Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Top 10 must-try Indian foods. Photo: Penang Foodie

India is a wonderful subcontinent known for many things. Not only are thousands of cultures present in India, but there are over 900 dialects and languages that have emerged from the population of this nation. one of the most widely renowned things India is known for, however, is its food. Although the cuisines differ from town to town and region to region, there are many dishes that have gained more popularity than others. With that being said, here are ten of the best Indian foods you need to try, and can probably purchase at a local Indian restaurant near you.

1. Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Butter chicken is mouth-watering, tender chicken, cooked in a spiced tomato sauce. It’s traditionally cooked in a tandoor (a cylindrical clay or metal oven), but maybe grilled, roasted or pan-fried in less authentic preparations.

Always make the gravy by first cooking fresh tomato, garlic, and cardamom down into a bright red pulp. This pulp is then pureed after cooling. Then, the chef adds butter, various spices, and Khoa (dried whole milk).

Vegetarian Indian Dish Option:

Though a lot of traditional Indian food uses meat, there are plenty of Indian vegetarian dishes. You can make your own butter chicken vegetarian by substituting chicken for tofu.

You can mimic the taste and texture of chicken by tossing tofu pieces with corn starch. Then, bake the pieces in the oven and voila! You have slightly crispy, delicious, buttery vegetarian “chicken”.

How To Make Butter Chicken At Home

2. Samosas (Deep-Fried Potato/Veggie Dumpling)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Samosas are a very popular traditional Indian Dish. Probably because samosas are a tasty, fried, or baked pastry with savory fillings.

Spiced potatoes, onions, peas, and lentils fill traditional samosas. But sometimes, they are made with ground lamb, ground beef or ground chicken.

Good news for all of you Indian food lovers and solely plant-based eaters. Indian samosas are usually vegan! That means the pastry is free of eggs and dairy products.

Samosas are often accompanied by a sweet mint sauce or chutney (scroll down for Chef Marie’s sweet and savory chutney recipes!). These puffy treats are a common street food. You can find tourists and Indians natives alike eating them as a midday snack or a side to a main dish.

How to Make Samosa at home

3. Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Aloo Gobi is a dry, vegan Indian dish, made with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gobi), and Indian spices. It has a warm, yellow-orange color, because it uses a staple in Indian dishes: turmeric.

Aloo Gobi occasionally contains kalonji and curry leaves as well. Other common ingredients include garlic, ginger, onion, coriander stalks, tomato, peas, and cumin. Throw it all together to roast in the oven and you’ve got one of the most popular dishes ordered in Indian restaurants.

How to make Aloo gobi at home

4. Naan (Flatbread)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

If you’ve never experienced good naan bread, your life has been much less delicious than it could be.

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. You normally serve Naan with all meals.

This bread is the perfect combination of chewy and crispy, buttery and garlicky. It’s exactly what every Indian dish needs to complement the otherwise bright and intense flavors.

There are many different types of naan breads depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Butter and garlic naan bread are the classics.

Paneer naan is a delicious Indian cheese type.

Chili naan is great for those spice fiends.

And of course, there’s always the classic, no-fuss, plain naan.

However you eat it, naan acts as almost a spoon to soup up sauce or dipped into chutneys. An Indian meal isn’t complete without naan at its side.

How to make Naan at home

5. Matar Paneer (Peas and Cooked Cottage Cheese)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Matar paneer comes from regions of northern India. It’s made up of a yummy tomato sauce over paneer (farmer’s cheese) and peas, and spiced with garam masala.

Like many Indian dishes, matar paneer is best when paired with a cooling side dish, like cream or bread.

Depending on the region, it’s likely to be served with rice, naan, paratha, poori, or roti.

Enjoy dipping your bread (or Naan) into the tomato gravy after you eat up the cheese and veggies.

Whether you choose naan, yogurt, aloo, or cream, to pair with this dish, your taste buds will thank you!

6. Rogan Josh (Curried Meat)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Rogan josh is a staple of Kashmiri (region in northern India) cuisine. It’s one of the main dishes of a Wazwan: a Kashmiri multi-course meal.

Rogan Josh consists of braised lamb chunks cooked with gravy. Generally, Indian chefs make this gravy from browned onions, yogurt, garlic, ginger, and aromatic spices.

Known for its brilliant red color, a classic rogan josh uses liberal amounts of dried Kashmiri chillies.

Make sure to de-seed these babies before you use them unless you’re a glutton for punishment. Though they are less hot when de-seeded, Kashmiri chilies tend to be milder than cayenne chilies. You will find cayenne chilies in many other Indian dishes.

Most of the spiciness from a rogan josh comes from the fragrance of the dish rather than the heat. It’s a yummy treat that is mild enough for Western palates, but intense enough for spice-lovers. If you love lamb, this dish is a must-try.

How to make Rogan Josh at home

7. Tandoori Chicken (Chicken Marinated In Yogurt and Spices)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: My Food Story

Tandoori chicken is a popular North Indian dish consisting of roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices. The name comes from the type of cylindrical clay oven, a tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared.

The chicken is marinated in yogurt and seasoned with the spice mixture tandoori masala. Indian chefs traditionally use cayenne pepper, red chili powder, or Kashmiri red chili powder to give it a fiery red hue. This dish goes so well with steaming basmati rice and crispy naan.

How to make Tandoori Chicken at home

8. Chana Aloo Curry (Chickpea Potato Curry)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: My Food Story

A sultry blend of ginger, tomato, curry, and garlic marinate potatoes, chickpeas, and onions. These veggies and spices blend together to create the magical, Chana Aloo Curry. Though more traditional recipes may be spiced with chili or cayenne pepper, Chef Marie’s special twist includes fresh jalapenos.

How to make Chana Aloo Curry

9. Shu’Bah’ (Tomato Soup)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

Shu’Bah’, sometimes referred to as “Shorba”, is a light, Indian-spiced tomato soup. This is an Indian vegetarian dish made by simmering tomatoes, onions, spices, and ghee (clarified butter). The ginger, turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon spices give it the classic Indian symphony of flavor.

When ‘Shu’Bah’ is done right, it has a medium-thick consistency and is garnished with fresh herbs (cilantro is perfect). If you’re really a fan of garlic, a nice touch would be garnishing the dish with roasted garlic.

How to make Shu’Bah’

10. Chutney (Fruit Sauce)

Top 10 Best Indian Dishes And Recipes
Photo: Blue Osa

As mentioned above, chutney (or “chatni”) is a sauce that is a flavorful sweet pair to savory samosas. It’s a relish made of various types of fruits, herbs, and spices, and it originated in India over 2,000 years ago. Heads up again, vegans, this is one for you.

Make this chutney with brown sugar, turmeric, red wine vinegar. Add a smattering of other lip-smacking goodies such as mango chutney is a tangy treat in a world of Indian spiciness.

Though usually fruity, savory chutneys are also a thing. Both mango and onion chutney recipe was specially crafted by Chef Marie to be the perfect side pairing for any Indian food meal.

How to make Chutney

Masala Chai

It is not a food, but rather a type of tea. One of the most traditional and most classic staples of Indian foods is Masala Chai. Masala Chai differs from the traditional British or American teas that most people are accustomed to. Masala Chai starts with fresh tea leaves derived from the tea plantations of Assam or West Bengal. The black tea leaves are then steeped in hot water and mixed with shredded ginger and cardamom seeds to give it a hint of spiciness. Following the brewing process, milk is added and it is served hot and fresh.

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