Glossary of cooking terms and ingredients
What is namkeen?
What is namkeen?
What is meetha?
What is meetha?
What is khatta?
What is khatta?
What is Saag?
What is Saag? Find out here...
What is Mughlai?
What is Mughlai? Find out here...
What is Makhni?
What is Makhni? Find out here...
What is Korma?
What is Korma? Find out here...
What is Jalfreizi?
What is Jalfreizi? Find out here...
What is Dopiaza?
What is Dopiaza? Find out here...
What is Kari Patta? Findout here...
What is Varq? Find out here...
What is Boondi? Find out here...
What is Chaawal? Find out here...
Hing - Heeng
What is Hing? Find out here...
Till - Til - Sesame Seeds
Till or Sesame seeds are used mostly in seed form in Indian cooking. They are usually first roasted gently or added to hot oil.
Pulao - Pilaf
What is Pulao? Find out here..
What is a Degchi?
Tava - Tawa
What is a Tava?
Gud - Jaggery
Gud or Jaggery is the Indian name for unrefined sugarcane sugar. It is widely used in both savory and sweet dishes all over India.
The definition of Subji
Meat. This could be either lamb or beef.
Tempering. A process used for flavoring certain dishes.
A dessert with the consistency of a very thick pudding.
A wok-like Indian cooking utensil.
A hot-sour spice mix used to garnish Indian snacks and salads.
Mint leaves. Highly fragrant, mint is used in vegetable dishes, as a garnish and in chutneys.
Coriander leaves. This fragrant herb is used both in cooking and as an attractive garnish.
Garlic. A standard ingredient in most curries, it is usually used in paste form and with ginger.
Ginger. It is a vital ingredient in most Indian dishes. Ginger is usually used in paste form in curries and as juliennes to garnish.
Raw mango powder. This has a sour taste and is often used to flavour vegetable dishes.
Tamarind. This fruit is used to add sourness to a dish, it can be used in place of or replaced by lime juice.
Thymol. This is used largely for its digestive properties and can be bought in seed form.
Asafetida. This strong smelling spice is best stored in a tightly closed container as it can easily impart its smell to other spices.
Aniseed/Fennel seeds. Used to flavour pickles, chutneys and curries. Aniseed is a very efficient digestive and mouth freshener and is often eaten chewed after meals.
Fenugreek seeds. These yellow seeds are typically used whole or as a paste.
Poppy seeds. These are ground into a paste and used a lot in East Indian cooking.
Bay leaves. They are used in curries and also to neutralize strong odors in cooking.
Peppercorns. Most often used whole. If required in its powdered form, pepper tastes best when freshly ground.
Cloves. Like cinnamon, this spice is also typically used whole in Indian cooking.
Cinnamon. Typically used whole in Indian cooking, it can be bought as sticks in most stores.
Cardamom. Available in three types – black, green and white. The green and white can be used in both sweet and savory dishes while the black is only used in savory dishes.
The magic spice, this is what adds flavour and fragrance to Indian dishes. It is a combination of various whole spices. You can buy it readymade in the stores or make your own.
Turmeric. Mainly used for yellow colour in Indian food. It is most commonly available as a fine powder. Turmeric has amazing antiseptic qualities.
Fresh green chillies. These can be used as an alternative to dry red chillies or red chilli powder. They are rich in vitamins A and C.
Dry red chillies. These add the fire to a dish! Be careful how many you use, testing and tasting as you go. To cut some of the heat, you can remove the seeds from the chillies. Dry red chillies are also ground for use in a coarse or fine powder form.
Cumin seeds. These come in two kinds, white and black. The black variety is called Shahjeera. Both are used either whole or in powder form. Stock both seeds and powder of each kind.
Coriander seeds. A standard ingredient in most Indian dishes, coriander seeds are used whole or in coarse or fine powder form. When stocking your pantry get both the seeds and the powder.
Lentils. Masoor (split red lentils) – These are actually orange-colored grains. The whole variety with the skin still on is pale brown in colour. Moong (split yellow lentil) Urad (black gram) - Available with or without its black outer skin. Inside the black skin is a cream-colored lentil. Chana (large split yellow lentil) - Looks like a larger version of Moong.
Whole wheat flour. Used to make chapatis, parathas and other Indian breads.
A method of slow-cooking food in its own steam and juices.
A large deep vessel with a rim and its own cover. Degchis are used for cooking large amounts of food and also for making dishes like biryani.
This word is used to describe dishes that have a hot-and-sour flavour.
Indian tea is made in a variety of styles - black, brewed with milk and sugar, boiled long and slowly, spiced, etc.
A world-renowned Indian dish, Biryani takes time and practice to make but is worth every bit of the effort.
Bhurji or Bhujia
Translated literally, this means scrambled.
A variety of long-grained Indian rice that gives off a lovely fragrance when cooked. Rice dishes like pilafs and biryanis, cooked on special occasions, are moslty made with Basmati Rice.
Bhoono or Bhunao
To stir-fry or sauté. Most Indian dishes require spices to be sautéd with onions, tomatoes and a ginger-garlic paste. This cooks the spices and prevents them from having a 'raw' taste.
A vegetable dish where the main ingredients are mashed and mixed with spices. Baingan Bhartaa is probably the best known bhartaa dish.
A term related to Indian sweets.
A style of masala (spice mix) from Goa, in which whole spices like cumin and dry red chillies and a little sugar are soaked in vinegar and ground into a thick paste.
The Hindi term for pickle. Indian pickles are made from all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables but mango, lime and chilly are especially popular.
What is Maida? Find out here...
What is Malai? Find out here...
What is Akhrot? Read on to find out...