Vedic Sanskrit Glossary - C -
Caitanya Mahāprabhu — (Caitanyadeva)
The form in which the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa made His advent in
1486 at Māyāpura, West Bengal, and acted in the guise of His own
devotee. He taught the pure worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, primarily by saṅkīrtana, the congregational chanting of Their names.
* Caitanya Mahāprabhu, (1486-1534) — Lord
Kṛṣṇa in the aspect of His own devotee. He appeared in Navadvīpa, West
Bengal, and inaugurated the congregational chanting of the holy names of
the Lord to teach pure love of God by means of saṅkīrtana. Lord Caitanya is understood by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas to be Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself.
* caitanya — living force.
* Caitanya-caritāmṛta — translated
as “the character of the living force in immortality,” it is the title
of the authorized biography of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu written in the
late sixteenth century and compiled by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī,
presenting the Lord’s pastimes and teachings. Written in Bengali, with
many Sanskrit verses as well, it is regarded as the most authoritative
book on Lord Caitanya's life and teachings.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrī — The biography and philosophy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu written by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja Gosvāmī.
caitya-guru — The Supersoul.
* caitya-guru — the Supersoul, the expansion of Kṛṣṇa who is seated as the spiritual master within the heart of the living being.
* cakita — a position in which the heroine appears very afraid although she is not at all afraid.
cakora — Alectoris graeca, the Himalayan partridge, lover of the moon, said to feed on moonrays.
* cakora — a bird that drinks only water from the Śvāti Nakṣatra.
* Cakra (Sudarśana) — the disc weapon of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. On the top of Viṣṇu temples there is usually a cakra.
cakra — A wheel or disc. See Sudarśana cakra.
* cakra — one of six centers of vital energy located in the body; the wheel of Viṣṇu on top of temples.
cakravāka — A
variety of duck, legendary lovers who must sleep apart at night and
forever call to one another, “Cakava, may I come to you?” “No, Cakavī.”
cakravākī — The female of a particular species of duck.
* Cakravākī — the female counterpart of the cakra bird. When the male cakra bird and the female cakravākī bird are separated, they make mournful sounds during the night.
* cakravyūha — a formation of soldiers in the form of a cakra.
This formation was considered impenetrable, and only the most capable
warriors could penetrate it. Abhimanyu was killed while fighting in this
formation. His father, Arjuna, taught him how to enter, but he did not
know how to exit the gigantic formation.
cāmara — A
fan made from the hairs of a yak’s tail, usually bleached white. Used
in worship and the attendance of kings, it also has the practical
purpose of driving away flies.
* cāmara — a yak-tail fan used in Deity worship.
* Camasa Ṛṣi — one of the nine Yogendras.
camasa — Ritual cups made of wood, used for offering soma juice in Vedic sacrifices.
camatkāra — Astounding.
* campaka-puṣpa — a yellowish and very fragrant flower from the campaka tree. This flower is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa.
* camphor — a pure white crystalline powder derived from steam of the camphor tree, Cinnamomum camphera,
which in China and India. It is used in tiny amounts to flavour at some
Indian grocers and pharmacies. Indian milk sweets and puddings. It is
available regular Indian groceries.
Cāṇakya Paṇḍita — A legendary advisor to the Hindu king Chandragupta.
* Cāṇakya Paṇḍita — the brāhmaṇa
advisor to King Candragupta responsible for checking Alexander the
Great’s invasion of India. He is a famous author of books containing
aphorisms on politics and morality.
ca˝calā — Flickering, unsteady.
* Caṇḍakauśika — a muni
who blessed King Bāhadratha, the King of Magadha, with a child. The
child was born in two halves from each of the King’s queens. The two
halves were thrown in the forest where they were joined by a witch named
Jara. The child was later named Jarāsandha.
caṇḍāla — The most degraded class of man, an outcaste.
* caṇḍāla — an outcaste or untouchable; dog-eaters, the lowest class of human beings.
candana — Sandalwood, which may be ground into a cooling paste.
* candana — a cosmetic paste made from sandalwood; used in Deity worship.
* Candana-yātrā — a
twenty-one day festival held throughout India in the summer season.
During Candana-yātrā devotees anoint the Deities of the Lord with
shooting sandalwood paste.
candra — The moon and its presiding demigod, a son of the sage Atri.
* Candra — the demigod who rules the moon.
* Candragupta — a king of the Maurya dynasty in India. His armies repelled Alexander the Great’s advance into India.
candrakānta — Moonstone.
* Candraloka — the moon planet.
* Candraśekhara Ācārya — a great householder devotee of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Candrāvalī — One of the principal Vraja gopīs, the rival of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
candrāyaṇa — The
austere practice, often prescribed as atonement for major
transgressions, of restricting one’s eating for one month by taking only
one handful of food the first day, increasing one handful more each day
for two weeks, and then again decreasing by a handful a day for the
second two weeks.
* cannelini beans — the long, white
cannelini beans are probably used more than any other dried beans in
Italian dishes. They resemble dried white haricot (navy) beans, although
they are smaller. Soaked and boiled in water until soft they feature in
many vegetable dishes and soups
Cāṇūra — A wrestler of Mathurā ordered by Kaṁsa to kill Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Kṛṣṇa wrestled him in Kaṁsa’s arena and killed him.
* cāpalya — impudence, a vyabhicāri-bhāva.
* capātī — a flat bread made from whole-wheat flour.
* capers — the pickled flower buds of the wild Mediterranean bush Capparis rupestris.
Capers have been used as a condiment for thousands of years, and today
feature especially in French and Italian cuisine. They have a distinct
sour, salty flavour and are featured in this book in Tartare Sauce.
* Cāraṇaloka — the heavenly planet of the Cāraṇa demigods.
caraṇāmṛta — The
water that has bathed the feet of the Supreme Lord or His devotee. One
honors caraṇāmṛta, normally collected after the daily worship of the
Deity, by sipping it and sprinkling it on one’s head.
* Caraṇāmṛta — remnants of water and other liquids used for bathing the Deity and then been mixed with yogurt and sugar.
Cāraṇas — A class of minor demigods who specialize in reciting praises.
* caraway seeds — Caraway seeds are the fruits of the hardy biennial herb Carum carvi,
a native of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The brown seeds are curved
and tapered at each end, and are sometimes mistaken for cumin seeds,
although they taste quite different. Caraway seeds are warm, sweet,
biting, and pleasantly acrid. They are a favourite flavouring for many
kinds of rye bread and are also widely used in cheese,
* cardamom — the aromatic seeds of the fruit of the tropical plant Elettaria cardamomum,
a member of the ginger family which grows in the moist tropical regions
of South India and Śrī Lanka. Cardamom is the world's third most costly
spice, topped only by saffron and vanilla. The odour and flavour of
cardamom is quite pronounced — reminiscent of lemon rind and eucalyptus.
Cardamom is popular in some Middle Eastern dishes. In Indian cuisine,
cardamom is used in rice dishes, milk sweets, and halava. It is
also chewed as a breath freshener and digestive aid after a meal.
Cardamom is available in the pod (green or bleached), as decorticated
seeds (the outer shell having been removed), or powdered. It is
suggested you shun the latter two forms and purchase whole pods,
available at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores, for the freshest
and most flavoursome cardamom seeds.
* Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881) — a
Scottish historian and social critic who was an important philosophical
moralist of the early Victorian age. He was opposed to empiricism,
mechanism and materialism.
* carob — the edible beans
of the carob tree, a legume belonging to the locust family. The beans
grown on this tall evergreen tree are dried, ground into powder, and
used as one would use Carob cocoa. Carob powder is rich in protein and
is delicious in confectionery. It also contains pectin, which is an
excellent tonic for the stomach. Carob powder is available at health
food stores and specialty shops.
* Cārvāka Muni — the originator of hedonistic philosophy.
* Cārvāka — a Rākṣasa, who was a close friend of Duryodhana. He took the form of a brāhmaṇa and tried to condemn Yudhiṣṭhira as an enemy of the people. He was recognized by the brāhmaṇas who then chanted mantras turning him into ashes.
catuḥ-ślokī — The four core verses of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2. 9. 33-36), spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā at the beginning of creation.
* Catuḥ-ślokī — the four verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.33-36), spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, that summarize the entire philosophy of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Catuḥsana — The four Kumāras.
* Catuḥsana — the four Kumāras.
* catur-hotra — the four kinds of fire sacrifices prescribed in the Vedas for purification of fruitive activities.
* cātur-varṇyam — the four occupational divisions of society (brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, and śūdras).
* Catur-vyūha — the quadruple expansions of Kṛṣṇa who predominate over the Vaikuṇṭha planets.
catur-vyūha — The principal expansions of the Supreme Lord in Vaikuṇṭha. The first four vyūhas
are Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. The original
Vāsudeva and Saṅkarṣana are Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma as They appear in Mathurā
and Dvārakā, and the original Pradyumna and Aniruddha are Kṛṣṇa’s first
son and grandson.
* Caturdaśī — the fourteenth day of the waxing and waning moon.
cāturmāsya — the
four months of the rainy season in India (approximately July, August,
September, and October). During this period, there are certain rules and
regulations which are strictly followed to decrease sense enjoyment and
increase remembrance of the Lord.
* Cāturmāsya — the four months of the rainy season in India, when sannyāsīs do not travel. Devotees observe special vows of austerity during this time.
Caturmukha — ” Four-headed” Brahmā.
* Causal Ocean — the ocean in which all the universes are floating. See: Kāraṇa Ocean.
Causal Ocean — The
substance (originally a cloudlike darkness in one corner of the
spiritual sky in Vaikuṇṭha) from which the material world is created.
Prakṛti, material nature, resides eternally within it. To initiate the
material creation, Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu glances at Prakṛti, thus agitating
her to begin expanding the material elements. Viewed from inside the
material universe, the same Causal Ocean appears like a surrounding
shell of water and is named the river Virajā.
* cayenne pepper — the orange-red to deep-red powder derived from small, sun-dried, pungent red chili peppers (Capsicum frutescens).
This bitingly hot condiment should be used with restraint, for a small
amount will add considerable zest and flavour to dishes. It's used in a
number of hot dishes, notably in Mexican and Indian cuisine. Cayenne is
available from supermarkets or well-stocked grocers.
* Cedirāja — the king of Cedi; also known as Śiśupāla. Lord Kṛṣṇa killed him because of his blasphemy.
* Cekitāna — a warrior of the Yadu dynasty. He was killed by Duryodhana during the Kurukṣetra war. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* cetana — a conscious living entity.
Chadar — A shawl.
* chadar — cotton or wool cloth worn on the upper half of the body, also worn by temple priests during worship.
* chai — tea.
* chaitya — Buddhist temple. Buddhist hall of worship.
* Chakra — disc weapon of Lord Viṣṇu.
* chalo, chalo — let's go, let's go.
* chamara — a yak-tail wisk or fan.
chameli — Jasminium sambac, Arabian jasmine.
* chamomile — both
Roman and German chamomile grow wild over much of Europe and temperate
Asia. An aromatic herb with a delicate flavour and fruity aroma
reminiscent of apples, it is made from the dried flower heads of Roman
chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). Taken as a tea, it is good for
relieving colic and flatulence and is a stomach tonic. It is available
at any well-stocked supermarket or health food shop.
champaka — Michelia champaka, a large tree with fragrant, pale yellow flowers. A type of jasmine.
* chana dal — Husked,
split whole dried brown chickpeas (a relative of the common chickpea).
They are very popular in Indian cuisine, especially in dal dishes and savouries, being tasty, nutritious, and easy to digest. Chana dal is roasted and ground into chickpea flour (besan) and used throughout India for savouries and sweets. Chana dal is available at Indian grocery stores. See also: Chickpea flour
* chandas — the different meters of Vedic hymns.
* Chāndogya Upaniṣad — one of the principal Upaniṣads, philosophical portions of the Vedas.
* Chandra — the moon-god of the moon.
Chandragupta — A Hindu king renowned through history for his social and political wisdom.
* channa — chick peas (garbanzo beans)
* channāvatāra — a concealed incarnation in disguise.
* Channing, William Ellery (1780-1842) — an
American theologian, founder of the Unitarian movement in New England.
He believed in both rationality and mysticism. He concluded that in
order for man to have a relationship with God He must be a person.
* chapati flour — made from ground whole wheat. See: Atta.
chapati — A whole-wheat, griddle-baked flatbread.
* chapati — flat, round whole-wheat unleavened Indian bread, cooked on a griddle and held over a flame until it inflates like a balloon.
* chappals — sandals.
* chat masala — a
traditional companion to freshly-cut fruit in Indian cuisine. This
lightbrown spice blend contains a number of ingredients, notably black
salt, mango powder, and asafoetida. Sprinkled on fruit with a few drops
of fresh lime juice, it makes a deliciously different dessert. Available
from Indian grocery stores.
chataka — Sparrow.
* chaukidar (chowkidar) — night watchman; guard.
chaukidar — A security guard.
chelā — Disciple.
* chervil — a close relative of cow parsley, lacy-leaved garden chervil (Anthriscus cerefoliumlisan)
annual plant mainly cultivated in France as a kitchen herb. Its flavour
is delicate and less robust than parsley, with the distinctive aroma of
anise. It is used raw, fresh, chopped, or broken into tiny sprigs. It
is generally not cooked, but sometimes it is added to a dish just before
serving. Chervil can be grown without difficulty in almost any garden
or window box, or can be purchased at, or ordered from, well-stocked
* chickpea flour — the finely milled pale yellow flour from ground, roasted chana dal. It is popular in Indian cuisine for making batter, as a binding agent, and in confectionery. It is also known as besan flour, gram flour, and peas meal, and is available at Indian grocers.
* chickpeas — known as garbanzos in Spanish speaking countries or ceci in Italy, chickpeas are the peas from the pods of the plant Cicer arietinum.
They are popular in India in their immature green state, whereas they
are commonly known outside of India in their dried state. These large,
lightbrown, wrinkled peas must be soaked before use, then boiled until
soft. They are used extensively in many cuisines around the world,
especially Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern. They are rich in
protein — 100 grams (3.5 ounces) cooked chickpeas contain 20 g protein.
Chickpeas provide nearly double the amount of iron and more vitamin C
than most legumes. Chickpeas are available at Continental, Indian, and
Middle Eastern grocers, and at well-stocked supermarkets.
* chili oil — a
fiery hot oil used in Chinese cooking. To make your own chili oil,
stir-fry 3 or 4 dried red chilies in a few tablespoons of oil over
moderate heat for 3 minutes. Strain the oil and use as required.
Alternatively, chili oil can be purchased at any Chinese or South East
* chilies, dried — the dried pods of plants of the genus Capsicum,
they are indigenous to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies and
much of South America. Dried chilies vary in size and heat, and can be
obtained whole or crushed. In Indian cuisine, chilies are sauteed in ghee or oil with other spices and added to dals, chutneys, and sauces to impart heat. Obtain dried red chilies at Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores, or at supermarkets.
* chilies, green — the
unripe green pods of various chili peppers are available in the markets
of most hot countries. Choose firm, green specimens. Fresh green
chilies have an advantage over dried chilies, as they impart a delicious
flavour as well as heat. The seeds are the hottest part, and often a
recipe calls for removing the seeds to tame the heat of the chili. Green
chilies are indispensable in Indian, Mexican, Indonesian, and Italian
dishes. Fresh chilies are also nutritious, being rich in vitamins A and
C. They also stimulate sluggish digestion. Fresh green chilies are
available at most greengrocers and supermarkets.
* choko — Used
in Mexican, Chinese, and Indonesian cooking, this delicate, pale-green,
pear-shaped vegetable, which is related to the gourd family, originally
came from Mexico, where it is known as chayote. When buying chokos,
look for young tender ones with pale, green, almost translucent skin.
The spikes on the skin should be short and soft. Chokos add a subtle
flavour and an apple-like texture to any dish.
* Cholas — South Indian rulers from the Tamil Nadu area.
* choli — sari blouse.
* chonki — a low wooden table.
Choṭa Haridāsa — An associate of Lord Caitanya.
* choti (coti) — Shikha; a tuft of hair worn at the back of the head of the braj area and by male Vaisnavisas.
* choultry — dharmashala in the south; pilgrim accommodation.
* choy boh — Preserved
turnips, used in Chinese and Japanese cooking. Sold ln small packets,
they are not expensive and will keep for a long time in the
refrigerator. Preserved turnips impart a pleasant, slightly salty
flavour to vegetable dishes and savouries. They're available at Asian
* choy sum — although this plant, also
known as Rape (its seeds are the source of Rapeseed oil) is grown in
various parts of the world, it is used extensively in Chinese and
Japanese cuisine as a vegetable. It is delicately flavoured, with yellow
flowers, succulent green stalks, and small brightgreen leaves branching
from a central stem. This attractive vegetable is available from
Chinese grocers all year round.
churna — A generic term for any of a variety of Ayurvedic medicinal herbal powders.
chyavan prash — An Ayurvedic herbal tonic paste.
* cid-vilāsa — spiritual pleasure.
* cinnamom — Cinnamomum zeylanicum
is a moderate-sized, bushy evergreen tree of the laurel family whose
dried inner bark is true cinnamon. Native to southern India and Śrī
Lanka, the thin bark sheaths are sun-dried and packed one inside the
other to produce “sticks” or “quills”. Confusion sometimes exists in
distinguishing cinnamon from cassia. In some countries, what is sold as
cinnamon is in fact cassia (cinnamomum cassia). Cassia is a
taller tree with smaller flowers and fruits than true cinnamon. In
general, cassia is prepared for the market, in much the same way as
cinnamon, and their flavours are similar, although cinnamon is less
pungent and more delicate than cassia. Cassia powder is reddish-brown,
while cinnamon powder is tan. Cinnamon or cassia sticks impart a sweet,
aromatic flavour to fancy Indian rice dishes, vegetables, and dals. Ground to a powder, cinnamon is an important ingredient in the North Indian spice blend garam masala.
Cinnamon also features extensively in Middle Eastern and European
cuisine. It is available at supermarkets and Indian and Middle Eastern
* cintā — anxiety, a vyabhicāri-bhāva.
cintāmaṇi — The mystic “philosopher’s stone,” which can produce anything one desires. In Vaikuṇṭha the land is made of cintāmaṇi stones.
* cintāmaṇi — a
spiritual mystically potent gemstone (“touchstone”), found in the
transcendental realm. It fulfills all the desires of one who possesses
it. When applied to a metal transforms it into gold.
cintāmaṇi-dhāma — The spiritual world, where everything is made of touchstone (cintāmaṇi).
* Cira-loka-pālas — permanent governors of the universe.
* cit — alive and conscious; the indiviual living beings; unlimited knowledge.
* cit-kaṇās — particles of spirit; the living entities.
* Cit-śakti — (cit — knowledge + sakti — potency) internal or enlightening knowledge potency of the Supreme Lord.
* Citrabāhu — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Citrabāna — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Citracāpa — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Citragupta — the personal secretary of Yamarāja, who is the lord of death. He records the living entities' pious and evil deeds.
* Citraka — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
Citraketu — A
sonless king at last blessed with a son, a son who died in infancy.
Enlightened by Nārada, Citraketu became spiritually advanced, but he
unintentionally insulted Lord Śiva and was cursed by Śiva’s consort.
Thus he took his next birth as the great demon Vṛtra.
* Citraketu — a member of the royal order who became fully enlightened in spiritual knowledge.
* Citrāṅga — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Śalya Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Citrāṅgadā — one of the wives of Arjuna. She was the daughter of the King of Maṇipura. Their son’s name was Babhruvāhana.
* Citrāṅgada — one of the sons of Mahārāja Śantanu by Satyavatī. He was killed by a Gandharva of the same name.
* Citrasena — a
Gandharva leader who was a friend of Arjuna and a son of Viśvā-vasu. He
received a weapon of fire from Arjuna, and helped the Pāṇḍavas when
Duryodhana tried to embarrass them at Dvaitavana.
* Citrasena — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Citravarma — one of the one hundred sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* citric acid — Powdered
citric acid crystals can be used as a souring agent preparing dishes
where moisture must be avoided. It is also effective in curdling milk
when making Home-made Curd Cheese (panir). These sugar-like white crystals are available at Indian grocery stores, supermarkets, and chemist shops.
* cloves — the dried nail-shaped buds from the evergreen tree Eugenia aromatica.
Clove trees are neat evergreens with aromatic pink Coriander buds.
These buds, when hand picked and dried, turn reddish brown to become the
cloves with which we are familiar. Good cloves should have a strong,
pungent, sweet aroma and flavour and should be well formed, plump, and
oily. Cloves have diverse uses in different cuisines of the world, being
used for cakes, tarts and pastries, fancy rice dishes, soup stocks,
sweet cooked fruits, and in various spice blends, including some North
Indian garam masalas. Cloves are available at supermarkets and Indian grocery stores.
* coconut cream — an
unsweetened, fatty coconut product sold in blocks in Asian and Western
supermarkets. Imparting a rich texture and coconut flavour, it is used
in varieties of sweet and savoury Indonesian, Thai, and occasionally
* coconut milk — known as santan
in Indonesian cooking, this creamy white liquid with a fresh, coconut
flavour is extracted from fresh coconut pulp and is used in varieties of
South East Asian and Indonesian dishes. It is available in cans from
supermarkets and Asian grocers.
* coconut oil — extracted
from coconut 'meat', this oil is solid white fat at room temperature
but clear when heated. It is used extensively in South Indian cuisine.
* coconut — the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera
is grown on tropical coasts all over the world and is the source of
many products. Most important are the nuts (technically called drupes in
this case). When coconuts are picked green, one can extract their sweet
juice as a beverage. The pulp inside is used in many South Indian
savoury dishes. When coconuts ripen on the tree, the picked fruits yield
moist, white “meat”, which is excellent in varieties of vegetable
dishes, savouries, rice dishes, sweets, chutneys, and beverages,
especially in Indian and South-East Asian cuisme. Dried coconut is
dessicated and is familiar in Western cuisine as an ingredient in sweets
and cakes. When a recipe calls for fresh coconut, dried dessicated
coconut is a poor substitute. Fresh coconuts are easily available in
tropical areas and can even be found for sale far from their place of
origin. These will be suitable as long as they are still full of juice
and have no cracks or signs of mould around their “eyes”. Once cracked
open, separated from their husk, and peeled, fresh coconut can be
sliced, grated, shredded, stored in the refrigerator for several days,
* coriander leaves, fresh — the fresh leaves of the hardy annual plant Coriandrum sativum.
Fresh coriander is one of the most commonly used flavouring herbs in
the world, certainly on par with parsley. It is found in markets
throughout the Middle East, China, South East Asia, India, and South and
Central America. Bunches of coriander can be recognized by their smell
and their fan-like lower leaves and feathery upper ones. Also known as cilantro, Chinese Parsley, and har dhania,
fresh coriander is a zesty and delicious addition to many varieties of
the world's cuisines. Its unique warm-bodied taste is found in Indian
vegetable dishes, dals, savouries, and fresh chutneys. It also
makes a very beautiful garnish. Purchase fresh coriander from Oriental
and Latin American grocers or well-stocked produce markets and
* coriander seeds — the seeds of the annual herb Coriandrum sativum.
Coriander seeds are a favourite flavouring spice in Indian, Cypriot,
and some Latin American (especially Peruvian) cuisines. They are almost
round, brown to yellowish-red, with a warm, distinctive fragrance and a
pleasant taste — mild and sweet yet slightly pungent, reminiscent of a
combination of sage and lemon. Coriander is available whole or ground,
although I recommend obtaining the whole seeds and grinding them
yourself when you need the freshest coriander flavour. Known as dhania
in Indian cuisine, coriander complements the flavour of many savoury
dishes. They are available at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
* corn meal — see: Polenta
* corn oil — Extracted
from maize, or corn, it is a light oil and one of the most unsaturated
of grain oils. It can be used as an alternative to olive oil as a salad
dressing ingredient, and since it has a high smoking point, it is an
excellent frying oil.
* cornflour — When I mention
cornflour in this book, I am referring to what Americans call
“cornstarch”, and not to the flour milled from corn. Cornflour,
sometimes referred to as wheat starch, is the dry white powdered starch
remaining when the protein has been removed from wheat flour. It is used
in many cuisines, especially Chinese, as a thickener for sauces. It is
available from any grocer or supermarket.
* couscous — a grain product made from semolina. It is also the name of the famous dish of which couscous is the main ingredient, being one of the most common and widely known North African Arab dishes.
* crore — ten million; one hundred lakhs.
* cumin seeds — the seeds of the small annual herb of the parsley family Cuminum cyminum.
Cumin seeds are oval and yellowish-brown, similar in appearance to the
caraway seed but longer. They have a warm, strongly aromatic, and
slightly bitter flavour and are used extensively in Indian, Middle
Eastern, and Latin American cuisine (especially in Mexican dishes). The
flavour and aroma of cumin, like most spice seeds, emerge best after
they have been dry-roasted or added to hot oil. In Indian cuisine cumin
is popular in vegetable dishes, yogurt based salads raitas, dals, and savouries. Cumin seeds can be obtained from any Indian or Middle Eastern grocer.
* curd cheese (Panir) — the
simplest type of unripened fresh cheese, produced by adding an acidic
curdling agent to boiled raw milk. This versatile food ingredient is
popular in all varieties of Indian cuisine, and it can also be used as a
substitute for tofu, feta, or farmer's cheese. It is high in protein, has a soft consistency, and is sweeter and creamier than tofu.
It can be cubed and deep-fried, and added to moist vegetable dishes and
rice dishes, crumbled into salads, kneaded and rolled into smooth
balls, and made into confectionery.
* curd — yogurt. See: above
* curry leaves — the thin, shiny, dark-green leaves of the South East Asian tree Murraya koenigii. Curry leaves are highly aromatic when fresh. Used especially in South Indian kitchens, they are generally sauteed in ghee with mustard seeds and asafoetida and added to dals,
fresh coconut chutney, or vegetable dishes. They are an important
ingredient in one variety of curry powder used in Tamil Nadu. Dried
leaves are inferior but sometimes all that is available. Obtain curry
leaves from Indian grocery stores.
* Cyavana — a son of Bhṛgu Muni and the author of a text on astronomy. He is one of the seven great sages of the second Manvantara.