If you have never tried Indian foods, you must definitely try them once in your life. Like other big Asian countries or cultures, Indian culinary culture also strongly influences other countries thanks to its richness and diversity.
They usually combine various exotic and unique spices to level up their culinary culture to another level. And below, I will introduce you to a few Indian dishes that will be worth trying if you have a chance. You definitely won’t regret taking my suggestions.
Top-Ranked Indian Dishes That Are Frequently Asked For
To start this list, I will introduce you to some of the famous Indian dishes that you can find in Indian restaurants. Wait and see what delicacies are waiting for you to explore.
1. Indian Flatbread (Naan)
Naan or Indian flatbread is made from various simple ingredients like flour, water, yogurt, and yeast. Indians will make the flour, let the mixed batter wait before flattening it up and baking it inside a traditional charcoal oven (tandoori).
There are many types of traditional naan, such as blank, Peshawar (with various dried foods or nuts), kulcha (mixed with tomato and onion), paneer (Indian style cheese), or keema (with lamb or goat meat). The taste of this dish also depends on the type you choose.
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Naan is one of the most versatile accompaniments in Indian cuisine. This bread can go with many other main dishes, so you will have many chances to try it whenever it comes to Indian foods.
2. Sweet Indian Milk Tea (Masala Chai)
Besides the main ingredients, which are plain milk, masala chai tea has a variety of additional components like black tea, ginger, and a range of masala spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.
In some variations, they will add some anise and coriander seeds. The above mixture of spices will help improve your immune system and warm you up. If you have a chance to go to India, you will find many small food stalls selling it on the street.
You can see this video to know more:
3. Yogurt-Based Drink (Lassi)
Lassi is an exotic Indian beverage made of fermented goat milk and is usually served cold when the heat strikes. There are three main types of lassi: plain, salted, and sweetened.
To flavor this appetizing drink, they will add some blended juice from native fruits in India. Thanks to that, the taste is more refreshing and brightening then ever. For a delicious breakfast in summer, add some peach to lassi – the flavor combination will be divine!
4. Indian Rice With Lentils (Khichdi)
As I have briefly introduced in the name, this food is made of rice, lentils, and other ingredients like mung beans or bajra (pearl millet). In India, parents usually feed their infants with Khidchdi because this dish is easy to digest.
Khichdi is also a prevalent food, and each place will have different ways to make this Indian dish stand out.
In Bengali cuisine, the dish is called Khichuri and contains aromatic rice and roasted moong dal. While some other places add vegetables to improve the food taste, Maharashtra will add some seafood or shrimp.
5. Curd Stuffed Deep-Fried Bread (Dahi Puri)
It is a famous street food throughout India that you can easily find at street food stalls (chaat). The sellers will pre-fried those hollow crusty round pastries (puri) at home before bringing them out to sell.
Besides the dense filling from mashed potatoes and peas, this food will also go with two sauces: brown (made of tamarind) or green (made of mint or other herbs). They will fill the puri with both filling and sauce, and you can have all of the taste in one bite.
6. Indian Rice Cake (Idli)
The next dish I want to introduce to you is an extremely popular breakfast dish in India that has its origin from ancient times. It may look quite simple, but the preparation will take a while because the rice part of the cake needs to be fermented.
As idli is made from fermented rice, it’s an ideal dish to make when there’s leftover rice. This will reduce the waiting time for the rice to ferment, and it can also cut down on food wastage.
Since it includes beans, rice, toppings/dip sauces, and a few spices depending on the regional variation, I can guarantee that this food with “I” as the starter won’t be boring.
7. Fried Flatbread With Lentil Soup (Sindhi Dal Pakwan)
Pakwan is special Indian bread variety to pair with the soup. They also love to enjoy this combo for breakfast because the taste is so pleasing that it can help you start a day with satisfaction.
The soup is time-consuming to prepare, so that they will make it the night before or can be found at many breakfast stalls. As a tourist, you can also try to start your day with this delicacy.
8. Fried/Baked Pastry With Sweet/Savory Fillings (Samosa)
You might have seen the variants of this food from other countries, but the Indian ones are genuinely distinctive. They are fried pastries with fillings and are usually eaten as a snack rather than a main dish.
However, on some occasions, samosa can be a fantastic side dish. You can serve samosa as scrumptious accompanying food for butter chicken. This is also an amazing appetizer to cook in air fryers, especially if you want to cut down the grease for a healthier lifestyle.
Samosa’s exterior will be made of all-purpose flour, and the fillings will vary from veggies (cauliflower, peas, potatoes), meat (lamb), and fish. Other sweet variants with coconut and Indian condensed milk (khoya) are perfect for a sweet tooth.
9. Indian Scrambled Egg (Egg Bhurji)
This egg bhurji or scrambled egg with vegetables (like bell peppers, tomatoes, and some herbs) will be a convenient Indian recipe for lunch.
Each component will be cooked separately, then served with paratha, hot chapati (some other variants of flatbreads), or buttered toast. The “formula” might seem basic, but the taste will be incredibly toothsome.
10. Vegetarian Hamburger (Vada Pav)
The food has many names; you can call it in various other names like vada pao, wada pav, wada pao, etc. It all refers to a famous street food originating from Mumbai streets in the 1960s and becoming a prevalent treat in Maharashtrian cuisine nowadays.
The meat patty-like part stuffed inside this delicious sandwich from India is actually potato balls. They are usually mixed with green chili and garlic chili sauce and fried until crispy brown. That is a delicacy you should definitely try once in a lifetime.
11. Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
This dish is quite similar to the famous chicken tikka masala since they are all curries and require tomato sauce as the soup base.
In this real Indian treat for dinners, the chicken meat will be tastefully tender and soaked with the tomatoes’ sourness and mild sweetness.
With the addition of full-cream milk and butter, the dish’s harmonization is effectively lifted thanks to the fatty, creamy tastes.
If you wonder how your beloved butter chicken is made, this guide will help!
12. Indian Crepe (Masala Dosa)
This Indian-style crepe consists of a crust made from rice flour and lentils (which is called “dosa”) fried until crispy golden brown and stuffed with mashed potatoes mixed with some spices (chana dal, mustard seeds, and so on).
If you don’t want your Masala Dosa to have potatoes, you still can have other options to add to this dish whose name starts with “M”. My top recommendation is cauliflower, but other vegetables are fine too.
Indians will love to use this dish for a light and quick breakfast. When eating, you will clearly feel the crispiness of the dosa and the fatness of the potato filling. The peppery notes from the spices mixed accentuate everything.
13. Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh)
Rogan josh is a famous dish in India’s Kashmir region. The curry originated in Persia with a braised lamb; when it arrived in India, they created another variant of goat meat besides the original one.
The main protein, lamb/goat, is usually marinated with various Indian signature spices, especially Kashmir pepper. Those things also help create the appealing red hot sauce that goes with the dish.
This stew will perfectly match with steaming hot Indian rice or naan, and I cannot wait to give it a try!
An alluring Rogan Josh dish is made like this! How stunning!
14. Lamb Curry Of Goa (Lamb Vindaloo)
This Indian lamb vindaloo is among the first ranks in the spiciest foods globally. This food beginning with “V” is a traditional pork dish of Goan people living on the Indian southwestern coast.
When coming to other parts of the country, the ingredients in this famous Goan dish are changed into lamb, prawns, chicken, or veggies to suit each region’s culture. The locals might also use more typical hot spices. All of that makes this dish also become even more prevalent.
If you want to have more exciting experiences with spicy dishes, this dish should be on the list to try.
15. Indian Chicken Rice (Chicken Tikka Biryani)
India is famous globally as the “kingdom of spices,” and this chicken biryani dish is not out of the list. It requires a lot of effort and ingredients to create a perfect biryani, but the tastes are genuinely pay-off.
The typically spongy basmati rice grains are cooked just enough and then well mixed with the main protein (seasoned, marinated, and processed extremely meticulously). The dish looks like a rustic aesthetic on the plate.
And because it needs time to prepare, this hearty dish is often used in family dinners or after prayer on weekends. However, believe me when I say chicken tikka is a worth-trying Indian first-course that will knock your socks off due to how delicious it tastes.
You can see this video to know more:
16. Fish Curry (Fish Masala)
I was immediately impressed by the fatty taste of coconut milk, the aromatic hint of methi leaves, a bit of fleshy, and the natural sweetness of fish on the first try.
All of the taste layers are mixed pleasingly to provide a delectable and appealing Indian curry that will delight even the most discerning palates. Ensure that you choose the fish you like among korameena, black sole, sardine, or mackerel since those are usually used.
17. Buttered Lentils (Dal Makhani)
The main ingredient in dal makhani is black beans (urad), kidney beans (rajma), butter, and cream. The components might be basic, yet the preparation process is quite lengthening that might last up to 24 hours.
Because of that, in the past, this dish was more frequently served on meaningful occasions like family gatherings or national holidays.
Nowadays, thanks to the development of technology, the cooking time is reduced to 2 or 3 hours only so that you can have it anytime when visiting this beautiful country.
You should refer to this instruction to make an easier veg dal makhani.
18. Indian Minced Chicken Skewer (Chicken Seekh Kebab)
To be honest, there are more than fifteen other types of kebab or grilled meat skewer, but I think seekh kebab is worth trying first. This is also a widely beloved dish in Bangladesh and many other countries due to its irresistible flavors and tender, yet juicy texture.
The meat will be mixed with various spices, put on the skewers, and grilled on charcoal or pan. You can be amazed at how juicy, flavorful, and delightful the chicken meat will be if it is the first time you give it a try.
Believe me; once you start with the first one, you will crave the next. The dish will taste even better if you enjoy it with a glass of classic Indian cocktail. Are you ready to try it as soon as possible?
19. Grilled Lamb Skewer (Lamb Kebab)
How about these lamb kebabs? The idea might be the same since both chicken seekh and lamb kebab are made of minced or ground meat mixed with spices. You can easily see the most apparent taste difference because of the main protein.
The yogurt marinade will allow you to enjoy the tender part of the meat while still preserving the distinctive grassy and robust lamb flavors. Remember to serve the food with fresh herbs and naan to enhance the refreshing feel and balance the whole experience.
Healthy Indian Delicacies You Should Take A Note
If you are not a fan of spicy or oily foods, the dishes in this category are for you. They will mainly be vegetables or healthier ingredients that offer you various health benefits.
20. Vegetable Buffet (Thali)
Thali is a dish that includes a lot of healthy and fresh ingredients like grains, lentils, raita (veggies with curd), pickles (usually from green mango), along with a variety of other food groups.
Each of these ingredients is processed relatively simply to keep the essential nutrients your body will need. Besides helping to strengthen the immune system, this dish also supports weight loss.
If you are losing weight and are invited to eat Indian food, you know what to choose.
The best taste test on veggies thali for you to refer to!
21. Spinach And Cottage Cheese Curry (Palak Paneer)
It looks like a bowl of green soup (and it’s genuinely packed with spinach). This dish originates from North India and has become popular thanks to its light, slightly fatty, and smooth taste.
This food’s ingredients include spinach, Indian cheese, and a few signature spices. This delicacy will be a healthy dish that you should choose when finding an Indian inspiration for your daily meal.
22. Grilled Marinated Chicken (Tandoori Chicken)
Tandoori chicken appears in Indian food culture and other cultures around. Thanks to its relatively simple seasoning and direct cooking in an oven of the same name, this chicken dish is loved for its rustic taste.
Indians often prepare this chicken dish as the main dish in their daily dinner or on special occasions.
Today, thanks to the popularity of Indian cuisine, you can find tandoori chicken all over the world. There are many ways to eat this chicken; you can eat it with naan or make it into butter chicken.
This is a detailed review for you about this fascinating tandoori chicken you should see.
23. Chickpea Stew/Curry (Chana Masala)
If you are a vegan or are interested in vegan cuisine, you should definitely opt for these Indian vegan dishes. My first recommendation for you here is this chickpea curry cooked with the masala spices mix.
The texture of chickpea will be beany, chewy, and quite bland, so that adding this hot and flavorful masala mix into your pot will make it tastier. Serving it with a hot plate of rice, and you will never regret doing that.
24. Potatoes And Broccoli Curry (Aloo Gobi)
Noting that the main components were merely potatoes and broccoli, this dish left a positive lasting impression on me when I first tried it.
Like other traditional Indian dishes, this recipe will involve the addition of cloves, cardamom, and other spices, so that it lends a lovely pungency and fragrance.
They also add a pinch of turmeric to give it a signature bright yellow tint and provide digestive benefits. I recommend serving it with naan or white rice to balance out the flavors.
25. Steamed Lentil Cake (Chana Dal Dhokla)
It might be a long heading, yet I think that will be the best one to describe the features of this authentic Indian sweet treats.
This kind of peas/legume is frequently used in Indian culinary culture since it provides many health benefits, including aiding weight loss, reducing bad cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure.
So if you are a snack lover and always crave yummy, sweet treats, you should consider this enticing dish.
To make the best dal dhokla from the first time, let’s take a look at this!
26. Chicken Almond Curry (Chicken Korma)
Compared to most other Indian curries, chicken korma provides a much milder taste and is not too hot (making it easier to eat by many people). The sauce of this food is mainly made of yogurt, broth, and some spices like cumin, Indian bay leaves, or coconut.
One exciting fact about this dish is that it is highly prevalent in England’s Indian stalls/restaurants because English people love these subtle tastes.
27. Spicy Chickpea Curry (Chole Bhature)
This will be the first curry on this list, and I want it to be a dish that looks both light and healthy. Therefore, chole bhature made from chickpeas with various spices (black cardamom, cumin, kashuri methi, and so on) is a perfect choice.
It’s a curry that’s not too complicated to prepare and usually served with deep-fried crispy puff pastry. In India, this dish is often served during holidays or special occasions, and you should definitely try to eat with bare hands when it comes to this food.
The straightforward instruction to make a stunning pot of chole bhature.
You Should Also Know More About India’s Regional Cuisine
If you are wondering how different the culinary cultures are between smaller regions in India, you should find your own answer in these recommended foods below.
28. Rice And Marinated Meat (Hyderabadi Biryani)
Hyderabadi biryani is a variant of the famous biryani from Nizam of Hyderabad. There are two types of this dish: Kachchi (raw) and the pakki (cooked) biryani, and they all require the hoy spices like the mentioned chicken biryani.
Both of these types of Hyderabadi biryani use goat meat as the primary protein (scarcely chicken and beef), and both of them need to be cooked meticulously. Anything that requires effort to accomplish will be worth waiting for.
29. South Indian Tamarind Rice (Pulihora)
This South India-style rice dish is usually flavored with various Indian signature blended spices like oil-cooked jaggery, fried curry leaves, lentils, and peanuts. Therefore, the dish will provide a tempting taste and also be able to be preserved longer.
This dish is also closely associated with South Indian religious culture, where returnees/travelers will often bring it on a long journey.
30. South Indian Tomato Soup (Tomato Rasam)
Rasam is famous in South Indian culinary cultures, and tomato rasam is one of the 45 most prevalent types. Tomato rasam is loved thanks to the enjoyable flavors ranging from tangy, sour, robust to hearty and crisp.
The food will be best to pair with rice and can be served daily since it takes almost no time to prepare. Considered one of the best starters from Asian cuisine, Indian tomato soup is a simple dish that will take you by surprise due to its fascinating flavor complexity.
Easy-peasy method to create an authentic South India tomato rasam.
31. North Indian Flatbread (Papadum Papad)
They even call this food “rice paper” in some places, but it is not made of rice. These crispy, thin flatbreads consist of plenty of legume/beans’ powders and spices like cumin, garlic, and black pepper. Some variants are made of potatoes.
To cut down on the oiliness in daily meals, this dish is frequently served with Indian dipping sauces like chutney or a few fresh vegetables. If you have the opportunity, you should also try this food in a variety of various tastes and variants.
32. Stuffed Whole Wheat Dough Ball (Litti Chokha)
The story behind this dish is also quite long, so I will try to put it simpler. Litti chokha is a dish that appeared from the 1770s to 1780s in Nepal Terai, and the people who brought this dish were poor farmers from Bihari.
That is why this dish has a somewhat rustic appearance and taste.
Litti chokha will include a baked round cake made of whole wheat flour and toppings such as grilled tomatoes, grilled eggplant, and boiled potatoes. This will be a rustic dish worth trying to experience Indian culture.
A quick guide to briefly show you how this litti chokha is made.
33. Chickpea Rolls (Khandvi)
This Maharashtrian famous savory dish can also be called patuli, suralichi, or dahivadi. When flattened, it looks a bit like fresh pasta (but made with chickpea flour or chickpea flour’s best alternatives). And when rolled up, they become sweet treats with bright yellow hue.
This dish is often sold on the street as snacks and has specific flavors such as asafoetida, sesame, ginger, or coconut. Believe me, once you put them in your mouth, it will immediately melt with pleasure.
Time To Have A Plate Of Heaven
Among all the dishes I recommend above, which one do you feel you like and want to try the most? As I am not sure which will suit your preferences, I have tried to recommend as many dishes as possible.
Hoping that you will have an unforgettable experience with these delicious Indian dishes. If you are satisfied and feel my article is interesting and valuable, please share it with your loved ones. The cornerstone of happiness is good food.