Here's a master shopping list for Indian ingredients. The items highlighted in bold type are the must-haves. The others are meant mostly for diehard Indian food enthusiasts who plan to cook lots of Indian food a lot of the time.
If you don't live near an Indian grocery store, you can find a lot of the items from online vendors, including Amazon. I've linked to some of the ingredients on Amazon, and these are affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and buy something, I will get a very small percentage from the sale at no cost to you, which will help keep my blog going.
Brown Basmati Rice
Flattened Rice (Poha)
Puffed Rice (Kurmura)
Rava (Cream of Wheat, Sooji)
Whole-Wheat Durum Flour or Atta Flour (for chapatis, pooris and other Indian flatbreads)
Besan or Chickpea Flour
Tuvar Dalor Toor Dal (pigeon peas)
Rajma (red kidney beans)
Chickpeas or chole or garbanzo beans (chana)
Moth or matki beans (tiny little brown beans)
Whole Mung Beans
Black-eyed Peas or Chavli beans
Vaal Dal (field beans)
Red Chili Powder (not to be mistaken for the spice mixes that are added to a western-style chili -- the Indian red chili powder is just red pepper powder)
Paprika (Kashmiri chili powder is a fine substitute)
Black Mustard Seeds (rai)
Cumin Seeds (jeera)
Fennel Seeds (saunf)
Carom Seeds (ajwain)
Onion Seeds (kalonji)
White Poppy Seeds (khus khus)
Fenugreek Seeds (methi)
White Sesame Seeds (til)
Cardamom pods (green) (hari elaichi)
Cardamom pods (black) (kali elaichi)
Cinnamon bark (dalchini)
Whole Black Peppercorns
Bay Leaves (tej patta)
Whole Dry Red Chillies
Asafoetida (hing) Not strictly a spice, but it gets clubbed in here because it's used like one.
READYMADE POWDERED SPICES:
Pav Bhaji Masala
Curry Powder (although more British than Indian in origin, this adds great flavor to lots of Indian foods. I'm a convert).
Unflavored vegetable oil, like canola or peanut 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)
Alphonso Mango Pulp
Kasoori Methi (dry methi leaves)
FRESH AND FROZEN ITEMS:
I recently visited my local Patel Brothers to buy spices, but I was not sure which dried chili peppers to buy because there are so many choices. When you have time, could you add an explanation of the choices here? The blog for the recipe I was following does not discuss this. I think each type is a different level of spice.
Also, what is the difference between whole yellow mustard seeds and split seeds? Do they cook differently (i.e., do I need to worry about a bitter taste with one more than the other?)
Thank you 🙂
Thank you for sharing this useful information for Indian Grocery list.
We can do master shopping for all the famous Indian ingredients at Bazaar Bros, come under one of the best Indian grocery store.
Thank you so much for this site, it's fabulous. I have a question. Which type of coconut oil do you use - refined [with no coconut taste] or virgin [with the coconut taste]. I ask because I am now vegan and of course missing my ghee in my lentils and I had not thought of trying coconut oil but curious if you use it for the flavour and hence use virgin?
just made your vegan sourdough discard brownies and they was fab! so easy and absolutely delicious! thank you so much. I have subscribed and will continue to browse your recipes. I am not vegan but thinking very seriously of becoming one. I love cooking and always am happy to find sensible and tasy recipes.
not bad - i have been using aapnabusiness to find my local Indian grocery stores.
Hi Vaishali !
I am very much grateful to see some good Indian grocery store which you are listed up. But if you did with separately that is online order available or phone or direct from store , it will be good for us. I have a suggestion for listing with based on country or city for grocery store like as Sydney Indian grocery. Thanks
I am so happy to find this blog , I live in India and a beginner to the vegan world and was wondering if I could get someone in India, who is a vegan can understand the issues much better and ...Wala ! search got me to your blog. You have explained beautifully.
My request is to please suggest some thing for tea as well, as I am still struggling with leaving milk and sugar( specially in our Indian tea taste). Trying really hard to shed weight vegan style , so will keep looking forward to more recipes.
i have coconut milk in indian tea it sweetens it a little too
I am looking for a wooden mathani(indian milk curdler).
I can not find one in the USA.
Can you suggest where I can order one?
Hi Tom, I don't think most people use one these days, but you could try just asking at the local Indian grocery store and sometimes they might be able to get one for you. Good luck!
So happy to have found this blog! I am also in Silver Spring - is there anyplace to buy these ingredients locally? I can go online, but I like to shop for food items in person when I can.
Hi Gwen, Nice to meet another Silver Spring-er! I go to the Patel Brothers store in Langley Park, on University Blvd. They've got everything you might need. I also like Daily Spices off Lee Highway in Fairfax County, although that's a little further. You can go to thokalath.com to find other Indian grocery stores in the vicinity. Unfortunately, there aren't many good ones in Silver Spring.
Thank you for your wonderful recipes. please let me know if you ever publish them in a book as I would love to buy a copy.
Regards from Tamara
Tamara, that's so kind. You are awesome, and of course I will let you know if I ever decide to do a cookbook. Take care! 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful resource! can't wait to try this recipe!
Thank you, Barb.