Indian Cooking Continued

Welcome Back. This article is continued from Part 1

Dhaniya (Coriander)

This herb is very commonly used in Indian cooking, and it can easily be grown elsewhere in kitchen gardens. They are also available in Indian grocery shops.

Methi (Fenugreek)

This vegetable is also used as a herb in most Indian dishes, especially after it has been dried. It has a nice fragrance and flavour. Methi, like dhaniya, can be grown quite successfully. Parsley, sage, thyme and other herbs may be used if dhaniya and methi are not available. The quantity of the herbs used in various dishes should depend on individual taste. If dried herbs are used the quantity should definitely be much reduced.


Cardomoms are one of the ingredients of garam-masalla, and are used in flavouring and to give sweet fragrance to a great many Indian sweetmeats and curried dishes. They are of two kinds - large dark brown, and small pale green. Either type may be used, though the dark brown variety is mainly used for flavouring sweetmeats. Cardomoms can be bought from Indian grocery shops and from most major supermarkets.

Garam Masalla

The following recipe will make a good jarful of garam-masalla.

Ingredients - 50g (2 oz) black peppercorns, 50g (2 oz) coriander seeds, 40g (1 and a half 0z) caraway seeds (preferably black), 15g (half oz) cloves, 20 or more large cardamoms, 15g (half oz) cinnamon.

Method - Sort the peppercorns, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and cloves, and remove the skin from the cardamoms. Mix together, and grind them fairly finely (not powdery) in a coffee grinder or a blender which is capable of grinding spices. Mix in the ground cinnamon, and keep the garam masalla in an airtight container or jar. Garam masalla is used in most Indian curried dishes, giving extra taste and fragrance to the food. All the ingredients are widely available.

Ready-to-use garam masalla is sold in Indian grocery shops and some of the major supermarkets, but the fragrance and taste of home made masalla is well worth the trouble to make at home.


This is the name given to flour made from chana dhall (a split Bengal Pulse). It can be bought from Indian grocery shops, but i have ground yellow split peas and have found that they make an ideal substitute for besan. I have also ground dhall urad (a small black bean, split) and red lentils for making mongorhish and poppadoms. The coffee grinder used in making garam masalla will do equally well for this purpose, but should be kept adjusted for finest grinding possible.


A variety of pulses are used in India. But the following, which can all be easily obtained from Indian grocery stores and some supermarkets, are those most commonly used in the state of Punjab.

Whole Urad - A very small black bean, which is used just as it is.  

Dhall Urad - The whole urad, split. It can be used either with its husk or without it, in which case it is white in colour.   

Dhall Moong - Very like dhall urad, but the husk is green. It, too, may be used with or without its husk, and it cooks quickly. I have found red lentils a good substitute for this.

Khabli Channas - A kind of dried pea, of a pale biscuit colour. There is another kind, dark brown and slightly smaller, which is a good alternative.

Dhall Channa - The small brown channas, split. Similar to split peas, which can quite well be substituted for it.

Tamarind (Imli)   

Tamarind pulp, or tamarind in syrup, is not suitable for our purpose, but dried tamarind (the actual fruit with fibre and all else) can be bought from the Indian grocery shops and major supermarkets. Sometimes it is slightly gritty, and should be rinsed before using.


Fresh ginger, when in season, can be bought in any grocery shops, and i have found that root ginger, when well soaked beforehand, has almost the same flavour as fresh ginger. Groung ginger is not suitable for Indian cooking and would not recommend it.