How to order Indian food

We unravel the lingo so you can order like a pro

Do you read the menu at your local Indian in wide-eyed bewilderment at what is on the page in front of you? Do you feel as though you need a dictionary to hand before you can make up your mind on what to order? Then keep this handy glossary close by next time you go for a curry to make your life that much easier

Atta – a fine whole-wheat flour (used to make paratha)
Aloo – potato
Biryani – baked rice with meat or vegtables
Channa – chickpeas
Dahl – pulsed legumes
Dosa – a fine crispy savoury pancake – originating in Southern India
Gobi – cauliflower
Ghosht – meat, usually lamb or beef
Imli – Tamarind
Jalfrezi – to pan or stir-fry
Jeera – cumin
Jinga – prawn
Kaddu – pumpkin
Keema – minced meat
Malai – cream
Masala – a blend of spices
Mirch – chilli
Murgh – chicken
Palak – spinach
Paneer – an Indian cheese
Phal – the hottest curry in Indian cuisine (for the brave only)
Piaza – onion
Saag – spinach
Tandoori – a dish that’s been cooked in a tandoor (a drum-shaped clay oven)
Thali – a platter tray
Tikka – skewered and marinated meat, cooked in a tandoor
Tulsi – basil
Zafran – saffron

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