Indian Culture

Cook with Authentic Indian Flavors at Home

The secret to preparing authentic Indian recipes like a true Indian chef is to use authentic spices and ingredients. Tandoor Chef has put together our very own glossary of ingredients that will have you whipping up traditional Indian food in no time!

Arvi What is it?

The roots of taro or colocasia leaves.

Asafoetida What is it?

Asafoetida, also known as Hing, has a pungent, sulphurous smell when raw, but it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks when cooked.

Baingan Bharta What is it?

Mashed eggplant curry.

Bhindi What is it?

Bhindi is also known as Lady Finger and Okra. It is usually cooked with lots of onions uncovered so as to avoid making it soggy.

Biryani What is it?

Fried rice with spices.

Channa / Chana What is it?

Channa is chickpeas or garbanzo beans.

Chhole What is it?

Chhole is chickpeas.

Chutney What is it?

Chutney is an condiment made with fruit and/or vegetables, vinegar, herbs, and spices.

Curry What is it?

A traditional Indian spice containing several herbs and spices, primarily turmeric, cumin and coriander seed. Curry can also refer to a finished food such as a soup.

Dal What is it?

Lentils, peas or beans, which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. Dal is a common source of protein for vegetarian diets.

Dosa What is it?

Crepe / pancake made from rice batter and black lentils.

Fenugreek LeavesWhat is it?

Fenugreek leaves, also known as Methi, have a very strong nutty aroma, and a mild bitter taste. Usually added at the end of the cooking to preserve flavor.

Garam MasalaWhat is it?

Garam masala is a sweet and spicy powder used in many indian dishes. Curry powder is a suitable substitute, but for a more accurate flavor profile try mixing your own powder by combining equals parts ground cumin, pepper, cloves, and nutmeg, all ground.

GheeWhat is it?

Making ghee is easy! Boil butter, skim the froth off of the surface. Keep cooking on medium heat until all the froth has risen and been removed. Filter through a cheese cloth and add a pinch of salt.

GingerWhat is it?

Ginger is an herb, but it is often known as a spice and in many countries it is thought to be a remedy for many ailments. Ginger has been said to cure migraines, reduce joint swelling for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and shorten flu and cold symptoms. Ginger is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking and we can see why

Gram FlourWhat is it?

Flour made of ground chickpeas. Gram Flour is gluten-free.

Green ChannaWhat is it?

Small, hard, green chickpeas/garbonzo beans.

GuvarWhat is it?

A legume that must be cooked before it can be eaten. Guvar gum is used as a thickening agent in Indian cuisine.

KarelaWhat is it?

Karela, also known as bittermelon, grows in tropical areas, where it is used as a food as well as a medicine.

Khaman What is it?

Ground chickpea and flour squares.

Kofta What is it?


Korma What is it?

A dish with yogurt, cream and milk.

Kulcha What is it?

Leavened flatbread.

Makhani What is it?

It means "with butter".

Malai What is it?

Clotted cream, often produced from buffalo milk.

Moong Dal ChilkaWhat is it?

Moong dal is one of the most popular lentils native to India. It is known to be the easiest to digest - especially the split lentil - and is often one of the first weaning foods given to babies.

Naan What is it?

Tandoori oven baked flatbread.

PalakWhat is it?

Cooked greens that include spinach, as well as a number of species of spinach-type leafy vegetables.

PaneerWhat is it?

A non-melting curd cheese. The most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines.

PapdiWhat is it?

Crisp fried dough wafers made from white flour and oil.

Paratha What is it?

Unleavened flatbread, layers of cooked dough

Patra What is it?

Crushed chickpeas wrapped in the leaf of Taro plant.

Roti What is it?

Unleavened flatbread.

Samosa What is it?

Fried pastry with a savory filling.

SuranWhat is it?

A starchy tuber native to Southeast Asia.

Tamarind What is it?

Pod-like fruit with a sour-sweet taste.

Tandoori What is it?

A description of food cooked in a Tandoor oven.

Tikka What is it?

A piece of meat, such as a cutlet. The popular dish, chicken tikka is made of chicken cutlets in a marinade. The marinade used in the preparation of chicken tikka is also sometimes called tikka; it is made from a mixture of aromatic spices and yogurt.

Turmeric What is it?

Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurvedic medicine used to treat skin, heart, liver and lungs. Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also helps give mustard its bright yellow color.

TuvarWhat is it?

A tropical woody herb with showy yellow flowers and flat pods. A good protein source for vegetarians.

Urad DalWhat is it?

Urad dal has black skin, while the inside is creamy white. This white lentil is rich in protein and iron content. Urad dal is great for vegan and low fat diets.

Know your ingredients
Tandoor Chef curry powder

Did you know that there are hundreds of different types of curry? In fact, curry powder and the word curry do not actually refer to any specific Indian food. Curry powder, also known as masala powder, is a blend of spices of varying composition developed by the British during the days of the Raj to recreate the taste of Indian cuisine at home.

corriander seeds

Did you know that in India Coriander Seeds are called dhania and are a common seasoning ingredient in many Indian recipes. These flavorful seeds have a lemony citrus taste when crushed. Coriander seeds have many uses from being a key ingredient in garam masala and Indian curries to being used in brewing Belgian wheat beers.

paneer cheese

A key ingredient in many delicious Indian dishes, Paneer Cheese is the cornerstone of Indian vegetarian cuisine. Paneer originated in India and is a source of protein for vegetarian Hindus. Because Paneer Cheese is so high in protein, it can be an excellent substitute for meat in many dishes.


Did you know that peas are botanically a fruit, but are considered a vegetable in cooking? Peas have been used since ancient times and remain a staple in most households and are also an important component to many Indian favorites, including samosas.


Ginger is a herb, but it is often known as a spice and in many countries it is thought to be a remedy for many ailments. Ginger has been said to cure migraines, reduce joint swelling for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and shorten flu and cold symptoms. Ginger is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking and we can see why!


Tomatoes contain large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium and iron. They also contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that research suggests can help people stay active even in old age. Studies conducted by Harvard researchers have suggested that lycopene can even help prevent cancer.


Raita is made using plain yogurt. Sounds boring? Think again. Even plain yogurt contains healthy amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D, and both can play a crucial role in preventing or delaying the onset of Osteoporosis.


Cucumbers are a guilt-free food. They contain few carbohydrates but pack in vitamins that are great for your kidneys. Cucumber's potassium content make it useful for controlling blood pressure and the high mineral content of cucumber promotes nail health


When you think of paprika you probably picture the image above. Of course, paprika is actually made from ground dried bell peppers and chili peppers and their 'heat' or hotness will vary. Though primarily used for flavor, paprika does contain antioxidants and several vitamins.

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