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.


GRAINS:

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

LEGUMES:

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
Peanuts

SPICES:

Red Chili Powder
Paprika
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
Saffron
Cardamom pods (green)
Cardamom pods (brown)
Cloves
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Mace
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)

READYMADE POWDERED SPICES:

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

OILS:

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

MISC.:

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
Cashews
Pistachios
Coconut milk
Alphonso Mango Pulp
Kasoori Methi (dry methi leaves)

FRESH AND FROZEN ITEMS:

Curry Leaves
Coriander Leaves
Mint Leaves
Shredded Coconut
Green Chillies

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

20 thoughts on “Indian Grocery Shopping List

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mihl

    December 6, 2011 at 7:57pm

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Tiffany

    December 6, 2011 at 8:19pm

    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.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Manasi

    December 6, 2011 at 10:25pm

    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!

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Paulina

    December 7, 2011 at 1:44am

    Perfect! Just what I needed, thanks :)

    ~Paulina @ veggout.blogspot.com

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    TS =)

    December 7, 2011 at 3:04am

    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 :-/

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Richa

    December 7, 2011 at 3:12am

    niceee! i hardly ever use rasam powder.. chole/chana masala is more of a must pantry item:)

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Miri

    December 7, 2011 at 7:50am

    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!

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Daisy

    December 7, 2011 at 1:57pm

    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! :-)

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    February 26, 2012 at 7:26pm

    Thanks for the list! :) its comprehensive.

  10. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    April 9, 2012 at 11:17am

    Thank you so much vaishali for the list….. Its really a great help.:)

  11. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    vinitha

    June 8, 2012 at 5:01am

    hey nice list pa..thanks a lot..really useful..:)

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    June 14, 2012 at 10:21pm

    Lovely my friend! I was looking for it!

  13. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    July 14, 2012 at 10:07am

    thank you provide me a list!

  14. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    March 23, 2013 at 1:26am

    Very helpful!

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    April 1, 2013 at 12:10am

    Isn’t millet flour the same as bajra flour?

  16. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anonymous

    August 27, 2013 at 3:46pm

    Whoa Vaishali, This list helped me a lot , Thanks

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    TWINKLE

    December 25, 2013 at 12:11pm

    THANKS…IT WAS USEFUL…IT HELPED ME TO GET THINGS WHICH I FORGET MOSTLY…

Thank you for visiting Holy Cow! I love hearing from you, so take a moment to say hello or tell me what you thought of this post. Thank you!