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Langar Cooking Terms

Sikhism Food Glossary


Have you ever felt like you needed a Sikhism food glossary?

The Sikh tradition of sharing food in the Guru's free kitchen, or langar is based on "vand chakko" one of three basic principles on which Sikhism is founded. Every Sikh gurdwara has a langar hall where volunteers provide, prepare and serve free food along with each worship service. Sikhism began in Punjab, India and although it has spread throughout the world, the vast majority of Sikhs, even those who are fluent in English, use Punjabi language when preparing and serving Indian food langar at home or in the gurdwara. This glossary of cooking terms, and ingredients, features basic food related Punjabi words with English meanings commonly used in langar recipes and preparation. Common Punjabi, or Gurmukhi, spellings for Indian food terms are given in bold, with phonetic pronunciation in parenthesis, followed by English definitions.

Basic Sikhism Food Terms

Wedding Langar
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Bibek - Conscious cooking.
Chaki (chakee, chakhee)- Taste.
Chhaknnaa - Eat until filled.
Langar - Kitchen, dining, food.
Khaana (khaannaa) - Eat, food.
Peena (peennaa) - Drink.

Cooking, Cookware and Utensils

SikhiStore.com Sarbloh Bata and Spoon
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Bata, Batta (aa) - Bowl, basin.
Belnaa (baelnnaa) - Rolling pin.
Chamcha (aa) - Spoon or ladle.
Dabba (ddabbaa) - Small box, lunch box, lunch tin, spice tin.
Deg, Degh - Cauldron, kitchen, also may refer to prashad.
Handi - Clay kettle.
Karhahi, karahee Kadai (ee) - Frying pan, or boiling pan.
Karchh, Karhchhaa, Karchhi (ee) - A long handled iron ladle, skimmer, flat spatula or spoon used for cooking.
Karhna (aa) - To boil.
Karhni (ee) - Clay pot for boiling milk.
Kaul - Cup or bowl.
Kauli (ee) - Small cup or bowl.
Kauri (ee) - Small clay pot.
Pateela - Cooking Pot.
Sarbloh - All iron.
Taal, Thal (thaal) - Plate, platter, salver.
Talnaa - Fry.
Tava, Tawa (aa) - Flat iron pan with slight curve for cooking flat bread.
Tota (ttottaa) - Chop, cut, slice.

Beverage Drinks and Dairy Foods

Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Chai, Cha - Tea.
Dahi (dahee) - Yogurt.
Dudh - Milk.
Garam Dudh - Hot or spiced milk.
Ghee - Clarified butter.
Jal - Water.
Lassi (ee) - Flavored Yogurt beverage.
Malai - Cream, skin of boiled milk.
Matha (matthaa) - Butter milk.
Pani (paannee) - Water.
Panir (paneer) - Fresh pressed cottage cheese.
Raita (aa) - Spiced yogurt with cucumber or other vegetables.

Flat Bread and Flour

Crispy Poori
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Atta, Aata (aatt-ttaa) - Wholegrain flour, or dough.
Besan - Chickpea flour.
Chapati, Chupati (ee) - Unleavened flat bread.
Maida (maiddaa) - White all purpose flour, refined, finely ground, and processed or sifted to remove bran.
Makki (ee), Makai (muckai-ee) - Corn meal or corn flour.
Naan - Baked flat bread.
Paratha (aa) - Filled or stuffed flat bread.
Pera (aa) - A piece, or lump, of dough rolled into a ball.
Phulka (aa) - Wafer thin lightweight flat bread.
Poori (ee) - Deep fried flat bread.
Prashada (aa) - Blessed flat bread.
Roti (ee) - Flat bread, food, sustenance.


Basmati Rice With Tofu and Vegetables
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Basmati (ee) - Fragrant long grain rice.
Chaval, Chawal, Chaawal - Rice of all types.
Karhi (ee) - Gruel, hot cereal.
Khichri, Khichdi (ee) - Rice cooked with daal, and often vegetables.
Moth (moat-h) - Grain, gram, pulse.
Pulao - Rice and vegetables cooked together.
Sooji, Suji (ee) - Granulated wheat, Cream of Wheat.

Beans, Legumes and Lentils

Chole - Soaked Chanas Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Chana (aa) - Chickpea, garbanzo.
Chana Dal - Split chickpea.
Chole - Chickpeas, garbanzo beans.
Dal, Daal, Dhal (ddhaal) - A variety of split lentils, pulses and grams.
Gram - Bean, legume, lentil, pea, pulse. Rajma (aa) - Large red kidney bean.
Moongi (ee) - Mung bean.
Moong-Phali (ee) - Peanut.
Moth (moat-h) - Bean, grain, gram, legume, lentil, pulse. Small brown oblong legume, red gram daal.
Moti (ee) - Fat round bean.

Pulse - Seeds from the pod of a legume plant such as beans, grams, lentils, peas.


Chukandar Beet Roots
Photo © [S Khalsa]

Aloo - Potato.
Bhaingan - Eggplant.
Chole - Chickpea curry.
Chukandar - Beet.
Gajar (gaajar) - Carrot
Gobi (gobee) - Cauliflower, cabbage.
Kadu (kaddoo) - Pumpkin, squash.
Karela (aa) - Bitter melon, bitter gourd.
Kheera (aa) - Cucumber.
Mattar - Green peas.
Muli (moolee) - Daikon radish.
Palak - Spinach.
Sabji (ee) - Any vegetable, (cooked).
Sarhon, Shalgam - Turnip.
Saag - Greens, mustard, spinach etc. (cooked to a paste).
Tamatar (ttamattar) - Tomato.
Tikka, Tikki - Small fried cake, patty, or ball (ex. aloo tikki).


Achaar - Lemon Pickle
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Achaar - Pickle (pickled lemon, mango etc).
Amb - Mango.
Anaar - Pomegranate.
Angoor - Grape.
Aaroo - Peach.
Kelaa - Banana.
Kharboocha - Melon.
Matira (matheeraa) - Water melon.
Nimbu (oo) – Lemon, lime.
Phal - Fruit.
Saeb - Apple.


Besan Barfi Made With Butter
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Barfi, Burfee - Fudge, sweet cake.
Besan Barfi - Chickpea fudge.
Bhini (bhinee) - Whole wheat nut and fruit breakfast sweet.
Chasni (chasnee) - Sugar syrup.
Gajrela (aa) - Carrot pudding.
Gulab Jaman - Soft Round fried pastry deep like a fried doughnut hole with consistency of a pancake and soaked in rose flavored syrup.
Gur, Gud (good) - Unprocessed brown cane sugar.
Jalebi (ee) - Deep fried sweet dripped into hot oil forming a swirled pretzel shape soaked in sugar syrup.
Halwa (halvwaa) - Pudding like confection made with butter (ghee), sugar and flour, (or other main ingredient).
Kheer - Rice pudding.
Ladoo, Laddu (laddoo) - Rolled confection with a round shape.
Mathiai (matthiaaee) - Sweets, pastries, comfits, anything sweetens with sugar.
Mittha (aa) - Sweets.
Prashad - Sacred pudding.
Sakhar Pera (aa) - Sugar lump, sugar ball, deep fried crispy doughnut hole.

Salty or Savory Snacks

Pakora Seva
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Boondi (ee) - A drop of fried chickpea batter forming a tiny ball.
Chaat - Various kinds of fried fritter savory snacks and appetizers made with or without black salt as a spice ingredient. Matthi (ee) - Salty fried wheat flour fritter snack.
Pakora (aa) - Fritters, vegetables deep fried in besan batter.
Samosa (aa) - Deep fried crust filled with spiced potato and peas.

Spices and Seasoning

Spice Box Masala Dabba
Photo © [S Khalsa]
Adrak - Fresh ginger.
Ajwain - Caraway seed.
Amchoor - Mango powder.
Chatni (ee) - Chutney relish.
Daal Chini (ee) - Cinnamon.
Dhania (aa) - Coriander, cilantro.
Ganda (aa) - Onion.
Garam - Hot or spicy.
Garam Masala (aa) - Spicy seasonings.
Haldi (ee) - Turmeric.
Ilachi, Eliachi - Cardamom.
Imli - Tamarind.
Jeera (aa) - Cumin seed.
Kadhi, Karhi, Kari (Kaaree) - Curry.
Laong, Laung - Clove.
Lassan - Garlic.
Loon - Salt.
Masala (aa) - Spices.
Methe, Methi (ee) - Fenugreek.
Mirch, Mircha, Mirchi (ee) - Chili, or pepper.
Hari Mirch - Green chili pepper.
Kali Mirch - Black pepper.
Laal Mirch - Red chili pepper.
Namak - Salt.
Saunf - Anise or fennel seed.
Sundh (sunddh) - Dry ginger.
Tarka (tarhkaa) - Fried seasonings and spices (onion, green chili, tomato, and turmeric etc.).
Til, Till - Sesame seed.

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