Have you ever considered how many possibilities are out there when it comes to food? Veggies that are sweet or savory, dishes that can be eaten warm or cold, and ingredients that are a delicacy for someone but too bitter for someone else.
There are plenty of options in the kitchen, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out what to eat or how to prepare an ingredient. Especially if you want to try something new!
In this article, we’re giving you a list of foods that start with the letter I to inspire you to be adventurous and try out new flavors and dishes from all over the world.
The List: 34 Foods that Start with I
1. Ice Buko
Ice buko is a frozen Filipino dessert – also known as ice candy or popsicles– made from condensed milk, coconut strips, and coconut water. Enriched with different flavors like peanuts or fruits, this frozen candy is sweet, creamy, and perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day!
2. Ice Cream
This list could only continue with everyone’s favorite food: ice cream. Invented during the Roman Empire, ice cream is a frozen dessert eaten all over the world. It is made from milk or cream, mixed with a sweetener (usually sugar), and flavored with cocoa, vanilla, or other ingredients, like fruit and toffee.
Ice cream was brought to America in the late-1700s but became widely available only two centuries later when new freezing technologies made the production and storage of ice cream more efficient.
3. Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce used to be a classic side dish in every American restaurant. But with the popularity of dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, the good old iceberg lettuce has fallen from grace.
Declared unhealthy and unflavored, the iceberg lettuce can still be a great addition to your table! Mix it with romaine lettuce to give a twist to your Caesar salad or make a Mexican-inspired salad with iceberg lettuce black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, and jalapenos. There are plenty of ways to make iceberg lettuce fun and absolutely delicious.
4. Icebox Cake
If you are in Australia, you might know this dessert as a chocolate ripple cake or log. But the icebox cake is a classic American cake popularized in the 1920s and 1930s, when ice-boxes entered the kitchen as the newest appliance.
The icebox cake is super easy to make–and super delicious! You just need to combine chocolate wafers (the original recipe uses the dark Nabisco ones) with whipped cream to form logs to stack on top of each other. Let finished the cake rest in the freezer, and then enjoy
Icing – also called frosting – is that delicious creamy glaze that you can find on top of cakes and cookies. Let’s be honest: is a cake even a cake without icing? Made of sugar mixed with milk (or water), a good icing usually contains ingredients such as butter, egg whites, and flavorings such as vanilla extract to make it taste the best.
Lastly, add some food coloring for an extra wow effect!
Idiyappam, also known as nool puttu, is a typical South Indian rice noodle dish. Widely popular in South Eastern Asian countries as well, the “string hopper” (from the literal translation of the name) is served both for breakfast and dinner.
In its sweet version, idiyappam is eaten alongside coconut chutney, while in its savory one it is usually served with a curry. These noodles are perfect for soaking up delicious curry.
The Indian subcontinent has a lot of I-food for you to taste! Idli is a fluffy, steamed round cake made with lentil batter and fermented rice. It is a popular breakfast dish from South India. Urad dal or black gram lentils are used for making idli, and this dish is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
8. Idrijski žlikrofi
Idrijski žlikrofi is a typical pasta dish from Slovenia, specifically from the municipality of Idrija, from which this dish takes its name.
The žlikrofi are a dumpling-like pasta stuffed with potatoes, onions, and spices. The žlikrofi are usually served with a meat sauce (mutton or rabbit) or, in its vegetarian version, with melted butter and cheese.
Let’s explore Japanese cuisine: ikameshi is a dish of simmered squid filled with sweet rice. A regional dish from Hokkaido, ikameshi can be consumed both warm and cold, and it is prepared by removing the tentacles from the squid and cooking the rice in a dashi broth.
Ikameshi became popular during World War II– with a rice shortage, an ekiben vendor in the Mori Station decided to supplement rice bento boxes with the Japanese flying squid to ration supplies.
10. Ikan Bakar
Ikan bakar is a traditional dish from Indonesia and Malaysia. It consists of charcoal-grilled fish enriched, with a spice marinade and wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked on the grill. Grilled fish is one of the oldest ways to prepare this type of protein that is widely consumed in the Indonesian archipelago.
What makes ikan bakar special is the spice marinade and seasoning. Depending on the island, the spice mix varies slightly, but usually, it consists of a combination of shallot, garlic, chili pepper, coriander, tamarind, turmeric, and galangal. Serve your ikan bakar with a condiment of Malaysian sambal to render it extra special!
Ilama is a fruit that grows in Central America. This fruit goes by different names: in Guatemala, it is calledpapauce, while in El Salvador it is anona blanca. The most inventive name is the Mexican one: illamatzopotl, which can be translated as “old woman’s shoes”.
The ilama fruits are found in different shapes like a cone, heart, or ovular, as well as in different colors such as pink or green. Based on the color, the ilama fruit changes taste– the green-skinned one has white and sweet flesh, while the other variety is pink on the inside and has a tart taste.
Imagawayaki is a popular Japanese street snack, enjoyed for over 300 years. Similar to the most known dorayaki, imagawayaki is a pancake-like dessert, filled with sweet red bean paste. It’s cooked with a special cast-iron round grill pan–butter mix is poured in until crispy on the outside and softer on the inside, ready to be filled with the bean paste.
Imagawayaki is the name that this amazing dessert has in the Kanto region (Tokyo area), while in the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto area) it is called obanyaki.
It’s Indian, and–you guessed right–it’s sweet. Imarti is a typical dessert from the Rajasthan region. Imarti is quite similar, in taste and cooking method, to the famous jalebi.
Prepared with urad dal, corn flour, saffron, and edible food color, imarti is circular shaped and can be served both warm or cold. To accentuate the taste of this sweet, you can prepare it in ghee (Indian clarified butter).
14. Imbul Kiribath
Imbul kiribath is a delicious sweet enjoyed by many Sri Lankans. This milk rice cake is stuffed with coconut mixed with treacle and served during special occasions, because it is believed to bring good luck! Imbul kiribath is mostly a specialty of Sri Lankan grandmothers, and it’s traditionally shaped like a diamond.
15. Imli Chutney
Imli is the Hindi word for tamarind, which makes the main ingredient of this chutney. The imli chutney is served with Indian chaat snacks or fried snacks, like samosas. The consistency of this chutney is thick with a smooth texture.
And its deliciousness comes from its perfect balance of flavors: the sourness of the tamarind, the sweetness of the jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar), and the mild hotness coming from the ginger powder, all combined with cumin and red chili powder.
16. Impepata di Cozze
One of the most famous Southern Italian appetizers, impepata di cozze can be translated as “peppered mussels,” and it is made from these two ingredients. Easy and quick to prepare, super tasty, and cheap, you will find this dish in every seaside restaurant.
Sometimes it’s served with a few twists like the addition of parsley and freshly squeezed lemon. You should definitely try to make impepata di cozze at home.
Imqaret is a traditional Maltese sweet introduced to the island during the Arab invasion. The name refers to the Maltese word for diamond (maqrut), because of its typical shape (like the imbul kiribath!). Imqaret consists of a fried sweet pastry with a distinct anise scent, filled with a flavorful spiced date and citrusy paste.
Imqaret are usually served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with salted caramel. This decadent street food is super easy to make at home! Just mix together white flour, butter (or lard), icing sugar, water, aniseed, and baking soda, fry the dough, and your imqaret are ready!
18. Imsil Cheese
This cheese became popular in 1966, with an accompanying story – It goes that when a priest from Belgium living in the village of Imsil-gun, in South Korea, he started to make cheese from the leftover milk of his goats. He then set up a small cheese factory, which soon expanded nationwide making Imsil the country’s mecca of cheese.
The tiny village is now the main producer of this type of cheese in South Korea, being also a tourist attraction thanks to the Imsil Cheese Village and Cheese Theme Park.
Inarizushi is a particular type of sushi made without seafood. Its main ingredient is deep-fried tofu used as a pocket inside, which is then served with classic vinegared sushi rice.
The first presence of inarizushi can be traced back to the Edo period. It is one of the easiest sushi dishes to make at home – and, bonus, it’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
20. Inasal na Manok
A delicious chicken dish from the Philippines, inasal na manok is all about barbecue! The protein is marinated in vinegar, Philippine lime juice (called calamansi), lemongrass, and achiote oil, and then grilled over an open flame.
What is the secret to making the meat super juicy? Let the grilled chicken rest for five minutes before cutting and serving it!
21. Inca Bean
Native of South America, Inca beans are a great plant-based protein source. Like other types of beans, they need to be soaked in water before being cooked. If you want to speed up the process, pressure-cook the Inca beans, and then get creative in the kitchen! Inca beans are fantastic in in salads, in burritos or tacos, or hearty soup.
22. Indian Pea
Another entry on this list is a newly popularized plant-based protein! Great both fresh and frozen, this variety of peas grows in the Indian subcontinent, and they can be used to make side as well as main dishes. Fancy an interesting side? Try out some Indian spiced peas, and you can add everything you like: ground cumin, turmeric, coriander, garam masala… the more, the merrier.
Want to make an exceptional curry? Then try a recipe for Aloo Matar! This recipe from the Punjabi region, in the North of India, has Indian peas as one of two main ingredients (the other one: classic potatoes).
Inipit is a Filipino pastry whose name means “pressed in-between” in Tagalog dialect. The name of this dessert derives from its cooking process: made from flour, milk, and sugar, the cooked dough is shaped into two spongy cakes that are filled with potato custard. The vanilla flavor of the cakes, paired with the moist potato filling, creates a bakery item that is loved by kids and adults alike.
Injera is the typical flatbread widely used in North African countries, especially Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is a sort of sourdough flatbread that looks almost like a crepe. Injera is characterized by a spongy consistency and a tangy flavor that perfectly matches the strong and spicy flavors of North Africa’s cuisine.
Injera is not just bread: it is used as an eating utensil and as a plate. Usually, meat and/or veggies are placed on top of a large piece of injera, and diners tear off portions of the injera with their hands. The consistency of the injera comes from the special flour used to make it, called teff.
24. Insalata Caprese
Insalata Caprese (or “Caprese salad” in English) is an appetizer from South Italy. It has only a few raw ingredients and it is usually consumed during summer. Mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano, salt, and a generous drizzle of quality olive oil… and you are all set!
This salad was born in Capri in the 1920s, created inside the famous Hotel Quisisana for a dinner party organized for the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
25. Insalata di Polpo
Another seafood dish from Southern Italy, insalata di polpo is an octopus salad usually served as an appetizer (but also perfect as a light main course). This dish is a true pleasure for the tongue, combining the chewy texture of the octopus, thanks to its slow cooking, paired with the softness of the boiled potatoes, and enriched with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and parsley.
26. Insalata Russa
This Italian-style coleslaw is surrounded by an interesting controversy: in Italian, its name means “Russian salad,” but in Russia it is called “Olivier salad.” And–guess what–in Germany and Denmark it is named “Italian salad.” Besides the different names, the ingredients for this salad change based on which version you’d like to taste.
The Russian version has meat in it, while the Polish one uses apples and celery roots. The Italian version is vegetarian, and it is made from carrots, boiled potatoes, peas, and hard-boiled eggs.
Are you wondering what all these salads have in common? The key ingredient: mayonnaise! Try making one of every kind for a fun kitchen challenge.
27. Inun Unan
Inun nunan is a Filipino dish made from two main ingredients: fish and vinegar. It is super easy to make and super tasty! You can use whatever variety of fish you like: tuna, butterfish, bangus, tilapia… they all work perfectly in this dish.
To prepare your inun unan, place the onion, fish, ginger, whole peppercorn, water, and vinegar in a cooking pot. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15-ish minutes. At this point, you can add veggies if you like, and cook the mix more until all the water evaporates – your inun unan is ready to be served.
28. Irish Moss
Irish Moss is an edible red seaweed that grows along the Atlantic shorelines of the Caribbean Islands and the British Isles. Under the scientific name of Chondrus Crispus, Irish Moss is mainly made of carrageenan, a jelly-like substance that, properly refined and processed, can be used as a substitute for gelatin.
This alga makes perfect vegan desserts, ice creams, and incredibly nutritious drinks.
29. Iri Tamago
Iri tamago is the Japanese version of scrambled eggs. Also called soboro, this dish doesn’t require oil in the cooking process. Healthier than the “classic” version, iri tamago is usually used as a topping on dishes such as fried rice and sushi. To make iri tamago, you just need a few ingredients: eggs – of course – with soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
Iru is a condiment widely used in Nigerian cooking in Nigeria among the Yoruba and Edo people. Iru is made from the fermentation of locust beans, a plant native to the African continent.
Characterized by a pungent smell, fresh iru is used in a wide variety of dishes, from meat-based stew to vegetable soups. Dried iru has a milder flavor, and it is used in making cakes.
If you are in Sweden at Christmas time, you cannot miss tasting this candy! Ischoklad, which literally means “ice chocolate,” is a traditional German sweet made from only two ingredients: chocolate and coconut butter. The name ischoklad gives you an idea of this candy’s unique texture – it melts on your tongue like ice.
32. Iskilip Dolması
Iskilip dolması is a Turkish dish made from caramelized onions, rice, and lamb. Traditionally cooked in a copper pot or cloth bag, this recipe from the Ottoman Empire period is still cooked in large quantities and usually served during weddings. Each pot of iskilip dolması can feed up to 150 people!
Modern chefs have adapted the recipe to make it easier to cook it at home: first, sauté the onions in abundant butter until caramelized. Then add water to the pot and bring it to a boil, and then add the meat to the bottom of the pot and cover it with the hot butter mixture.
The rice as well is cooked in with the butter mixture, and then steamed over the cooking lamb. Cover the pot with the lid and let everything slow cook for many hours to make your iskilip dolması extra delicious!
Another “I”, another dessert! Also called ice scramble, iskrambol is the Filipino version of a Slushie made from frozen banana extract and condensed milk. The mixture is then topped with a variety of ingredients such as marshmallows, strawberry or chocolate syrup, or tapioca pearls.
Iskrambol is traditionally sold by street vendors outside schools because this colorful and cheap dessert is incredibly popular among children.
34. Israeli Salad
Evolved from a Turkish salad known as coban salatsi, this salad is widely spread throughout the Middle East, and goes by many different names. But the main ingredients for the Israeli salad are always the same: cucumbers and tomatoes, with a simply delicious dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
The Israeli salad is perfect to serve as a side dish but can be transformed into a main course by adding a protein and a carb of your choice.