Welcome to OneLifeToEat’s Glossary. We have included commonly used food-related terms used in Indian restaurants, Indian grocery stores and this blog.
Feel free to send us suggestions here on any words you would like to be added.
Aloo – Hindi for potato
Amba – ‘Mango’ in the Gujarati language
Amchur powder – Powdered dry mango. A tart flavored spice.
Bateta – ‘Potato’ in the Gujarati language
Basmati Rice – A strain of rice that is known for its long grain and fragrance. Eaten mainly in India & Pakistan
Chappati – a.k.a. Roti, is an Indian flatbread
Chaat Masala – a sour and spicy blend of spices usually sprinkled on fresh fruit and beer in some parts of India
Curry Leaves – One of many leaves and herbs used in Indian cooking to add flavor & aroma. Also knows for its multiple medicinal benefits.
Chatpata – An adjective in Hindi used to describe any tangy and spicy food
Chutney – A paste-y blend of fresh herbs, vegetables, spices and nuts to make an Indian condiment. Eaten with meals, as a dipping sauce for appetizers and chutneys are even spread on bread to make a quick sandwich
Dal – Generic name for all lentils in India. Includes the yellow toor dal, brown masoor dal, pink polished massor dal, red kidney beans, the channa dal, black urad dal, polished white urad dal and many more
Dhania-Zeera powder – A blend of ground Cumin & Coriander seeds. Used in the preparation of most north-indian dishes. If you do not find the blended spice in your local grocery store, use 1:1 ratio of Coriander & Cumin powder
Dahi – Hindi for Yogurt
Dhania – Hindi word used for Coriander seeds as well as fresh coriander or cilantro
Ginger-garlic paste – A blend of Ginger & Garlic used in most Indian curries. Mainly used to aid digestion
Garam Masala – A blend of several whole spices such as Cardamom, Clove, Nutmeg etc. Known to add a distinct flavor and aroma to Indian dishes.
Gujarati – Language spoken in the Western state of India, Gujarat
Gobi – Hindi for Cauliflower
Ghee – Clarified Butter. Commonly used in North-Indian food and over freshly cooked Roti’s and Naan’s
Haldi – Hindi for Turmeric. Adds yellow color to Indian food. Turmeric is known for its medicinal properties. Also used in Herbal face masks for its skin-clarifying properties
Jain Pizza – India’s own version of the American Pizza. Tomato ketchup is spread on ‘Pizza bread’, topped with sliced green peppers, onion and tomatoes. The to-die-for-dish sold at Mumbai restaurants, is then complete with a generous topping of grated Amul cheese, and then baked.
Mumbai – India’s Financial, Advertising & modern Music capital. Also home to Bollywood.
Mithai – ‘Dessert’ in Hindi
Maharashtrian – Name for people who reside in the Western state of India called Maharashtra
Masala – Generic Hindi word for any spice
Naan – Oven-baked flatbread made usually of refined wheat-flour
Paneer – Indian cottage cheese. High in calcium. For Paneer recipes, see here
Pulao – a.k.a. Pilaf, a Pulao is a rice dish. Read more here
Paratha – a layered, Indian flatbread. To learn how to make a Paratha see here.
Roti – a.k.a. Chappati is an Indian flatbread
Raita – a popular condiment made with yogurt, chopped cucumber, tomatoes & onions, and lightly salted and spiced with cumin powder
Zeera – Hindi for Cumin seeds. Cumin seeds are an excellent home remedy for indigestion
Zeera-Rice – A Rice preparation that is flavored with cumin seeds, bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, cloves and ghee. A common accompaniment in North & West Indian meals