Indian cuisine, be it at a swanky restaurant or your corner takeout, is a feast for the senses. Replicate your favorite Indian flavors with these mouth-watering recipes. Bonus — Indian food is easily adaptable for vegetarians or vegans. So, if you have dietary restrictions, using coconut milk and oil in place of cream and ghee (clarified butter) can render most dishes friendly to a variety of dietary needs.
Each recipe in this list is designed for home cooks, so you won’t need to invest in a lot of special hardware or spices. Just use the equipment that you have on hand.
#1. Easy Raita
Raita is a versatile condiment that can be a sauce, dip, or side dish in its own right. Yogurt and cucumbers form the base of this refreshing sauce, and you can add herbs and vegetables, including finely chopped chilies or garam masala. It’s best served alongside spicy vindaloo or biryani to help cool down the spice from these dishes.
#2. Chickpea Salad
This light and flavorful salad featuring chickpeas and veggies can be a main dish or an appetizer that is rich in proteins and nutrients. If using canned chickpeas, your prep time will be however long it takes you to chop a few veggies. Serve with salt and pepper and a drizzle of lime juice to taste.
Crunchy, savory, and loaded with potatoes, peas, and spices, vegetable samosas are not only a popular street food but also make for great sit-down dinner fare. Make your own dough or use pre-made wrappers, this recipe will ensure that your samosas are perfect every time. Serve with tangy tamarind chutney for a truly restaurant-worthy dish!
#4. Vegetable Pakora
These crispy, fried treats are perfect for dipping in your favorite chutney, and because they are made with rice and chickpea flour, they are a gluten-free snack. This recipe uses a variety of veggies — feel free to choose just one or get creative and pick an assortment. Slice the veg into strips or shred them for the best results.
Tender baby potatoes cooked with a ton of spices get a big thumbs up in this sauceless dish. The recipe gives directions for both a traditional stovetop preparation and an Instant Pot method. As for serving ideas, the options are endless — a side dish, part of your main course, an appetizer, or even for breakfast.
A bowl of cooling coconut rice can draw the heat from even the spiciest Indian dish! Enjoy with curries or vindaloo, or as a slightly sweet side dish. This vegan dish is so tasty that you don’t even have to limit serving it with Indian food; it would be a great addition to any potluck.
Like pakora, onion bhajis are a popular street food as well as a restaurant appetizer. Made with thinly diced onions and shallots, a combination of flours, and spices, these yummy little treats pack a punch of savory flavors. Serve with a refreshing coriander and mint chutney to accompany the spices.
Originating from Western India, this hot, sweet, and sour mango pickle is excellent to eat with rice, assorted flatbreads, or even on sandwiches. While authentic mango pickle takes almost a month to make, this version can be made in under two hours. Be sure to adjust the chili accordingly if you want flavor without quite as much spice.
This summer, when you’re wondering what to make with the pounds of tomatoes from your garden, why not turn it into a tangy and spicy tomato chutney. Ripe tomatoes are cooked with a variety of spices until they’re soft and pulpy. It’s amazing on samosas or naan, with daal, or even as a spread on your charcuterie board.
If you’ve been searching for a hearty potato dish that can double as a side or an entree and is also vegetarian as well as gluten-free, this is it. Use new potatoes for easy prep work, or simply cut larger potatoes into chunks. Serve this creamy curry with rice or bread.
Whether you use store-bought paneer or make your own (it’s easy!), you’ll love this Indian street food that’s comparable to mozzarella sticks. But these paneer pakoras, with its light and crispy batter that also helps the cheese keep its shape, might just have the upper hand. Serve hot with your favorite fruit chutney.
#12. Perfect Basmati Rice
Learn how to make perfect basmati that is fluffy, separated, and light each time! This long-grain aromatic rice cooks like pasta; it will experience carryover cooking so be sure to follow the directions. Dress your basmati up with some cardamom pods or cloves for added aroma and top with a drizzle of ghee for extra yum!
#13. Lemon Rice
A South Indian staple, lemon rice is a flavorful dish that you can make as a snack or as part of a large meal. Other than lemon, turmeric, and curry leaves, this recipe traditionally uses peanuts and golden raisins, but you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit you have on hand. Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.
Another popular dish from South India, pulihora, also known as tamarind rice, is often prepared for festivals and is also part of regular meals. It is spicy and sour, thanks to green and red chilies and tamarind pulp. Enjoy with a side of yogurt and dried chilies.
#15. Stuffed Paratha
Naan may be the most popular Indian bread, but paratha is arguably the most delicious. There are variations of paratha available throughout India, but this recipe presents a classic potato paratha, a popular breakfast or snack in the Punjab region. Made with whole wheat flour, these parathas are filled with potatoes and spices. Serve with Indian pickle or unsalted butter.
A classic Indian flatbread, no Indian takeout is complete without buttery naan. Traditionally, naan is brushed with ghee before baking in a tandoor oven. But with this recipe, you can make naan in a heavy pan and get the same fluffy, chewy consistency we all know and love!
#17. Lamb Rogan Josh
With origins in Kashmir, rogan josh is an aromatic succulent lamb dish cooked with a variety of spices in a tomato-based sauce. It might seem like there are a lot of steps to this recipe, but don’t let all the prep stop you. One bite of this flavor-packed fork-tender meat makes it all worth it!
Often the first Indian dish many Americans try, butter chicken is both an Indian classic and an American favorite. Made with yogurt-marinated chicken cooked slowly in tomato puree, various spices and herbs, and lots of butter, this creamy dish is best served with hot naan or rice.
#19. Chicken Pasanda
If you’re a curry novice, be it with cooking or eating, it doesn’t get much easier than this creamy curry. The sauce is made with yogurt, spices, cream, and ground almonds. The mild spices lend excellent flavor without being too spicy. It doesn’t include any tomato puree or coconut milk, and yet your dish is still incredibly creamy.
#20. Sweet Potato Masala
You may wonder why anyone would prefer sweet potato masala over a version with meat. One bite of this sweet and spicy dish will tell you just why! The sweet potatoes are tender yet firm and are cooked with a variety of spices like mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilies, and turmeric. It’s a great snack that is as healthy as it is delicious.
#21. Easy Chana Saag
Here’s an easy, fast, and filling dish to add to your vegetarian menu. Chana saag, or chickpeas and spinach, is a protein-rich meal made with simple ingredients. Garam masala is the main spice that can be made mild or spicy. Make sure you chop up the spinach so it doesn’t cling together in the sauce.
Sweet, spicy, and made with Kashmiri chili powder, this incredible chicken dish is rich and full of layered flavors. Roasted almonds and raisins are ground to form a thick, tasty sauce. Use boneless or bone-in chicken; breasts or thighs make no difference, and you could even use paneer or chickpeas for a vegetarian choice.
A classic comfort food, daal makhani, or Madras lentils, is a popular North Indian staple that can be found on most restaurant menus. Prepare on the stove or in an Instant Pot, and serve with rice or bread and an Indian salad for a complete meal.
#24. Lamb Vindaloo
Hailing from Goa, vindaloo is a flavor-packed dish featuring meat and potatoes, though this version skips the potatoes. This dish is heavily influenced by Portuguese cooking and uses a variety of full-flavored spices. While this recipe is relatively mild, vindaloo is best enjoyed very spicy with rice and raita.
A gluten-free sweet treat, ladoo is a very popular Indian dessert. Ladoo is made from a cooked dough of sugar, coconut, almond flakes, and cardamom seeds. You can hand-roll the dough or use a cookie scoop for a mess-free process. Roll the balls in toasted coconut flakes to add more flavor and texture.
Shredded carrots cooked with milk, sugar, and ghee, “halwa” is a thick, custard-like sweet dish that is lightly flavored with aromatic spices. Traditionally, the carrots are slowly cooked over medium heat with full-fat milk and sugar until the milk is absorbed, but this recipe presents an easier, quicker version. Enjoy this decadent dessert with toasted nuts.
#27. Spiced Coffee Kulfi
Kulfi is a frozen dessert much like ice cream, but it’s quite incomparable to it. The perfect kulfi contains ice crystals, which form when you let it freeze without stirring or churning. This nutty, spiced version is made with milk, cream, coffee, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, and toasted hazelnuts. Simply make the base before pouring into molds or ramekins, and freeze.
#28. Rava Dhokla
Rava dhokla is a savory pastry that is a breakfast or snack time favorite. These soft and fluffy cakes are steamed and best enjoyed with some savory chutney or pickle and a steaming hot cup of chai. This “instant” version doesn’t need to ferment. Simply mix your ingredients, steam in an Instant Pot, and serve!
The keys to making these delightful fried dough balls are threefold: use semolina in addition to flour to avoid gluten formation, make sure the outsides are moist before frying, and add some acid to the syrup to prevent crystallization. Sweet, soft, and doused in sticky syrup, these gulab jamuns will disappear before you know it.
The perfect dessert to end a full Indian meal, kheer is a delicious basmati rice pudding. The best kheer is mildly sweet and has the consistency of just-cooked tapioca pudding. Add golden raisins and almonds or pistachios for sweetness and crunch, but watch out for stray cardamom pods; they add great flavor but aren’t so good when accidentally bitten into!