Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
15 May 2013 - 7:04 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


A thick stew made of pulses that is a staple of Pakistani cooking. There are many varieties of dhal including urad, chana, mung, toor and masoor.


A round, flat unleavened bread popular throughout South Asian that is made from stone-ground, wholemeal flour traditionally known as atta flour. 


Pakistani basmati rice is aromatic and long grained and regarded as one of the finest in the world.


Black or brown cumin seeds are used in many dishes including curries, rice dishes, breads and chutney. The seeds can be ground or used whole.


Coriander is essential in all masala mixes. The seeds can be ground, or used whole.


Green cardamom pods are crushed to release the black seeds inside and are used extensively in Pakistani cuisine. Stronger in flavour, the brown variety is reserved for meat and vegetable dishes.

Garam masala

A mixture of roasted and ground spices that are used as a base for many dishes. Basic ingredients are typically cumin, coriander and turmeric, but other spices that may be included are peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg.

Dried plums

Dried Plums impart a sweet and sour flavour and are often used in dishes such as biryani.


The handpicked red stigma of the crocus flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and is believed to have been first cultivated in Kashmir in the 3rd century. Loved for its unique flavour and colouring ability, it is used extensively in curries, biryanis and in Pakistani sweets. 

Pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate seeds are used both whole and ground. Dried pomegranates have similar properties to dried plum, providing a sweet and sour flavour. 

Chaat masala

A sour blend of spices typically including amchur (dried green mango powder), dried ginger, cumin, coriander and black pepper and used in Pakistani cooking.