Vegan Indian Pantry Staples


Cooking Oils

  • Coconut oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Mustard oil

Peanut, sunflower, rice bran, grape seed or canola oil can be used in your kitchen as alternatives.

Vegan Indian Pantry Staples


Paneer is an Indian style cottage cheese made from simple pantry ingredients. It can be added to vegetable dishes for taste and texture. There are large varieties of vegan 'cheese' replacements available at select grocers and health food shops. In our 'Palak Paneer' lesson, there is a recipe outlined for a vegan alternative.


Cook using Basmati for an authentic, fluffy style rice!


Normally you can purchase tamarind in a block or pureed in jars. It’s most convenient to buy the jar so you don't have to spend time to process the paste. This is done by soaking the dried tamarind block in boiling water and pressing it through a sieve.


You can use natural, unsweetened vegan alternative yoghurts. There are many nut and soy yoghurt replacements available. 


Any legume is referred to as “dal” in Indian culture. These pulses are offered in a variety of ways: whole, split with the skin on or off or ground into flour. There are so many different types of dals used in traditional Indian dishes. There’s red, black, green, yellow and white (the list goes on!) Here’s some common lentils used in everyday Indian cooking.

  • Black eyed peas (raungi, chawli, lobhia)
  • Black gram lentils, split and skinned (urad dal) 
  • Black gram whole/black gram lentils (sabut urad) 
  • Chickpeas, brown (kala chana)
  • Chickpeas, green (cholia/hara chana)
  • Chickpeas, split (chana dal) 
  • Chickpeas, white (kabuli chana, safed chana, chole)
  • Kidney Beans, red (rajma)
  • Lentils, brown & whole (sabut masoor)
  • Lentils, red/orange (masoor dal)
  • Lentils, yellow petite (mung dal)
  • Mung Beans (hare moong)
  • Pigeon Peas, split (arhar, tuvar, toor) 
  • Yellow split Peas

Spice Blends

Commercial curry powder isn’t really used in India as people vary their spice combinations to suit different dishes they cook. If you're going to buy some ready-made curry powders, you might want to get them from a reputable spice merchant or specialty Indian grocer. Making up your own spice mix is an art, but a lot of fun to make!

Common Spices 

  • Cumin seeds or powder
  • Nigella seeds
  • Mustard seeds (black, brown, yellow)
  • Black peppercorns
  • Green and black cardamom pods
  • Cinnamon- whole sticks and powder
  • Chilli - fresh green or red, dried whole or powder
  • Cloves
  • Coriander seeds
  • Curry leaves - fresh or dry
  • Fennel seeds
  • Fenugreek
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric, ground
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