Most of the ingredients are available at the grocery stores or supermarkets. Some, though, are special and have to be obtained from the Indian stores.
Substitutes may change the character of the dish. It is better to omit an ingredient if not available than to substitute for it. If whole spice is not available, you may use the ground form, but the ground form is less pungent.
Asafoetida (Hing) : Dried gum resin from the root of various Iranian and East Indian plants. Has a strong fetid odor - definitely an acquired taste.
Besan (Besan) : Flour of dried chickpeas.
Cardamom (Elaichi): Dried fruit of a plant. Mostly the seeds are used. Seeds of 4 pods measure approximately 1/4 t.
Coriander (dhania): Aromatic herb of the parsley family. Sold as cilantro or Chinese parsley. Also sold as seed or dry powder.
Cumin (Jeera): Very aromatic and reminiscent. Sold whole or ground.
Dals (Dal): Hindi name for all members of the legume or pulse family. Commonly used are: Arhar, Channa, Masur, Mung, Labia (black-eyed peas), Rajma (red kidney beans).
Fennel Seed (Sauf): Has an agreeable odor and licorice flavor. Available whole or ground.
Fenugreek (Methi): Has a pleasant bitter flavor and sweetish odor. Garam Masala (Garam Masala): A mixture of spices; details come later. Chat Masala (Chat Masala): A variation of Garam masala. Available in Indian stores. Ghee (Ghee): Fat for frying. Pure ghee is clarified butter.
Mustard oil (Larson): Pungent oil made from black mustard seeds.
Mint (Pudina): Aromatic herb. Fresh and dried leaves are used in the preparation of chutneys. Dried leaves are much less fragrant than the fresh ones.
Pomegranate (Anar dana): A flavoring agent. Has some scent.
Saffron (Kesar): Made of stigmas of a flower grown in Kashmir and Spain. It is aromatic and yields a yellow color.
Turmeric (Haldi): An aromatic powdered root. Used as a flavoring, and for flavoring curries.
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