Indian Spice Glossary

Spices are an essential part of Indian cuisine, it’s why I created this Indian Spice Glossary. One of the toughest challenges I had when I started cooking was shopping for spices. I would write my mom and grandma’s recipes down in excitement but once I got to the store I had to play the guessing game. You see, the issue was that I had the names of the spices memorized in Hindi/Urdu and I knew exactly what they looked like but I had no idea what some of their English names were. What was dal cheeni, hing, or saunf in English? More often than not, I would find myself calling my mom to see if she knew the translation or “googling” the spices Hindi name to get the English translation.


I created this page for a quick spice reference/glossary of English to Hindi/Urdu translation. I’ve tried to add the most common spices that I can think of but please let me know if you have any additions that may be helpful.

Indian Spice Glossary

English Name

Hindi/Urdu Name

Aniseed/Fennel Seeds Saunf
Asafoetida Hing
Bay Leaf Tej Patta
Black Cardamom Badi Elaichi
Black Cumin Seeds Kala Jeera, Shahi Jeera
Black Mustard Seeds Rai
Black Pepper Kali Mirch
Black Salt Kala Namak
Caraway Seeds Shahi Jeera
Cardamom Elaichi, Choti Elaichi
Carom Seeds, Oregano Seeds Ajwain
Cinnamon Dal-cheeni
Clove Laung
Coriander Powder Dhaniya Powder
Coriander Seeds Sabut Dhaniya
Coriander, Cilantro (fresh) Hara Dhaniya
Cumin Seeds Jeera, Zeera
Curry Leaves Kari Patta, Kadipatha
Fenugreek leaves (dried) Kasoori Methi
Fenugreek Seeds Methi Dana
Garcinia Indica Kokum (dried)
Garlic Lasan, Lahsun
Ginger Adhrak
Holy Basil Tulsi
Mace Javitri
Mint Pudina
Mustard Seeds Sarson
Nigella Kalonji
Nutmeg Jaiphal
Pomegranate Seeds Anar Dana
Poppy Seeds Khus Khus
Red Chili Powder Lal Mirch Powder, Mirchi Powder
Rock Salt, Himalayan Rock Salt Sendha Namak
Saffron Kesar
Salt Namak
Sesame Seeds Til
Star Anise Anasphal
Sugar Shakkar, Cheeni
Tamarind Imli
Turmeric Haldi
Unrefined Brown Sugar Gur, Jaggery

12 thoughts on “Indian Spice Glossary

  1. Nisha,
    Such a good idea to share this useful knowledge. I also used to think what is the english for such
    a herb or spice
    Well done again, Sandhya Boua.x

  2. Hi Nisha,
    Great post. A quick question. How did you come to the conclusion that Himalayan Salt is Sendha Namak? I have been searching for Himalayan salt here in India for its health benefits and no one seems to know about it. I was given Sendha Namak however and I don’t want to use it unless I’m sure it IS Himalayan Salt. Looking forward to your response b

    1. Hi Fehmina,

      Thanks for visiting! I came to know that Himalayan Rock Salt is the same as Sendha namak when my Mom told me to use it while cooking for fasting/prayer food, I needed to know the English name so I could find it at the grocery store. Himalayan Rock Salt and Rock salt are in fact the same thing, many companies seem to add the “Himalayan” to their Rock Salt just for marketing purposes; even if was not mined from the Himalayas.

      Sendha namak/Rock Salt is generally used instead of regular table salt when people want a salt that is pure with no additives [hence why it is used during fasting]. Many people also use it for health reasons as it is known to help lower blood pressure, clear water retention, and aid in digestion. I have listed a few websites below for you that confirm this information.

      I hope this helped! Best of luck and Happy New Year!

      Take Care. xoxo

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