads (made from legume flour (urad) and rice flour) that need only be immersed in hot oil to puff up instantly; they are turned with a skimmer so that they stiffen up slightly and then are drained and served while still crisp. Some are plain, others are spiced with mixtures of spices. They can also be prepared under the broiler, thus eliminating the chore of frying.


Raita : A cooling side dish made with yogurt


Rattam-Jog : This is the dried bark of a reed like plant grown in India, used mainly to color food. When cooked with meat or vegetables a small piece imparts a deep red color to the dish.


Rose Water : Available from chemists this is used like kewra water for flavoring many Indian dishes. The essence form is more expensive.


Roti : The name is related to the French word "rôtie," meaning toasted bread. It is made from whole wheat (aata), millet (bajra) or sorghum (jowar)


Rumali : Toasted bread, or handkerchief bread, which is also found in other eastern countries, is made up of numerous layers of dough like a folded handkerchief.


Sambar Powder : A southern Indian spice mix for vegetable curries.


Silver Leaf (Varq) : Editable silver leaf is used as a garnish over sweets. Silver foil is very thin. it is very fragile and often breaks up during use. It has no aroma or taste.


Tamarind : The most popular souring agent in Southern India. The pods are collected, de-seeded and dried. Before cooking the acid flesh is soaked in water, and the juice is squeezed out. It is this tamarind water that is used in the curry. In some Goan recipes, the tamarind flesh is ground with spices. Nowadays tamarind concentrate can be bought in any grocer's shop.


Tava : A flat cast iron pan used for making bread.


Thali : A large tray, often of wrought metal.


Toor Dal : A glassy dark yellow split pea, similar to chana dal.


Toran : Style of cooking where the dish remains dry.


Uppama : A flat bread whose dough is made from semolina instead of flour. It can be quite rich and may include onions, chilies, ginger, mustard seed, nuts, various vegetables etc.


Urid Dal :Polished split black lentils, often used as a spice in southern India. It takes quite a long time to cook.


Varak : Silver leaf used as a decoration for both sweet and savory dishes.

Vindaloo : A highly spiced and hot curry, traditionally from Goa.


Wheat Flour : (Gehun ka Atta) - flour made from whole wheat (usually a variety low in gluten), very finely ground for making bread. A fairly close substitute is whole wheat pastry flour. Regular whole wheat flour gives heavier results and is stiffer and more difficult to work with than chapati flour. If regular whole wheat flour must be used, sift is several times through a very fine sieve (to get a fine flour and to remove bran) and substitute refine flour for half the whole wheat flour in a recipe.