Select Page

India’s rich culture has given rise to a cuisine that’s both simple and complex. Its hearty curries and homemade breads are a hallmark of Indian cooking, though regional differences make up a large part of the flavor-packed spectrum of indian food. North Indian dishes are typically heartier and often paired with yogurts and rice, while South Indian foods tend to be more spicier and more vegetable-forward. And of course, many of these dishes are made with pulses (like red lentils or pigeon peas) and spices like turmeric, ginger and cardamom.

Chicken tikka masala, which is found on menus everywhere from diners to mom-and-pop restaurants, is a classic example of how a handful of spices can transform a dish. This particular version of a beloved Indian dish is rich and creamy, with thigh meat marinated in a spice mix that includes garam masala, cinnamon, and coriander. The result is an aromatic curry with just a hint of heat, perfect for serving over rice or naan.

Rogan josh, a lamb curry from Northern India, is another of the most popular Indian dishes. Unlike the fiery vindaloo, this curry is a bit milder but still packs plenty of flavor. And just like butter chicken, this dish is best enjoyed over rice or with naan.

A staple of Indian street food, samosas are fried or baked pastry pockets filled with savory vegetables and spices. The most popular filling is aloo, a combination of potatoes and peas, but other ingredients such as spinach or paneer (a soft Indian cheese) are also used. The samosa’s popularity has spread beyond India, with versions of the dish being found all over Asia and Africa.

Kitchari is a classic comforting dish that’s great for settling the stomach after a long trip or illness. This simple porridge is a combination of rice and lentils, which is then cooked with a variety of tempered spices. It’s nourishing and satisfying, and can be served with the protein of your choice – chickpeas (channa), lentils or, as in this recipe, ground beef (kheema).

A North Indian staple, this dish is made in a tandoor oven or on a tawa pan, which is a flat hot grill used for both sautéing and grilling meats and vegetables. It’s usually topped with a blend of yogurt, mint, chives and ginger, then garnished with diced onion, tomatoes and cucumber.

A menu staple at almost every Indian restaurant, naan is a thick, yeasted bread made with flour, salt and water. It’s usually brushed with ghee or oil, which adds richness and a toasty flavor, and sometimes served with dips or curries.