Name of Indian dishes : translation most wanted ?

Paneer tikka? Palak kofta ?? Gobhi masala ???! You see these strange nouns in an Indian restaurant menu and you are wondering whether you are going to have a good meal today. That gibberish (not always translated into English) is often encountered by tourists in India.

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That’s why today we will demystify the menu of an Indian restaurant and ensure you a good lunch and/or dinner!

So let’s start from the beginning (the list is not exhaustive, spelling can vary from one restaurant to another) :


  • Chapati/Roti : loaf of bread baked in a pan
  • Naan : bread made from flour and yeast, baked (half leavened dough)
  • Parantha : flat bread made from wholewheat flour without yeast
  • Puri : bread baked with oil and pumped up
  • Papadam : crispy pancake made from lentils flour, flamecooked or oilcoocked. Sometimes flavoured with cumin or chili


  • Aloo : patatoes
  • Gazar : carrot
  • Gobhi : cauliflower
  • Kadhai : pepper
  • Mutter : peas
  • Palak : spinach


  • Achari : very spicy condiment made ​​of fruits and vegetables
  • Adraki : ginger
  • Dahi : yogurt, plain or basic ingredient in curries cooking. Liquid, this is called lassi (see below)
  • Dal : very liquid lentils sauce
  • Dhaniya : coriander seeds
  • Ghee : butter buffalo milk
  • Jeera : cumin
  • Kali mirch : black pepper
  • Malai : cream
  • Pudhina : mint
  • Raita : white cheese with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers cut into small pieces


  • Bhujia : meat/vegetables/cheese browned
  • Cari/Curry : a dish cooked with a mix of different sauces
  • Kebabs : small pieces of chicken/fish/minced meat and even vegetables, marinated and spiced. Put in skewer and cooked in the tandoor (see below)
  • Kofta : mutton/chicken/fish or vegetable ball mixed with fresh herbs
  • Masala : spicies
  • Tandoori : cooked in the tandoor, that’s to say in a eathern oven with coal or wood
  • Tikka : small baked pieces of meat/vegetables/cheese


  • Aloo tikki : small burger with a fried potatoe steak
  • Butter chicken : butter chicken (it’s is easy!) flavored with curcumin, cumin, coriander, etc.
  • Biryani : a dish where the rice is cooked in the same time with meat (chicken, mutton)
  • Chana masala : a gravy dish with chickpeas
  • Dosai : a thin rolled pancake + 3-4 sauces (including must-have dal)
  • Masala dosai : a thin crepe stuffed with potatoes, cooked with spices and sauces
  • Momos (traditional Tibetan dish, but sold all over India): a kind of ravioli with vegetables or meat
  • Mutton korma : mutton with a creamy sauce flavored with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves
  • Pakora : pieces of cheese or vegetables surrounded by a light frying
  • Paneer : Indian cheese made from simple curd and drained milk, cooked in small pieces in vegetarian cuisine
  • Pulao : rice coocked with oil before being boiled, colored with curcuma
  • Roll : kind of spring roll with chicken/mutton/cheese or vegetables/mushrooms
  • Samosa : a triangle shaped broken dough with spiced vegetables
  • Shahi paneer : small pieces of cheese bathing in a creamy tomato sauce; little or not at all spicy
  • Thali : full meal of vegetables/meat, dal, rice, chapati, yogurt
  • Vadas : fried lentil/vegetables in a shape of small rings


  • Halwa : semolina baked in butter, flavored with cardamom
  • Kheer : rice flavoured with milk
  • Kulfi : Indian ice with pistachio/cardamom/saffron/almond/mango, etc.
  • Rasgulla/Roshogulla : cheese and flour dumpling boiled in sugar syrup flavoured with rose


  • Chaï : Indian tea with spices, milk and sugar
  • Lassi : sweet/salted yogurt (if sweet, it is flavored with rose, mango, etc)
  • Pani : water

That’s it, we have only to wish you to ENJOY YOUR MEAL !