Indian Grocery Shopping List

Some of you have asked for a basic Indian grocery shopping list, and here it is.One of the challenges of living here in the United States but cooking Indian food in my kitchen most days is that I need to be pretty organized when I go grocery shopping for ingredients I can only find at an Indian store. That’s because the Indian grocery store nearest me is more than 10 miles away, so it’s not like I can just pop out to the shop around the corner for that missing ingredient while I’m putting dinner together in the midst of a busy work week.

The grocery list below is a master list for pantry items that won’t spoil on you for months or even years. If you are an Indian food enthusiast, I’d recommend keeping all of these handy. But if you cook Indian just once in a way, you might want to get only the items I’ve highlighted in bold type. I’ve deliberately not included Indian vegetables, because I wanted to focus on items that you can keep in your pantry without worrying about cooking them the next day. That said, I do have some fresh herbs on the list that are essentials in Indian cooking. Some, like coriander and mint leaves, you will find at any grocery store here. Others, like curry leaves, are harder to come by. If you buy more curry leaves than you will use up immediately, divide them up in an ice tray, fill with water, and freeze. Thaw the ice cubes and the curry leaves when you’re ready to use.Always store your spices — whole and powdered– in airtight jars in cool temperatures.

Wherever possible, I’ve tried to give short explanations or link to recipes so you will know what these ingredients are for.


Basmati Rice
Brown Basmati Rice
Cracked Wheat
Flattened Rice (Poha)
Puffed Rice (Kurmura)
Rava (Cream of Wheat, Sooji)
Whole-Wheat Durum Flour (for chapatis, pooris and other Indian flatbreads)
Millet Flour
Bajra Flour
Besan or Chickpea Flour


Tuvar Dal (pigeon peas)
Chana Dal
Urad Dal
Moong Dal
Masoor Dal
Rajma (red kidney beans)
Chickpeas or chole or garbanzo beans
Matki (tiny little brown beans)
Whole Moong Beans
Chawli (Black-eyed Peas)
Whole Masoor


Red Chili Powder
Turmeric Powder
Black Mustard Seeds
Cumin Seeds
Coriander Seeds
Fennel Seeds (saunf)
Ajwain or Carom Seeds
Kalonji or Onion Seeds
Poppy Seeds
Fenugreek Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Cardamom pods (green)
Cardamom pods (brown)
Black Pepper
Bay Leaves
Whole Red Chillies
Asafoetida or Hing (Not strictly a spice, but it gets clubbed in here because it’s used like one)


Garam Masala
Biryani Masala
Pav Bhaji Masala
Sambar Powder
Rasam Powder
Chaat Masala
Amchur Powder
Goda Masala
Tava Masala


Unflavored vegetable oil, like canola or peanut oil
Sesame oil
Coconut oil
Mustard oil


Jaggery (an unrefined Indian sugar that’s perfect for Indian sweets)
Tamarind, pulp or pods
Poppadums or papads (rice or lentil crackers that can be zapped in a microwave in an instant to provide a crackly, delicious accompaniment for meals)
Golden raisins
Coconut milk
Alphonso Mango Pulp
Kasoori Methi (dry methi leaves)


Curry Leaves
Coriander Leaves
Mint Leaves
Shredded Coconut
Green Chillies

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Thanks for posting this grocery list. I tend to get overwhelmed by the array of items provided when shopping in specialty stores, so this list is bound to come in handy during future grocery excursions.

  2. says

    Oh yes, we need all these…
    Vaishali, I couldn’t stop smiling as I read down the list, we have so many things in the pantry, don’t we?! Plus the podis and chutney and pickles and ‘khau’, freezer and fridge full of eatables! WHEW!
    But the list is very useful!

  3. says

    That sounds like pretty much all the stuff we pick up at the Indian store. Minus the junk food (banana chips, gaathiya, boondi). And Gits. It may be healthier to make the stuff from scratch, but making sambar and using the Gits packets for the idli come in handy for unexpected guests.

    Aaaaand now I want some banana chips. Pavlovian response: Indian store/banana chips. We go every 3-6 months, so it’s not THAT bad :-/

  4. says

    I have a master list myself which I look at so that I dont leave anything out while shopping (even though I can call and have things delivered) so I can imagine how you must need one! – great list and thanks for posting!

  5. says

    Ooh Vaishali! Thank you SO much for this list! much needed around here 😉 I already printed it out and it hangs on the fridge door right now! :-)

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