Spices are the backbone of Indian cuisine. Indian food relies on the addition of a few spices or many spices. These are added sparingly to the food while cooking. Below you will find a list or glossary of spices with their English names and in some more Indian languages.
Not only the spices, add a ton of flavor to the dish, but some of the spices like cumin, carom seeds, fennel seeds help in digestion. For this reason, they are added to many recipes to aid digestion.
A few spices like green chillies or red chili powder add some pungency and heat to the dish. Depending on the recipe, the spices are added whole or in their powdered/ground form to the food.
There are many spice blends made by grinding whole spices in the Indian cuisine. Many families make their own spice blends like the essential garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, sambar powder, rasam powder etc.
Although you can buy the spice mixes from outside but homemade is always better. As they are free from fillers, additives and preservatives. Homemade spice blends have more intense flavors and a great fragrance.
Spices can be stored easily in a cool dry place in an air tight jars or containers. Sometimes a few spices can have mold or fungal growth on them depending upon the climate conditions. In this case you have to discard these spices.
You can also store spices for a longer time in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Lastly, when buying spices it is better to buy organic spices and check the expiry date on the package. Make sure to finish the spices within their shelf period.
Get the names of spices, in English, Hindi and some more Indian regional languages in the table below. I hope these translations of the names of the spices in various Indian languages is useful to you.
I am also thankful to all the readers who have shared the name of spices in these regional languages through emails and the comments below. It is because of their contribution we have been able to expand this list and make it bigger.
Note that if you are using mobile phone or tablet then scroll the below table from left to right to see all the names.
List of Spices Names
|Aniseeds, fennel seeds||Saunf||Sombu||Badishep||Variyali|
|Basil seeds, sweet basil||Sabja seeds, subja, falooda seeds, tukmaria||Sabja||Tukmariya|
|Indian Bay Leaf||Tej Patta||Brinji elai||Tamalpatra, Tej Paan||Tamal patra|
|Big mustard seeds||Sarson||Sarsav|
|Black cardamom||Badi elaichi||Periya elakkai||Mothi Ilaichi||Elcho|
|Black cumin seeds||Kala jeera||Karung seeragam||Kale Jeere|
|Black mustard seeds||Rai||Kadughu||Mohri||Rai|
|Black pepper||Kali mirch||Milagu||Menasinkalu||Kalimiri||Mari|
|Black salt||Kala namak||Kale Meeth||Sanchal|
|Caraway seeds||Shahijeera||Perum seeragam||Shahajire||Shahjeera|
|Carom seeds, |
|Chilli powder||Lal mirch powder||Milagai tool||Lal Mirchi Powder, Tikhat||Marchu powder|
|Cinnamon||Dalchini||Lavanga pattai, pattai||Dalchini||Dalchini||Dalchini||Taja|
|Clarified butter||Ghee||Nei||Tup, Shuddha Toop||Ghee|
|Coconut desiccated||Sukha nariyal ka choora/boora||Thuruvina thengai||Sukhe Khobre||Topranu khaman|
|Coconut dry||Sukha nariyal||Ularndha thengai||Sukhe Khobre||Copra, khopru|
|Coconut fresh||Nariyal||Thengai||Naral||Khopru, topru|
|Coriander powder||Dhania powder||Dhaniya podi||Dhane pood|
|Coriander seeds||Sabut dhania||Kottumalli |
|Dhane||Kothmir na dana|
|Coriander Leaves, Cilantro||Dhaniya, dhania||Kothamalli ilai||Sambhar, Kothimbir, Kothmir||Kothmari/kothmir|
|Curry leaves||Kari patta, kadipatha||Karuveppilai||Kadi Patta, Godlimba||Limda, mitho limbdo|
|Dry fenugreek leaves||Kasoori methi||Kaaindha vendhaya ilaigal||Kasuri Methi|
|Dry ginger||Saunth, sounth, soonth||Sukku||Sunthi||Sunth||Sunthi||Sunth|
|Dry mango powder||Amchur||Mangai podi||Mavinkai |
|Fenugreek seeds||Methi ke dane||Menthiyam, Vendhayam||Methya dane||Methi dana|
|Fenugreek Leaves||Methi||Vendhaya Keerai||Methi|
|Garlic||Lasan, lahsun, lahsan||Poondu||Lasun||Lasan|
|Fresh ginger||Adrak, adhrak||Inji||Ala||Adu|
|Dry ginger||Saunth, sonth||Sukku||Sunth||Sunth|
|Green cardamom||Hari elaichi, choti elaichi||Elakkai||Veldoda, Velchi||Elchi|
|Green chilli||Hari mirch||Pachai milagai||Hirvi mirchi||Chidiya marcha/lilu marchu|
|Ground nut, peanuts||Moongphalli, mungphali||Nila kadalei||Sheng dane||Shing|
|Palm jaggery||Tara gura, sharkara tada||Pana vellam|
|Cocum, kokum||Bhirinda, bhirnda||Kokam, aamsul|
|Lime peel||Nimbu ka chilka||Elumichai thol||Limbachi Saal|
|Mace||Jayitri, javitri, javntry||Jaipatri||Jaipatri||Jaipatri||Jaipatri||Javintri|
|Mint||Pudina, podina||Pudina, pudhina||Pudina||Phudino|
|Onion seeds, |
|Pine nuts||Chilgoze, nioze|
|Dry pomegranate seeds||Anardana||Kaaindha maadhulai vidhaigal||Dadum na dana|
|Poppy seeds||Khus khus||Khasa khasa||Khas Khas||Khas khas|
|Raisins||Kismish||Kaindha dratchai / ularndha dratchai||Bedane||Suki draksh|
|Red chilli||Lal mirch||Milakai Vatral||Lal mirchi|
|Rock salt||Sendha namak||Kal uppu||Sendhe laun||Sindhalu |
|Rock flower, |
|Pathar phool||Kalpaasi||Dagad phool|
|Saffron||Kunkuma, kesar, zafran||Kumkumappu||Keshar||Kesar|
|Screwpine, pandanus||Kewra||Rambai ilaigal|
|Sichuan pepper, |
|Timur, tirphal, tephal, teppal|
|Star anise||Chakriphool||Lavanga poo|
|Water melon seeds||Tarbuj ke beej||Tharboosani vidhaigal||Kalingad Bee|
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This Spices List post from the archives (first published in April 2009) has been republished and updated on 13 June 2021.