The cuisine of India is characterised by its sophisticated and subtle use of many spices and vegetables grown across India. Vegetarianism can be found very commonly across its society. The diverse climate, ranging from tropical to alpine, has also aided in considerably increasing the types of ingredients available for cooking.


North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the proportionally high use of dairy products; milk, paneer, ghee.

East Indian cuisine is famous for its desserts, especially sweets such as rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh.

South Indian cuisine is distinguished by a greater emphasis on rice as the staple grain, the ubiquity of sambar and rasam, a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconut.

Western India has three major food groups: Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Goan which include foods like groundnuts, jowar and bajra.

Having so many different food types being eaten by people speaking different languages, creating a common ground is always a difficult task. English can be commonly understood across India. Converting the Indian name to English name whether its a food type or process of cooking is a tedious task. I have made an attempt at this. Some Indian names may be different from what I know them as.

English Names for Indian Foods

Process of Cooking

English Names for Indian Foods

Most of the times I know the Hindi/Indian name of a food item and being here (in US) if I need to buy this item, I need to know the English name for it. Till now the following list was pasted in my recipe book.

English Names for Indian Food and their Categories
Indian Name English Name Category
Adrak Ginger Spices
Ajwain Carom Seeds / Thyme Spices
Akhrot Walnuts Dry Fruit
Aloo Potato Vegetable
Amchoor Dried Mango Powder Spices
Amla Emblica / Indian Gooseberry Fruit
Anaar Dana Pomegranate Seeds (Dried) Seeds
Angoor Grapes Fruit
Atta Wheat Flour Flour
Badam Almond Dry Fruit
Baingan EggPlant (Brinjal) Vegetable
Badi Ellaichi Black Cardomom Spices
Besan Gram Flour Flour
Bhuna Chana Roasted Gram Pulses
Bhutta Corn Cobs Vegetable
Chana Chick Peas Pulses
Chana Dal Bengal Gram Dal Pulses
Chikoo Sapota Fruit
Chhuara Dates (Dried) Dry Fruit
Daal - Generic Pulses Pulses
Dahi Yoghurt Dairy
Dalchini Cinnamon Spices
Degi Mirch Kashmir / Hungarian Paprika Spices
Dhania Patta/leaves Cilantro / Coriander Leaves Vegetable
Dhania Powder Cilantro / Coriander Seeds grinded Spices
Elaichi (Chhoti) Green Cardamom Spices
Elaichi (Moti) Brown Cardamom Spices
Ghee Clarified Butter Dairy
Gulab Jal Rose Water General
Gur Jaggery General
Hari Mirch Small Green Chilly Vegetable
Hing Asafoetida Spices
Imli Tamarind General
Jaiphal Nutmeg Seeds
Javitri Mace Spices
Jeera Cumin Seeds Seeds
Kaju Cashew Nut Dry Fruit
Kala Jeera / Black Cumin Seeds Caraway Seeds Seeds
Kala Namak Rock Salt Masala
Kali Mirch Black Pepper Spices
Kalonji Black Onion Seeds Seeds
Kamarkas Sage General
Kari Patta Curry Leaves Herb
Kasuri Methi Fenugreek Leaves Herb
Kesar Saffron General
Khajur Dates Dry Fruit
Kheera Cucumber Vegetable
Khoya, Mawa Dried Whole Milk/Thickened Milk Dairy
Khus-khus Poppy seeds Seeds
Kishmish Currants / Golden Raisins Dry Fruit
Lahsun Garlic Spices
Lal Mirch Powder Red Chilli Powder Spices
Laung Clove Spices
Maida All Purpose Flour Flour
Malai Cream Dairy
Masur Dal Red Lentils Pulses
Matar Green Peas Vegetable
Mattha (Chhaach) Butter Milk Dairy
Methi Fenugreek Seeds Seeds
Mirch Chilly Vegetable
Moong Dal Green Gram Pulses
Moong Fali Groundnut Dry Fruit
Namak White Salt General
Narial Coconut Dry Fruit
Nimboo Lemon Fruit
Nimboo ka Sat Citric Acid Acid
Palak Spinach Vegetable
Paneer Cottage Cheese Dairy
Patta Gobi Cabbage Vegetable
Paav / Pav / Pao Bun Cereal
Phitkari Alum General
Phool Gobi Cauliflower Vegetable
Pista Pistachio Dry Fruit
Poha, Chiwda Flaked, Beaten rice Cereal
Pudina Leaves Mint Leaves Vegetables
Rai Black Mustard Seeds (Small) Spices
Rajma Red Kidney Beans Pulses
Rava / Suji Semolina / Cream of Wheat General
Sabudana Sago General
Sabut Moong Whole Green Gram Pulses
Sarson Mustard Seeds (Moti) Spices
Saunf Fennel Seeds Seeds
ShahJeera Black /Royal Cumin Seeds Seeds
Shimla Mirch Capsicum Vegetable
Sirka Vinegar Condiment
Tadka Seasoning Cooking Process
Tej Patta Bay Leaf Herb
Til Sesame Seeds Seeds
Til ka tel Gingelly Oil General
Tulsi Basil Herb
Tuvar Dal Yellow Lentil Pulses
Urad Dal Black Gram / Horse Bean Pulses

Process of Cooking

Beat - To stir rapidly in a circular motion, either by hand or with an electric mixer, to introduce air into the mixture to achieve a lighter, fluffy texture.

Blanch - Blanching is the heat treatment of foodstuffs by boiling or steaming in order to kill natural enzymes, soften the tissue and remove raw flavouring.

Brush - Using a tool, such as a pastry brush, to apply liquid (marinade or oil) to the surface of food.

Crumble - To break food into smaller pieces by hand.

Dice - To cut food into small cubes.

Garnish - To add decorative touches to dishes being served.

Grate - To make firm foods, (e.g., hard cheese, vegetables) into small particles by rubbing it against a serrated tool, such as a grater.

Mash - To smash or crush food, such as potatoes, into a smooth mixture.

Mince - To cut food into small, fine pieces.

Puree - To blend or process food into a smooth, thick, paste-like consistency.

Mince - To cut food into small, fine pieces.

Saute - To cook quickly in a very hot pan using a small amount of fat or oil. This technique requires that food to be turned over frequently to allow it to cook evenly.

Simmer - To cook food in liquid, keeping it just below boiling.

Steam - A cooking process that softens food placed in a covered pan or container on a rack or basket.

Strain - To pass through a filter, such as a strainer, to separate solids from liquids.

Toast - To lightly brown the surface of food with dry heat.

Toss - To combine ingredients quickly yet gently using two utensils and a lifting motion.

Whisk - To beat ingredients together using a wire tool called a whisk.

Toast - To lightly brown the surface of food with dry heat.

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