Food Glossary

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  Chinese     122 terms 
  Indian     116 terms 
Aachar
   Spicy and strong "Indian pickles" made from vegetables, mango, lime, and green chilies.
Amchoor
   Pulverized, sun-dried, unripe, wild green mango. This fine pale beige powder has a bitter, tangy, and refreshing taste. Amchoor has a slightly tropical aroma, and is similar to tamarind in flavor.
Appam
   A thin, round, flat wafer made from rice, potatoes, and/or various lentil flours.
Atta
   Whole-wheat flour
Avial
   Vegetable curry from southern India.
Baghar
   A melange of spices, herbs, oil, and vegetables that flavors many Indian dishes.
Barfi
   A sweet fudge dessert flavored with saffron, vanilla essence, and cocoa. This popular after dinner treat is served in bite-sized pieces.
Basmati Rice
   Fragrant, nutty, authentic, Indian long-grained white rice. A wide variety of dishes are served with basmati rice, including pulaos, pilafs, biryanis, meats, and vegetables.
Betel Leaf
   A thick, smooth, dark green leaf. In the Indian cuisine, this leaf is wrapped around fragrant spices, fennel seeds, slaked lime paste, tobacco leaves, colored shreds of coconut, and fine shreds of areca nut. Paan, which acts as a breath-freshener, digestive, antacid, and carminative, is eaten after a meal. It is garnished with Varak.
Bhaaji
   A general Indian term to describe vegetables.
Bhakri
   An unleavened flatbread made from Sorghum flour and water. The dough is rolled out and baked on a tawa.
Bharta
   A spicy, pulpy, mashed, vegetable dish. Most commonly served with Baingan (eggplant).
Bhatura
   Deep-fried leavened bread made from semolina and yogurt. After the bread ferments, it is mixed with maidi to form dough.
Bhel Puri
   A mixture of puffed rice, lentils, finely chopped onions, and chopped coriander topped with both sweet and spicy onion chili chutneys.
Bhuna
   To saute or stir fry in onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and oil.
Bhunao
   To saute or stir fry in onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and oil.
Biryani
   This elaborate Indian dish, made from spiced saffron, is cooked with lamb, chicken, or vegetables.
Bondas
   A round deep-fried savory snack made from lentils and potatoes. Served with chutneys.
Boti Kabab
   Marinated boneless cubes of meat cooked in a tandoor.
Chaat
   Salty snacks served with an array of sweet and spicy chutneys.
Chai
   Indian tea
Chappati
   Unleavened Indian flatbread made from wheat flour, water, oil, and salt. This bread is traditionally cooked on a tawa, and then brushed with ghee.
Chawal
   Rice
Chounk
   A melange of spices, herbs, oil, and vegetables that flavors many Indian dishes.
Chutney
   Fresh relishes made with fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Cilantro
   Fresh, green Coriander
Coriander
   A dried, warm, sweet, light-brown, aromatic herb. This zesty combination of sage and citrus is considered one of the most memorable and versatile of all the spices. Coriander, typically blended with cumin, curry powders, chili powders, garam masala, berbere, fruit juices, and lemon, flavors marinades and enhances North American, Mediterranean, North African, Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian cuisines.
Curry
   A spicy powder made by grinding and blending various herbs and spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, fenugreek, red peppers, and nutmeg.
Daal
   A puree of lentils, peas, and/or beans. Daal complements the main dish and serves as an essential protein supplement to meatless diets.
Dahi
   Yogurt
Dal
   A dish of lentils flavored to add contrast to the main dish and an essential protein supplement to meatless diets.
Dalchini
   Cinnamon
Dhania
   Coriander
Dhokra
   Steamed batter bread
Do Pyaza
   A mildly flavored creamy dish cooked with onions and meat.
Dosai
   Southern Indian pancakes that have been cooked and oiled on a tawa. Although there are many variations, the basic batter is made from rice and daal, which have been soaked and wet-ground into a creamy batter. Various sweet or savory fillings are rolled into this popular delicacy.
Dum
   "to steam or mature"; a method of steaming foods, in a tightly covered or sealed pot, to retain the flavor and aroma.
Ekuri
   An Indian variation of scrambled eggs, with added onions and hot spices. Delicious with a hot Paratha.
Feni
   A drink made from cashews or coconuts.
Foogat
   A lightly cooked vegetable dish.
Garam Masala
   Literally, "warm spices"; a blend of spices used to flavor dishes.
Ghee
   Clarified, nut-flavored butter. Made by slowly melting butter, skimming the foam, and saving the remaining golden liquid. Indian cooks simmer the butter until all the moisture evaporates. Ghee is used for cooking vegetables and meats.
Gulab Jamun
   Deep-fried balls of dough made from flour, milk curds, and aromatic sugary syrups.
Halva
   A congealed, translucent, small, squared-shaped, bright Indian sweet made from finely grated vegetables, fruits, syrups, milk, and sugar. This sweet, flavored with cardamom, has a thick pudding consistency. The most popular types are carrot, pistachio, and mango.
Idli
   Light, spongy, steamed dumplings made from a fermented batter of rice and daal. Generally served with sambar and chutney.
Jaggery
   Dried sugarcane juice
Jalebi
   Orange, sweet-crisp round whirls made from plain flour and water. Jalebi, a favorite Indian dessert, is deep fried and dipped in sugary syrup.
Kachori
   Deep-fried pastry patties made from white flour, ghee, and water. Typically stuffed with spiced mashed vegetables.
Kachumber
   An Indian salad prepared with cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. Seasoned with salt, sugar, and lemon juice.
Kalvan
   Curry
Karanji
   Pastries made from whole-wheat flour. Filled with freshly grated coconut and sugar.
Kebab
   Marinated and spiced small pieces of poultry, fish, ground meat, or vegetables, skewered and grilled in a tandoor. Kebabs may also be shallow fried or grilled.
Khasta Roti
   A firmer variation of chapatti bread
Kheema
   Ground meat, raw or cooked.
Kheer
   A rice pudding, served either hot or cold, made from rice, milk, sugar, and cardamom. Sometimes topped with nuts.
Khichadi
   Mildly spiced rice and daal.
Khoya
   An Indian cooking term that refers to the process of boiling milk and stirring continuously over a low flame. Reduces and thickens the food to a soft cream-cheese consistency. This method of cooking is used widely in desserts and sweet meats.
Kofta
   Balls, dumplings, or rolls made from spiced meat or vegetables.
Korma
   A rich curry sauce thickened with yogurt, nuts, or poppy seeds.
Kulcha
   Flatbread often stuffed with onion or potatoes and seasoned with cilantro.
Kulfi
   Sweet aromatic ice cream made from cream, milk, sugar, mango, pistachios, and saffron. The most popular are the mango kulfi, pista kulfi and the malai kulfi.
Lassi
   A refreshing sweet drink made from a blend of yogurt and water. Traditionally topped with a fresh dollop of yogurt.
Luchi
   A Bengali form of the puffed deep-fried bread puri. Made with maidi, or white flour.
Maidi
   Unbleached white flour
Masala
   The Hindi word for "spices"; a refined blend of spices, herbs, and other seasonings that flavor the Indian cuisine.
Mawa
   An Indian cooking term that refers to the process of boiling milk and stirring continuously over a low flame. Reduces and thickens the food to a soft cream-cheese consistency. This method of cooking is used widely in desserts and sweet meats.
Modak
   Cone shaped dumplings made from rice flour. Filled with a cooked mixture of freshly grated coconut and sugar.
Moti Roti
   A risen flatbread made from unbleached white flour, yogurt, and water dough. This bread is baked on a tawa.
Murgh
   Chicken
Murgh Masalam
   Curried chicken
Mutter
   Peas
Mutter Paneer
   Curried peas with cubes of fried homemade cheese.
Naan
   An Indian leavened flatbread made from unbleached white flour, yogurt, and water. Baked in a tandoor, this appetizer cleanses the palette and complements the piquancy of a dish. Many variations of this popular bread exist.
Paan
   A thick, smooth, dark green leaf. In the Indian cuisine, this leaf is wrapped around fragrant spices, fennel seeds, slaked lime paste, tobacco leaves, colored shreds of coconut, and fine shreds of areca nut. Paan, which acts as a breath-freshener, digestive, antacid, and carminative, is eaten after a meal. It is garnished with Varak.
Pakoras
   A, popular, sizzling, Indian crispy and spicy snack served with coriander chutney. Slices of potatoes, onion, chilies, spinach leaves, and eggplant are dipped in a batter, made from chickpea flour and dried spices, and then deep fried. Usually served with chai.
Papad
   Thin, spicy, crisp wafer discs, about 4 to 8 inches in diameter, made from daal flour lentils, vegetables, potatoes, shrimp, and rice. The discs are deep-fried or dry roasted on an open flame and served as a crispy savory appetizer.
Paratha
   A whole-wheat unleavened flatbread. This bread, which resembles thick tortillas, may be deep-fried, shallow-fried, or baked in a tandoor. Slightly larger than chapatti, paratha is rolled, layered, folded, and basted with ghee during cooking. May be stuffed with meat and vegetables.
Poppadum
   Thin, spicy, crisp wafer discs, about 4 to 8 inches in diameter, made from daal flour lentils, vegetables, potatoes, shrimp, and rice. The discs are deep-fried or dry roasted on an open flame and served as a crispy savory appetizer.
Pulao
   Delicately flavored rice, sauteed in ghee and flavored with cumin and cloves.
Puri
   An unleavened whole-wheat flatbread usually around 4 inches in diameter. This "puffed" bread, which is rolled out and deep-fried, expands when cooked.
Raan
   A leg of lamb marinated in yogurt-based masala.
Raita
   A cooling vegetable and yogurt salad served as an accompaniment to hot and spicy dishes.
Rassgulla
   One of the most famous Indian sweets that originated from east India, these milk-based balls are cooked in light sugar syrup, flavored with cardamom, and served chilled.
Rogan Josh
   Rich lamb curry
Roti
   The Hindi term for bread. "Tandoori Roti" is baked in a tandoor; "Rumali Roti" is thin, flaky, layered paratha.
Saag Curry
   An aromatic curried dish made from greens (saag).
Sabji
   A general Indian term to describe vegetables.
Sambhar
   Lentil curry served as a complement to idli.
Samosa
   Crispy, deep-fried triangular pastries filled with spiced potatoes, vegetables, or meat. Served as an appetizer.
Sashlik
   An Indian cooking term meaning "grilled".
Seekh Kabab
   Literally, "skewer kababs"; these kababs, served on skewers, are usually made from ground lamb, mixed with various spices, and cooked in a tandoor.
Sev
   A thin stringy fried snack made from gram flour.
Simmer
   To cook food gently in liquid that bubbles steadily, just below boiling point, so that the food cooks in even heat without breaking up.
Tadka
   A melange of spices, herbs, oil, and vegetables that flavors many Indian dishes.
Talana
   An Indian cooking term meaning "deep-fried in oil or ghee".
Tandoor
   The traditional, tall, cylindrical Indian clay oven. This clay pot, which has a deep sunken neck, is heated by hot charcoal. Long iron rods are used to stir the contents. The tandoor oven enhances the delectable flavors and aromas of Indian dishes.
Tandoori
   An Indian method of cooking. Tandoori spices, including ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne, are mixed with pureed garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and oil. After this red-orange sauce coats the food, it is cooked in the tandoor. Tandoori spices may be added to yogurt or used in a marinade.
Tandoori Murgh
   Tandoori chicken marinated with spices, red peppers, and yogurt.
Tarka
   A mixture of whole spices and/or garlic rapidly cooked over high heat. Usually added as a final seasoning or tempering to Indian dishes.
Tawa
   A thick griddle
Tikka
   Skewered boneless cubes of meat, poultry, or seafood. Usually marinated and cooked in a tandoor. A type of kebab.
Upma
   Spiced semolina, which may be cooked with tiny cubed potatoes and peas, then garnished with freshly grated coconut and cilantro.
Vadas
   A round deep-fried savory snack made from lentils and potatoes. Served with chutneys.
Varak
   Fine, thin, edible, silver foil used to garnish Indian desserts and paan. Known to help digestion.
Vindaloo
   Spicy meat, marinated in garam masala (cumin, mustard seeds, ginger, onion, garlic, cinnamon, and cloves), then cooked in vinegar, mustard oil, and red pepper.
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