Indian Foods

Guilt Free Deserts

Guilt Free Desserts

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Green mango, dried, available as slivers and as powder. The powder is acidic and is used as a spice.

Packs: 3.5-oz (100-g) boxes and larger for slivers and powder.

Kitchen yields: 1 cup (0.24 l) = 2 oz (56 g) slices.


Starchy tubers related to cassava.

Pack: By weight


Spice derived from the gum of a Persian plant. The thick paste can have a nauseating smell and is used only in small quantities.


Available in different sizes. The gourds must be salted and allowed to marinate several hours to remove the bitter flavor. Large gourds are referred to as Chinese karvi. See Chinese Foods in this section. Packs: By weight. Sizes: 2 oz (56 g) to 3 oz (84 g).

Kitchen yields: 1 lb (450 g) = 14 oz (400 g), cleaned.


Sodium-free salt used as a flavor component, brownish black in lump form and pinkish brown when ground. It is sprinkled over fruits or other foods and gives a slightly smoky, tangy taste.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: To taste.


Sun-dried fish fillets, usually deep-fried and used as a condiment with curry dishes. The fish is a sardine-like species called bummalao. Most of the time, the product comes from India. Also called bombil.

Packs: By weight, usually 10-oz (300-g) boxes.

Kitchen yields: 1 piece per person. There are 20 to 30 pieces in each box.


See the Herbs and Spices section.


Flat bread made with wheat flour, available frozen in different sizes and packages. Available frozen, ready to bake or fully baked.


See Hispanic Foods.


Chutneys are made with many ingredients in many variations of spiciness. The most well-known variety in Western cooking is mango chutney.

Packs: 14-oz (400-g) jars and larger.

Serving size: 1 oz (28 g), as condiment.

Kitchen yields: The product is ready to serve; it should be stored refrigerated after opening.


Small green leaves of the kari plant, a member of the citrus family. Curry leaves have a scent resembling citrus fruits and curry powder, but are not an ingredient in curry powder. Available fresh in specialty markets.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: Fresh leaves are sold attached to the stems. Cleaning waste is about 20 percent.


Spice blends consisting of coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds, chilies, dry ginger, cumin seeds, fenugreek, and other spices, according to brand. Available ranging from mild to very hot. Curry powders should be cooked in fat over low heat to fully develop flavor. Curry paste, called masala paste, is also available. The term garam masala indicates that the spice is hot.

Packs: 15-oz (425-g) cans and larger.

Serving size: 0.3 oz (10 g) for each pound of meat or vegetable, or according to taste.

Kitchen yields: One 15-oz (425-g) can = 45 lb (20 kg) product.


Generic term for dried legumes (pulses). Commonly available are the following: Ahar dal: Yellow split peas Chana dal: Chickpea variety Kabali: Chickpeas Lobhia: Black-eyed peas Moong dal: Split mung beans Udhad: Split black beans

Kitchen yields: Products are used as purée or thickeners in stews and soups.


Small purple eggplants.

Pack: By weight.

Kitchen yields: There is little waste; just the stems need trimming.


Fresh fenugreek and dried fenugreek leaves are used as seasoning and as tea. The dehydrated leaves require soaking before use. For dried whole and ground Fenugreek Seeds, see the Herbs and Spices section.

Pack: Bunches; the leaves are on long stems but are very light. 1.75-oz

(50-g) and larger packs for dried leaves.


Indian flours are often made with dried legumes and contain no gluten. They are used for flat breads such as roti/chappati, but cannot be used for yeast breads. Commonly available are the following: Ata flour: Wheat flour Bajri flour: Millet flour Besan flour: Split pea flour Moong flour: Split green pea flour Urhad flour: Black bean flour

GRAM, Channa

The generic term for cereals.


Clarified butter or vegetarian margarine, available rendered.

Kitchen yields: Use as needed. Calories: 1 lb (450 g) = 4,066 calories.


Used as an acidic component. Sizes: 3 oz (84 g) to 4 oz (112 g) each.


See Chinese Okra in this section.


Generic term for spices; garam masala is a catch-all term for hot spice mixtures.


Astringent leaves used raw with spices as a mouth freshener.

Pack: By count and weight.

Size: About 2 in (50 mm) wide and 3 in (75 mm) long.


Curdled milk resembling cream cheese, an ingredient in many dishes. Available fresh and cubed and fried.

Pack: 8-oz (225-g), 1-lb (450-g), and larger packages. Serving size: 1 oz (28 g). Calories: 1 oz (28 g) of fried product = 90 calories.


Indian flat bread made with Udad-dal flour in a number of flavors, some of them spicy. Papadoms must be quickly fried in hot oil to puff up. Use as a garnish for curry dishes.

Size: 7 in (177 mm) across is common.

Count: One 8/-oz (250-g) package = 16 to 17 pieces. One 10-oz (280-g) package = 25 pieces.

Kitchen yields: 1 piece per person as garnish.


Rice (chawal) is a staple in many parts of India. Specialty stores carry up to 20 varieties. The most available and best known are: Basmati rice, also known as patna rice Jasmine rice Kitchen yields: See the Groceries section.


Colorless liquid with strong aroma, used in desserts.

Pack: 1-pt (0.47-l) bottles. Kitchen yields: Use sparingly.


India is a large producer of saffron, but the product seems to be less aromatic than the saffron from Spain or Greece.

SILVER LEAVES, Chandik vark

Pure silver hammered into thin leaves and used as an edible decoration on desserts.


See the Tropical Fruits section.


Tropical fruit pods with a sour taste, native to Africa and Asia. The seeds were brought from India to the West Indies in the seventeenth century. The brown pods are sometimes sold in their semidry form, but more often as a compacted, sticky mass. When buying compacted fruit, check for telltale holes indicating insect penetration. The paste disolves quickly and is convenient to use.

Season: Fresh pods are available in summer and autumn


Dried and fresh pods: By weight.

Kitchen yields: Only the pulp can be used; dried pods must be soaked to extract the pulp. The paste can be used as is.

Calories: The high sugar content makes tamarind high in calories; the pulp is quite acidic.

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