There are so many different types of Indian food because the subcontinent is so huge. However, the Indian food that most Westerners know has a lot of similar ingredients in different combinations and different level of spiciness. If you love Indian food and want to try to make it yourself at home, you need to start with these pantry staples.
Spices are everything in Indian cooking. They are what brings life to each dish in its own unique way. Some of the most essential spices are cardamom pods, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garam masala, and curry powder. Garam masala is something that changes from family to family, but you can usually find it at the grocery store or make it yourself at home.
A lot of Indian dishes are vegetarian for religious purposes, so they use a lot of legumes in their dishes. Some basic things to have in your pantry are chickpeas and lentils, both which are used very often in different dishes and curries.
Rice is served almost always with Indian food, so it’s essential you have it on hand. If you want to be a little healthier, you can also get the whole wheat variety.