Indian food staples

All generalization become inherently flawed when speaking of a cuisine as diverse as India’s. Yet, it can be said that the staples of the Indian diet are wheat,rice, lentils/beans.

This is a very brief primer on the various staples of Indian Cuisine.This isnt a comprehensive list; just what is most popular.

I. Wheat:


Wheat grain is crushed and milled into fine flour. Flour is then turned into dough to be made into rotis, naans and pooris.Whole-wheat flour is used in baking of breads and other baked goods, and also typically mixed with other lighter “white” unbleached or bleached flours (that have been treated with flour bleaching agent(s)) to restore nutrients to the white flours (especially fiber, protein, and vitamins), texture, and body that are lost in milling and other processing to the finished baked goods or other food(s).

II. Rice Varieties:

  1. Basmati Rice : Aromatic and long-grained; Said to have originated from Kashmir.Available in Brown and White.
  2. Sona Masoori Rice : Medium sized, aromatic, lightweight and low in starch; Grown and popular in the southern States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  3. Patna Rice: Long grained,slender and non-aromatic,its said to originate from the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Bihar.
  4. Matta Rice: Short,course and pink in color. Its popular in Kerala Cuisine.
  5. Sella Rice:Golden in color and popular in the northern state of Punjab.Used in the making of Pulavs and Biryanis.
  6. Surti Kloam: A Medium grain popular in the state of Gujurat. Its similar to another popular rice variety from Maharashtra called ‘Ambemohar’.

III.Lentil/Dal Varieties:

1.Urad dal -(Vigna mungo / Black Gram)

Vigna mungo, black gram, urad bean, minapa pappu, mungo bean or black matpe bean (māṣa) is a bean grown in the Indian subcontinent. At one time it was considered to belong to the same species as the mung bean. The product sold as black lentil is usually the whole urad bean, whereas the split bean (the interior being white) is called white lentil.




2.Toor daal – Pigeon Pea/Green Pea

The pigeon pea is known by numerous names with different etymologies, “tropical green pea”, gungo pea in Jamaica, ‘tuver’ ‘tour’or ‘arhar’ in India, ‘red gram’, and gandule bean.


3.Masoor Dal – Red Lentils

There are many different names in different parts of the world for the crop lentil. Here are just a few examples: lentil (English), adas (Arabic), mercimek (Turkey), messer (Ethiopia), masser or massur (India) and heramame (Japanese) are the most common names.


4.Mung Dal – Green Gram

The mung bean (Vigna radiata), alternatively known as the moong bean, green gram, or mung Sanskrit मुद्ग / mugda, is a plant species in the legume family.[3][4] The mung bean is mainly cultivated in Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.

5. Rajma Daal/Red Kidney Beans


Red kidney beans are commonly used in chili con carne and are an integral part of the cuisine in northern regions of India, where the beans are known as rajma and are used in a dish of the same name. Red kidney beans are used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice. The smaller, darker red beans are also used, particularly in Louisiana families with a recent Caribbean heritage