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Measurement and Conversions

It is important to weigh or measure all ingredients accurately, especially for beginners. There are cooks and chefs who seem to be able to produce good results by guesswork and intuition but they are generally people who have long experience of cooking, and have learnt by bitter experience and many failures.

Assorted Indian Spices

Weighing is more accurate than measuring but it is essential to buy a good pair of scales as they should last a lifetime. The only accurate way of measuring is to use a level measures ie. Level off to the top of the measure or spoon with knife. A heaped spoonful can contain anything from 2 to 4 times as much as a level spoonful. A good selection of measuring cups and spoons (as listed below) can be very handy.

  • 1 Cup (C)
  • 1/2 C
  • 1/3 C
  • 1/4 C
  • 1/8 C
  • 1 Tablespoon (tbsp or T)
  • 1 Teaspoon (tsp or t)
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp

A clear glass measuring cup is necessary to get precise liquid measurements.

Dry Ingredients - The most important thing to know about measuring dry ingredients is that they should be level with the top of your measuring cup. Dip your cup into the bin, fill to overflowing and level it off by sweeping the edge of a knife across the top. Spoon flour and similar ingredients into measuring cups. Do not scoop the ingredient using the cup itself because this “packs” the cup too much and the measurement won’t be precise. Be careful if you are using a cup larger than what is needed (as in a 1 cup measure to get 1/2 C worth of ingredients). The same leveling technique should be used with measuring spoons.

Tips : Measure dry ingredients over a plate or bowl so you can catch the excess and put it back in the container.

Most ingredients don't need to be packed into the measuring cup. Granulated sugar does it for you. Flour should actually be aerated of fluffed up before measuring. Brown sugar is the one exception, this you want to pack down while measuring in order to get the proper amount.

Measure liquids at eye level. In other words, place the cup on a flat surface and crouch down so your eyes are at the same level as the cup in order to check the accuracy of the amount in the cup.

To measure solid fats (shortening, butter etc.) : Most butter has measurements listed on the wrapper, so you can simply cut off the amount you need. If that information is not available, to measure fats accurately, pack them down in the cup to get rid of air pockets. It’s easier to pack fats at room temperature. Another method that works well for butter and especially shortening is water displacement (this works for any fraction of a cup measurement). For instance, if you need 1/2 C shortening fill a 1 cup measure 1/2 full with water. Carefully add shortening to the cup until the water reaches the top of the cup. Drain the water and use the shortening.





fl. oz.
fluid ounce

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Common Indian Ingredients Solid Measures

1 cup rice 200
1 cup ragi 200
1 cup soaked chana dal 180
1 cup soaked rice 200
1 cup soaked urad dal 160
1 cup whole wheat 180
1 cup juar 200
1 cup roasted coffee seeds 90
1 cup maize 200
1 cup moong dal 200
1 cup chana dal 190
1 cup soy beans 200
1 cup pepper 150
1 cup curry masala 100
1 cup cumin seeds 100
1 cup coriander seeds 100
1 cup fenugreek 140
1 cup chopped ginger 120
1 cup garlic flakes 140
1 cup sambar onions 140
1 cup butter 150
1 cup bread crumbs 70
1 cup minced meat 200
1 cup granulated sugar 160
1 cup roasted coffee seeds 90
1 cup curd 200
1 tsp sugar 5
1 tbsp flour 25
1 tbsp salt 10
1 tbsp mustard 5
1 cup coconut pieces 120
1 cup cashewnuts 130
1 cup almonds 140
1 cup poppy seeds (khuskhus) 130
1 cup peanuts 100
1 cup gingelly seeds 130
1 cup pomegranate seeds 120
1 cup mustard 150
1 cup flour 150
1 cup atta 120
1 cup red chili powder 100
1 cup besan 100
1 cup green chillies 60

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See Also

Temperature Measurements and Conversions
Weight Measurements and Conversions
Liquid Measurements and Conversions
Length Measurement and Conversions



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