Indian Cuisine: Veges, fruits, spices, preparations -Indian and English names

Quite some time back (about 6 years, to be precise) I contributed recipes and notes to a healthy cooking group over at Just migrating some of the stuff here, mainly, English and Indian ingredient names. The lists below are not exhaustive, by any means.

A rudimentary explanation of certain Indian dishes/basics:

Biryanis: an exquisite oven preparation of rice layered with meats/vegetables, herbs and seasonings

Kormas (also curry): a spicy meat or vegetable preparation, usually with a little thick gravy

Kebabs/tikkas: meat and vegetables marinated and cooked in small pieces on a skewer in a tandoor or on the tava or grill

Dals: preparation made from a variety of grams (whole and shelled), lentils and pulses

Pulao: preparation made from fine Basmati rice, usually has vegetables pieces or (meat/chicken) cooked with it. Usually served accompanied by a Raita.

Tandoor: an oven made out of mud and heated by a slow charcoal fire (you do get the gas and electric versions now, obviously they are not made out of mud, but stainless steel)

Naan: Breads made in the tandoor using maida; common ones are the plain naan, butter naan (with butter applied on top); garlic naan, pudina (mint) naan and many other combinations

Roomali roti: a round shaped bread usually cooked on the reverse side of the tava, made from maida (refined flour) usually had with meats or served as a wrap around kebabs

Tandoori roti: Bread usually made out of aata (whole wheat flour, though these days, it is made from maida as well) cooked in the tandoor

Parantha: bread made out of whole wheat flour or maida, cooked on the tava, with generous helpings of butter/ghee to roast it; can be made plain or with stuffing (potato, Cauliflower, radish, peas, paneer, egg, mutton/chicken)

Tava: girdle, usually made out of iron, these days they come in anodised and non-stick versions, too

Masala: a combination of dry spices or wet ones like ginger, garlic, onion, chillies and/or tomato paste


  1. Saunf (moti) : Aniseed
  2. Bari elaichi: Black cardamoms
  3. Kali mirch: Black Pepper
  4. Laung: Cloves
  5. Shahi jeera: Caraway seeds
  6. Bhuna jeera: Roasted, ground cumin seeds
  7. Rai: mustard seeds
  8. Kalonji: Onion seeds
  9. Jaiphal: Nutmeg
  10. Javitri: Mace
  11. Jeera: Cumin seeds
  12. Dhaniya: Corriander
  13. Haldi: Turmeric
  14. Dalchini: Cinnamon
  15. Kasoori methi: Dry fenugreek
  16. Til: Sesame seeds
  17. Safed mirch: White Pepper
  18. Choti elaichi: Green cardamoms
  19. saunf: Fennel
  20. Sirka: Vinegar
  21. Pudina: Mint
  22. Lasun/lasan: Garlic
  23. Adrak: Ginger
  24. Anardana: pommegranate seeds (dried)
  25. Hing: Asafoetida
  26. Meethi neem ke patte: Curry leaves
  27. Gur: Jaggery
  28. Tej patta: Bay leaves
  29. Khus: Poppy seeds
  30. Amchoor: Dried Mango Powder
  31. Sondh: Dried Ginger powder
  32. Nariyal: Coconut
  33. Imli: Tamarind


  1. Aloo/batata: Potato
  2. Bund Gobi: Cabbage
  3. Gajar: Carrots (the pink/red variety is preferred up north)
  4. Hari saijan ki phalli: drumsticks
  5. Jimikand (suran): Yam
  6. Kadoo: Pumpkin (squash)
  7. Khira(kakdi): Cucumber
  8. Lauki, Dhoodhi: Squash Family
  9. Mooli: Radish (two basic varieties, the long white ones, and the small pink turnip-like ones)
  10. Methi: Fenugreek leaves
  11. Phool gobi: Cauliflower
  12. Pyaaj/Kaanda: Onion
  13. Tamatar: Tomato
  14. Fransi beans: French Beans
  15. Shimla mirch: Capsicum (green bell peppers)
  16. Pahari bund gobi: Purple/red cabbage
  17. Makkai (bhutta) Corn (maize)
  18. Kamal kakdi/bhey: Lotus stem
  19. Baingan: Brinjal/Aubergine
  20. Bhindi: Lady Finger/Okra
  21. Palak: Spinach
  22. Shalgam: Turnip
  23. Sarson:  Mustard Leaves
  24. Hara Pyaaz: Spring Onions
  25. Sem: Runner beans


  1. Kela: Banana
  2. Aam: Mango (at least 50 major varieties)
  3. Amrood/peru: Guava (pink and white)
  4. Tarbooj/kalingar: Water melon (deep pink/red)
  5. Kharbooja: Melon (white)
  6. Phut: Honey melon (orange)
  7. Seb: Apple (at least 10 major varieties, ofcourse many more are hybrids)
  8. Angur: Grapes (green and purple)
  9. Sitaphal/Sharifa: Custard Apple
  10. Annanas: Pineapple
  11. Chikoo: Chikoo
  12. Aadhoo: Peach
  13. Khumani: Apricots
  14. Aamla: Indian Gooseberry
  15. Ber: Indian Berry (2 common variety, red/orange small, big and yellow)
  16. Karaunda: Currant (red sour)
  17. Santara: Orange
  18. Narangi: Mandarin/Chinese Orange
  19. Mosambi: SweetLime
  20. Galgal/Chakotra: Gapefruit
  21. Papita: Papaya
  22. Nimbu: Lemon
  23. Ganna: Sugar Cane
  24. Bel: Indian Passion fruit
  25. Nashpaati: Pear (melt-in-mouth variety)
  26. Naakhe/Naakh: Another variety of pear-green not too soft or creamy
  27. Kaamrang: Star fruit
  28. Kadhal (Ripe): Jackfruit
  29. Shehtood: Indian mulberry (purple, dot like clusters)
  30. Anjir: Figs (in fruit form is greenish-purple in color)
  31. Singara/Singhara: Water Chestnut (purple-green thick skin with about 4 spines/thorns-heart shaped-creamish inside)

Dry Fruit (nuts and company)

  1. Badam: Almonds
  2. Kaju: Cashew nut
  3. Akhrot: Walnut
  4. Kishmish: Raisins
  5. Manakka/Sultanas: Big black raisins
  6. Khumanis: Dried apricot
  7. Anjir: Figs (dried is blackish-purple)
  8. Khajoor: Dates
  9. Moongphalli (in Mah/Guj (those from Baruch in Gujarat are famous): also known as Seeng/SeengDana): Groundnuts/peanut
  10. Pista: Pistachio


  1. Besan:Gram flour (made out of Bengal Gram)
  2. Aata: Wheat flour (whole) used for chapattis, puris
  3. Makkai ka aata: Maize flour (not to be confused with the refined version of corn flour, that is used as a thickening agent for soups and icecreams)
  4. Jowar and Bajra: Classified as millets (notably used in Rajasthan, and traditional Maharastrian cuisine)
  5. Maida: (also Self raising flour) refined flour (used for cakes and the like, for bhaturas, luchis (small puri like-made in bengali home typically seved with sweet bengal gram) samosas, naan (tandoor baked bread), etc
  6. Sooji/rawa: Semolina
  7. Rice Flour: (different variety of rice are used) used for idlis & dosais

For more information on multi-lingual names for edible Indian plants, pls browse across to the Wikipedia:


2 thoughts on “Indian Cuisine: Veges, fruits, spices, preparations -Indian and English names

  1. Enlightening, some of these, and comprehensive..Isn’t there a shorter name for Drumsticks in Hindi? Let me know if there is. Thanks. Will await the promised soup recipes:)

    • I know drumsticks as “saijan”; again, i am this nice punju kid who has spent most of her life around India, but is kinda settled in UP, so…childhood influences rule 🙂
      Soups coming up shortly; also some more recipes, though without pix – apologies for that!

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