List of Commonly Used Ingredients In My Cooking

Indian food can be overwhelming with all it’s spices, oils, and chilies. So I wanted to give you a list of ingredients I commonly use in my Indian dishes. Luckily almost every main grocery store has an Indian section; most of these things are available there. Alternatively, you can look up a local Indian store to get these spices.

I love to experiment with other cuisines as well, so you’ll find a number of other items on the list.

Whole Spices

I buy whole spices like cumin and coriander seeds, and grind them in a coffee grinder to get a fresh and robust flavor.

  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Green cardamom
  • Black cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Star anise
  • Cloves
  • Black peppercorn
  • Saffron

Ready Made Powders

  • Turmeric powder
  • Asafoetida (Hing)
  • Smoked paprika powder
  • Kashmiri chili powder
  • Garlic powder


I use a variety of fresh and dried chilies to achieve a good roasted flavor, heat level and vibrant red color.  I use Mexican chilies too because it gives a great earthy-smoky flavor.

  • Fresh serrano chili
  • Thai chili (green and red)
  • Green long finger chili
  • Dried Kashmiri chili
  • Dried guajillo chili
  • Dried California chili

Herbs and Leaves

I use herbs to garnish and enhance my dishes. Herbs also form the base of some of my sauces.

  • Bay leaves
  • Fenugreek (methi) dried leaves
  • Dried and fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh parsley
  • Curry leaves
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried dill
  • Dried thyme leaves

Oils and Butter

I use organic unrefined coconut oil, because it lends the best flavor and contains no additives. Grape seed oil is a great neutral oil for frying. Extra virgin olive oil is great for vinaigrette’s or for roasting. Mustard oil is my least used oil.  It is robust in flavor and used in specific curries. Ghee is clarified butter. I use it in stews, and as a finishing touch to curries.

  • Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Mustard oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ghee

To establish an underlying flavor, I use a base of onion, ginger, and garlic in most of my dishes

  • Red onion
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Fresh coconut
  • Tomato (fresh and paste)


These ingredients make dishes creamy and rich. (Tip: Great addition to cut heat and over salted dishes.)

  • Coconut milk
  • Labna (thick yogurt- kind of like Greek yogurt consistency)
  • Yogurt

Salt and Pepper

  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Kosher salt
  • Sea salt
  • Black peppercorn
  • Rainbow peppercorn


  • Raw sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Raw organic honey

Nuts and Dried Fruits

  •  Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Raisins
  • Medjool Dates