Indian food is famous the world over for its spicy and aromatic food. While not all dishes labeled as Indian may be authentic most will have a basis in the original cuisine.
Influences from the British colonization of the country have worked their way into popular ideas of what Indian cooking is.
But we have found 27 of the best Indian recipes for dinner so that you can experience true Indian cuisine that is 100% authentic.
These are some of the best recipes that you will find for Indian dishes and will give you the opportunity to try them out for yourself.
1. Authentic Chana Masala
This dish is an authentic Indian chickpea curry. It has a tangy and spicy flavor and can be served with rice, naan, or poori bread depending on how dry you make the curry.
An unfussy dish, Chana Masala can be made from ingredients that you may have in your pantry, chickpeas, tomatoes, onion and a gamut of spices.
Preparation time is 15 minutes with cooking only taking 30. This is a healthy and vegan dish that is rich in flavor.
2. Aloo Baingan
An eggplant and potato curry that is simple to make but with incredible flavor. Ingredients include eggplant, tomatoes and onion with spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder.
The spices form the base of the curry and infuse flavor into the eggplant and potato which are cooked until soft.
The dish takes just 10 minute of preparation and cooks in 45 minutes. It can be served with basmati rice or naan bread and with a cooling side of raita.
3. Spinach And Potato Curry
Aloo Palak or spinach and potato curry is a naturally vegetarian dish that is full of authentic Indian flavors.
Unlike other recipes that cook everything together, the potatoes in this dish are cooked separately while you make the curry.
The onion, garlic and spices are cooked with the tomatoes and then the chopped spinach is added. Finally the cooked potatoes are mixed into the curry and coated in the sauce.
Serve with roti or naan bread or basmati rice.
4. Pakistani Chana Dal
A yellow split chickpea recipe that can be cooked in the instant pot to save you a lot of time on a busy weekday (see also ‘33 Simple One-Pot Chicken Dinner Recipes‘). The dal comprises the chickpeas, tomatoes and aromatic spices and is cooked for around 22 minutes.
The tadka or tempering is sauteed separately in a pan before being added to the dal in the instant pot.
The garnish for this dish is garam masala, lemon juice, ginger and cilantro which is added just before serving.
5. Easy Mixed Vegetable Curry
For a weeknight dinner (see also ‘29 Super Fun Weeknight Dinner Recipes‘) or as a healthy side dish this mixed vegetable curry will satisfy most palates.
As this is a simple recipe it relies on the quality of the ingredients to introduce the right flavors.
Using a non-stick pan allows the vegetables to cook naturally without any additional oil. The spices infuse into the vegetables and the addition of fenugreek at the end gives this dish a definite wow factor.
Serve with roti or naan bread.
6. Cauliflower And Potato Curry
An authentic and popular north Indian curry, this is another dish that can be enjoyed by vegetarians. The potatoes and cauliflower are cooked in a tomato and onion masala or curry.
Because these vegetables absorb flavors so well they make excellent candidates for curry dishes. But this recipe has a surprising secret ingredient, soy sauce.
Although not a typical Indian ingredient it amplifies the flavor of the dish.
Cooking takes 35 minutes after just 15 minutes of preparation.
7. Red Lentil Dal
Lentil dishes are full of protein and fiber but are also deeply satisfying as in this red lentil dal. This particular recipe is cooked in an instant pot making it a quick and easy dinner dish.
The lentils are washed and then added to the sauteed vegetables and spices in the instant pot. Cooking takes around 15 minutes with preparation about 10.
After cooking, salt, ghee, garam masala, lemon juice and cilantro are added to the dish.
8. Chicken Jalfrezi
The vivid colors of this Indian dish (see also ‘The 33 Best Simple And Easy Indian Vegetarian Recipes‘) give testimony to its incredible flavor and multitude of delicious ingredients and spices.
Boneless pieces of chicken in a tomato based curry sauce with bell peppers and onion, this is a drier curry than some and goes well with any type of bread such as roti, naan or poori.
For a slightly Indo-Chinese flair a hint of soy or chili sauce is added to this recipe. Add raiti as a cooling side.
9. Coconut Chicken Curry With Potatoes
An easy-to-make curry with deep and irresistible flavors from south Asian influences. The coconut milk and yogurt give this dish a wonderful creaminess that is reminiscent of a korma.
The array of spices used in this recipe such as cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cardamom all lend themselves to the neutral base of the chicken and potatoes.
As there is a lot of sauce this dish can be served with basmati rice and naan bread.
10. Easy Achari Chicken
A delicious recipe that is ready to eat in just 50 minutes. It’s made with the same ingredients that make up achaar or pickled vegetables including seeds and whole spices.
Although the chicken itself is not pickled, the spices do give it a definite zing. Some of the spices used may not be sitting in your pantry so check the recipe before beginning.
The dish can be spicy so extra tomatoes and yogurt are used to cool it down.
11. Baked Tandoori Chicken Curry
Despite needing only 20 minutes of preparation time this tandoori chicken curry will taste like you have spent hours cooking it.
All the ingredients apart from the chicken are put into a food processor and blitzed into a paste. This is then used to marinate the chicken overnight, it’s then covered in foil and baked in the oven for over an hour.
Remove the foil and put under the broiler for a few minutes for an authentic charred look.
12. Aloo Keema
This is a ground beef and potato curry made in one pot and served with rice and naan bread. It is a simple recipe but nevertheless full of intense flavors and great aromas.
Onion is sauteed along with the whole spices then add the ground beef, garlic and ginger. Next, stir in the ground spices, tomatoes and yogurt. Finally, add the potatoes and cover to continue cooking.
Last minute garnishes of cilantro, lemon juice and garam masala finish this dish off nicely.
13. Pakistani Chicken Biryani
While not technically Indian this Pakistani dish shares many of the same culinary traditions as Indian food. Biryani is an intricate rice dish and made in three distinct steps.
First the chicken curry is made, this can be store bought to marinate the chicken, or you can make it from scratch. Next, you make the rice and finally the two are combined in layers.
Biryani is a dry dish and can be served with naan and raita.
14. Authentic Chicken Curry
One of the most basic and simplest of curry dishes, this chicken curry has a thinner sauce. This makes it perfect for serving with long grain basmati rice and roti.
Being simple doesn’t mean skimping on the right ingredients, however. This dish uses a lot of whole and ground spices. Bone-in chicken is best to retain flavor and keep the meat moist.
This dish is cooked in 45 minutes and needs only 10 minutes of preparation time.
15. Pakistani Beef Kofta Curry
This is a classic, traditional dish from Pakistan of beef meatballs in a spicy curry sauce. And there are a lot of spices, up to half of the ingredients in fact.
For this reason, preparation takes around 30 minutes and the cooking time is 50 minutes. However, the result will be an authentic and tasty curry dish.
The meatballs and curry sauce are made separately but then combined in one dish. It can be served with rice.
16. Ground Beef And Peas Curry
In India and Pakistan this dish is called Keema Matar, and it can be made with either ground beef or chicken (see also ‘33 Delicious Ground Chicken Recipe Ideas‘) depending on your preference.
It can be served with crunchy vegetables such as red onion or cucumber and some naan or roti bread. Preparation time is only 15 minutes, and it cooks in just 30 minutes.
This is a very versatile and flavorful dish and can be adjusted and varied according to taste.
17. Ground Beef Skewers
Seekh kebabs or ground beef skewers are traditionally cooked over a charcoal fire. They are typically flavored with onion, garlic, ginger, chili peppers and spices.
Spices that are toasted are more deeply flavored and will give a greater impact to the recipe. After toasting they are ground and added to the meat with the onion, mint, cilantro and green chili.
The beef skewers are shaped, then pan fried, grilled or baked. Serve in roti with crunchy vegetables.
18. Aloo Gosht
This is a traditional mutton or lamb curry that is made all in one pot. It is full of flavor and makes for an extremely satisfying meal.
The meat is seared to seal in the flavor and retain the moisture. Then the garlic, ginger and remaining ingredients are added, and the whole dish is brought to a boil and then simmered.
Finally the potatoes and yogurt are added. Altogether this recipe should cook in 2 hours 15 mins.
19. Bhindi Masala
This is an okra curry which is stir fried to improve the texture of the vegetable. Okra is an incredibly healthy food full of nutrients and natural goodness.
With the addition of some spices it also makes an excellent curry dish. Onions and tomatoes, garlic and ginger are added for more flavor.
Cooking time for this dish is half an hour and preparation takes 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and lemon juice and serve with naan or roti bread.
20. Chicken Shashlik
An Indo-Chinese dish with boneless chicken, bell peppers and red onion, this recipe is bursting with flavor. It is not too spicy and so is kid friendly with a slightly ketchupy flavor.
The chicken is marinated in a mixture of yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and vinegar while the sauce is made from ketchup or tomato paste, chili garlic sauce, cornstarch and white pepper powder.
Preparation time is just 15 minutes and cooking time is only 30 minutes.
21. Easy Pakistani Haleem
Haleem is a thick stew made from grains, lentils and meat. It is a comforting and healthy dish that is full of nutrients and can be eaten with naan bread or just on its own.
Traditionally this dish is cooked separately in stages, but this recipe is for a one pot haleem made in a pressure cooker. You will retain all the authentic flavors and textures.
Preparation takes 30 minutes and cooking is done in 40 minutes.
22. Instant Pot Beef Curry
This is a dump and set dish that you can use in your instant pot. The beef is marinated in vinegar and water and added to the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
Cooking in the instant pot takes just an hour which gives you the chance to prepare the almonds which are a must-have addition and provided added texture.
This recipe can also be cooked by traditional stove top method but will take a bit longer.
23. Kadai Paneer
This is a restaurant dish that is made with fresh kadai masala, paneer, tomatoes, peppers and onions. Full of flavor it is best served with basmati rice and naan or roti bread.
The spices for the kadai masala include coriander seeds, dried chilies, cardamom and fennel seeds. Added to the paneer are onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and cashew nuts among other ingredients.
Preparation time is 10 minutes and cooking time is 25 minutes.
24. Rajma Masala
Rajma masala is a north Indian curry dish made with kidney beans (see also ‘33 Easy Kidney Bean Recipes‘), tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices.
The red kidney beans are soaked and then cooked with onions and tomatoes. The spices include red chili powder, garam masala, cumin and coriander.
Water and the red kidney beans are added to the instant pot and cooked for 20 minutes.
It makes a very filling meal and can be served with basmati rice or with roti as a full vegetarian dish.
25. Vegetable Pulao
A vegetable pulao is a basic Indian rice pilaf dish that is aromatic and delicious. It’s also very healthy.
This is a simple dish of basmati rice cooked with a mixture of herbs and spices and can be prepared very quickly. It is a favorite at large gatherings and parties where it is often served alongside raita.
Ingredients include rice, carrots, peas, green beans and onion. Herbs such as mint are added as well as garlic and ginger.
26. Instant Pot Butter Chicken
An instant pot dish of authentically flavored tender butter chicken. Rich and creamy tomato based curries are irresistible, and this homemade version is no different.
With the convenience of an instant pot you won’t be spending hours in the kitchen. In fact, preparation time is 20 minutes while cooking time is just 15 minutes.
The chicken is marinated before being added to the instant pot with the onions and tomatoes. Once cooked the butter, yogurt and garnishes are added.
27. Authentic Chicken Korma
One of the most popular Indian dishes, this chicken korma is full of flavor. It gets its taste from the whole spices and rich yogurt masala used in the recipe.
Many recipes claim to be chicken korma, but this recipe will give you a truly authentic taste of India. The list of spices is impressive and yet the preparation time is only 15 minutes. Cooking takes 45 minutes.
With its good amount of sauce korma can be served with rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Special About Indian Cooking?
The unique thing about Indian cooking is the use of spices, including whole and ground versions.
This makes their food incredibly flavorful and aromatic, it also lends dishes wonderful color which makes them visually appealing.
What Is The National Dish Of India?
As India is such a large country with a diverse culture there is no singular national dish. However, the most commonly associated dish or rather group of dishes is the curry.
This is a coverall expression for a spicy masala or sauce that meat and vegetables are cooked in.
What Is The Oldest Indian Food?
Aloo ki kachori is the oldest known food from India, it is a dough stuffed with mashed potato and flavored with garam masala, chili and salt. They are fried in oil and served with tamarind.
How Many Indian Dishes Are There?
Approximately 31 dishes define Indian cuisine, but there are thousands of dishes, and variations of each in different regions of the country.
Now that we have worked our way through the 27 authentic dishes from India you will need to decide which you are going to try first.
Maybe you want to start with the quickest or the most appealing, but that’s going to be a tough choice.
The best thing about these recipes is that they are not cheats or hacks to a quick Indian-like dinner but will actually taste like they should, as if they were made by Indian or Pakistani cooks.
You are sure to wow your family and friends with your new found skill in producing such flavorsome, aromatic and tasty dishes.
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