Playing the ingredient name game

The internet has done wonders to connect food lovers across the globe. In addition to website and blogs that share information from every country with the world, there are oodles of cookbook clubs that operate on social media no matter their location (like the EYB Cookbook Club and EYB Sweet Ottolenghi clubs). I belong to a handful of additional cookbook clubs, some of which are based in a different country. 

While I enjoy cooking along from books that come from abroad, it can lead to a bit of confusion for me when I encounter an unfamiliar ingredient. This happened recently when I saw several posts for a recipe that used a pepper called pul biber. Everyone said the dish was fantastic and that the pepper had the most amazing flavor. I thought to myself “I need to find that pepper and add it to my spice cabinet so I can make the recipe, too.” So I went online and searched for pul biber and, to my surprise, found that I already had it – only it was called Aleppo pepper here. (The people who posted about the recipe were right, though – it does have the most amazing flavor!)

chicken kebabs

In retrospect, I should have just browsed the EYB Library instead of heading to Google. The Library takes into account different names for many common ingredients. If you type pul biber into the search engine, for example, you will find recipes that call for the ingredient using either Aleppo pepper or pul biber. Of course we cannot account for every different ingredient name possibility (some are more obscure, like myrtle pepper as the alternate name for allspice), but most of the time we have it covered. In addition, the Library accounts for alternate spellings of ingredients, such as amchoor/amchur and mahlab/mahleb. 

Since having to stop and search for these ingredient names is a bit of a hassle, I thought it might be nice to post a list of the most common ones for ease of reference. If you find this information useful, set a bookmark to the page and you can pop over to it the next time you stumble across an ingredient with an unfamiliar name. If you know of others that should be added to the list, let me know! 

Herbs and spices

  • annatto/achiote
  • coriander leaves/cilantro/Chinese parsley
  • epazote/pigweed
  • grains of paradise/melegueta pepper/Guinea pepper
  • kaffir lime leaves/Indonesian lime/makrut
  • loomi/black lime/dried lime (see our Spice Support article)
  • nigella seeds/onion seeds/ black cumin/black caraway/fennel flower (see our blog post about nigella seed)
  • pul biber/Aleppo pepper
  • smoked paprika/pimenton

Fruits, vegetables, nuts and other items

  • arugula/rocket
  • broad bean/fava bean
  • broccoli rabe/rapini
  • butter bean/lima bean
  • celeriac/ celery root/ celery knob
  • chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • eggplant/aubergine
  • hazelnuts/filberts
  • icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar
  • Jerusalem artichoke/ sunchoke
  • lamb’s lettuce/rapunzel/mache/ field salad/ corn salad
  • ramp/wild leek
  • rutabaga/swede
  • sesame seeds/benne seeds
  • spring onions/green onions/scallions
  • sultanas/golden raisins
  • wood ear/cloud ear/tree ear/black fungus/jelly ear (mushrooms)
  • zucchini/courgette

Photo of  Yogurt-marinated chicken kebabs with aleppo pepper from Epicurious by Gourmet Magazine and Steven Raichlen

Post a comment


  • Braco777  on  May 30, 2019

    And the game goes on. If I may quote Wikipedia "Black cumin can refer to the seeds of either of two quite different plants, both of which are used as spices: …".
    The pics speak for themselves at

  • Maefleur  on  May 30, 2019

    When living in the northeast, i always knew rutabagas as yellow turnips. Had a hard time finding them when I moved to TX, until I realized they were called rutabagas.

  • hidburch  on  May 30, 2019

    Have you got a translation for liquid glucose? I see that a lot in British baking recipes. I think it’s equivalent to corn syrup, but I’ve never been able to confirm this.

  • lkgrover  on  May 30, 2019

    A few more:

    cranberry beans = borlotti beans
    endive (Belgian endive) = witlof
    Swiss chard = silverbeet

  • fathorsemama  on  May 30, 2019

    Fathorsemama I’m smoke: Brisket!

  • wester  on  May 30, 2019

    And related to pul biber / Aleppo pepper: Urfu chilli flakes, in Ottolenghi's fav ingredient list, are also known as isot biber.

  • mjes  on  May 31, 2019

    While some sources say grains of paradise/melegueta pepper/Guinea pepper. Wikipedia makes a distinction:

    Aframomum melegueta is a.k.a. grains of paradise/melequeta pepper/ Guinea GRAINS also in pod form for stews called alligator pepper

    Xylopia aethiopica is a.k.a. grains of Selim, Guinea PEPPER

    but see and

    Moral: when in doubt go to – its as close to comprehensive and authoritative that I've found. And yes, one fall I went searching for as many "black peppers" as I could find – cubeb, long pepper, alligator pepper, … I managed to lay my hands on 15 but could not track down some others.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!