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Glossary of Indian Foods and Spices: English to Hindi

Updated on December 15, 2011

Moving from America to India to set up a new life with my husband, one of my first tasks was to learn Indian cooking. I have to honestly say, the internet was and is my most loyal resource. Between studying recipes and how-to videos and my husband's patient guidance I have managed to learn quite a few dishes and adapted them to my own. It seems a journey that will never reach an end, but one I'm excited to embrace and I continue to learn new foods and preparations.

I've found my greatest barrier in learning is that of language. I'm horribly slow picking up Hindi and have found myself scouring the web for Hindi to English translations of foods so I can figure out what I'm doing. There are sources out there and some very good ones, but I didn't find them as all-inclusive as I was wanting. So, that being said, I set out to pull together a little more comprehensive list. I'm sure there are things I've missed, and as I discover them, they'll be added to this glossary.


Indian spices
Indian spices | Source
Indian fruit and vegetable market.
Indian fruit and vegetable market. | Source
Indian herbs and spices.
Indian herbs and spices. | Source
Common Indian legumes.
Common Indian legumes. | Source
Indian fruits.
Indian fruits.
Indian vegetables.
Indian vegetables.
Indian grains.
Indian grains.

Spices and Herbs; Nuts, Legumes and Grains; Vegetables; Fruits; Dairy; Meats; and Popular Terms


Spices and Herbs:

English Name...Hindi Name

All spice... Kebab cheeni

Alum.... Phitkari

Aniseed... Suwa or shopa

Asafoedita... Hing

Basil... Basil/bazil

Basil, holy... Tulsi

Bay leaf... Tej patta

Black pepper... Kali mirchi

Black salt... Kala namak

Capers... Kachra

Caraway seed... Shahi jeera

Cardamom, black... Badi elaichi/kali elaichi

Cardamom, green... Choti elaichi

Carom/thyme Seed... Ajwain

Celery seed... Ajmud

Cinnamon... Dalchini

Cinnamon buds... Naaga keshar

Citric acid... Saji na phool

Clove... Laung

Coriander powder... Dhania powder/pisa dhania

Coriander seed... Dhania

Cloves... Lavang

Cumin, black... Kali zeera

Cumin seed... Jeera

Curry tree/Sweet neem... Kadipatta

Dill... Soa sag

Fennel seed... Saunf

Fenugreek leaf... Kasoori methi

Garam masala... Garam masala

Ginger... Adrak

Ginger, dried... Sonth

Licorice powder... Jethmadh

Mace... Javitri

Mango extract... Camiki

Mango powder... Aamchur

Mint... Pudina

Molasses/unref sugar... Jaggery/gur

Mustard oil... Sarson tel

Mustard seed... Sarson

Mustard seed, brown... Rai

Nutmeg... Jaiphal

Peppercorns... Kali mirch

Pomegranate seed... Anardana

Poppy seeds... Khus khus

Saffron... Kesar, Zaafraan

Saffron pulp... Kesar miri miri

Salt... Namak

Sesame seed... Til

Star anise... Chakra phool

Tamarind... Imli

Tea... Chai

Tumeric... Haldi

Vinegar... Sirka

White pepper... Safed mirchi


Nuts/Legumes/Grains:

English Name... Hindi Name

Almond... Badam

Black eyes peas... Chawli /lobhia

Cashew... Kaju

Chickpeas, brown... Chana

Chickpeas, green... Hara chana

Chickpeas, white... Khabuli chana

Gram flour (chickpea)... Besan

Maize/corn flour... Makai ka atta

Peanuts... Moongphali

Pistachios... Pista

Puffed rice... Kurmura

Red kidney beans... Rajma

Red lentils... Masoor

Refined flour... Maida

Rice... Chawal

Semolina... Rava/suji

Split Bengal gram... Chana dal

Split black gram... Urad dal/kaali dal

Split red/yellow gram... Toovar dal/arhar dal

Split red lentil... Masoor dal

Walnut... Akroot

Vermicelli... Seviyan

Wheat... Gehun

Wheat flour... Gehun ka atta


Vegetables:

English Name... Hindi Name

Asparagus... Musli/shatwar/sootmooli/halyan

Avocado... Makhanphal

Bottle gourd... Doodhi

Cabbage... Patta gobi

Carrot... Gajar

Cauliflower... Phool gobi

Celery... Doroo

Chili, green hot... Hari mirch

Chili, red... Lal mirchi

Corn on cob... Bhutta

Corn, kernel... Makai

Corriander, fresh... Dhania

Cucumber... Kheera

Dillweed... Suvabhaji

Egg plant... Brinjal/biangan

French beans... Flas beans

Gardencress... Halim

Garlic... Lahsun

Indian sorrel... Khatti bhaji

Lettuce... Kasmisaag

Lotus stem... Kamal kakdior/bhien

Mustard greens... Sarson

Mushrooms... Goochi

Okra... Bhindi

Olives... Zeetoon/ziatoon

Onion... Pyaaz

Peas... Matar

Pepper, capsicum/bell... Shimla mirch

Pepper, yellow... Peeli mirchi

Potato... Aloo

Pumpkin... Kadhu

Radish... Mooli

Salad leaves/endives... Gulsuchal

Spinach... Palak

Sweet potato... Shakarkand

Tapioca... Simla aloo

Tomato... tamatar

Water chestnuts... Shingara


Fruits:

English Name... Hindi Name

Apple... Sabe

Appricot, dried... Khumani

Banana... Kela

Cantelope... Kharbooja

Coconut... Naryal

Currants... Kishmish

Dates... Khajur

Figs... Amjeer

Grapes... Angoor

Guavas... Amrood

Jackfruit... Kathal

Lemon/Lime... Neembu/nimbu

Litchie... Lichee

Mango... Aam

Mulberry... Shehtooth

Muskmelon... Kharbooja

Orange... Santra

Papaya... Papeeta

Pear... Nashpati

Pineapple... Ananas

Plum... Aloobukara

Pomegranate... Anar

Raisin... Kishmish

Sweet lime... Mosambi

Watermelon... Tarbooj, kalingad


Dairy

English Name... Hindi Name

Butter milk... Mattha/chhaach

Clarified butter... Ghee

Cottage cheese... Paneer

Cream... Malai

Curd... Dahi

Dried whole milk... Khoya/mawa


Meats:

English Name... Hindi Name

Chicken... Murgh

Fish... Macchli

Ground meat... Keema

Meat (any)... Gosht

Mutton... Yakni

Prawn/shrimp... Jinga


Popular Dishes:

Achar... Pickles (any type)

Biryani... Spicy rice casserole

Dal... A dish prepared with lentils in a spicy gravy

Korma... Meat or vegetables in a thick, creamy sauce

Lassi... A creamy yogurt drink

Masala... Spice blend

Naan... Flat bread cooked in a tandoor

Pakora... Fritter dipped in a spicy batter, usually made with besan

Pani... Water

Paratha... Flat bread fried on a griddle basted with oil or ghee

Poori... Deep-fried bread

Pulao... Rice pilaf

Roti... Thin bread cooked on a griddle

Saag... Any greens

Samosa... Triangular flaky pastry stuffed with potatoes or meats

Tandoor... Clay oven that uses high temperatures

Tandoori... Any dish cooked in a tandoor

Vegetables... Sabji

Vindaloo... Very spicy curry dish, native to Goa


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    • Moon Lightened profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Lightened 

      6 years ago from Delhi, India

      I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was thinking about something just the other day. That's the amount of trash I put out daily as compared to what I was throwing away daily when I lived in the States. It's exponentially less here. The reason is the availability and lower cost of fresh whole foods. Very little of what we eat here is preprocessed packaged food. Staples like pulses, flour, sugar, etc. is purchased in bulk and kept in airtight containers. Very little goes to waste. I'm eating much healthier, that's for sure!

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 

      6 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      Thanks for the language lesson in spices. i love indian cooking and being british i think this has been the best and most important import to the uk ever. Those markets look like a food lovers dream and although 3rd world i think many in poorer countrys have better quality and fresher food than the 1st world.

      thanks for the hub

    • Moon Lightened profile imageAUTHOR

      Moon Lightened 

      6 years ago from Delhi, India

      Indian cooking is really very healthy. There is a misnomer that all Indian food is "too spicy" but the actual heat of the food is determined by personal palette. There is just a lovely play of flavors. It's not hard to cook. I taught myself. Thank you for reading!

    • profile image

      nimo 

      6 years ago

      i love this food it's good because i water hindi movies and i see the are eat food is good

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