Learn How to Cook Your Favorite Indian Restaurant Dishes

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It’s food in india one of the most dfood in india ifficult decisions you’ll ever have to make: What to order at your favorite Indian restaurant. There are too many delicious options! The obvious answer is to show up with a group order for the whole table for everyone to share, family-style. Start with a snack like papdi chaat for an appetizer, add a few popular crowd-pleasers like murgh makhani (butter chicken) and rogan josh, something light, like kachumber (cucumber salad), and any house special naan.Now the next big question: Which Indian specialty should you cook tonight? Hopefully, you stock your kitchen with some of the essential ingredients found in Indian cuisine so you can easily prepare your favorite restaurant dishes from the comfort of your own kitchen. Use this guide for your own cooking or as inspiration for ordering dishes out, too. Most of these recipes are for mains, but we’ve included instructions to make your own naan, the tasty flatbread ideal for scooping up rice and sauce.

The Spruce / Cara CormackProbably the most popular North-Indian snack, vendors crowd the streets selling all kinds of delicious variations of chaat in this part of the country. Chaat parties also make a nice alternative to a sit-down dinner. Papdi chaat is a great introduction to this dish and a lot of fun to make. First, make the papdi (or papri) dough, and then form it into thin circles to deep-fry. Then top the wafers with potatoes and chickpeas and drizzle with a tangy, spicy, and sweet sauce.

The Spruce / Ana ZelicPerhaps one of the most familiar Indian dish to the American diner, butter chicken first appeared in Delhi in the 1940s. It has a mild flavor that won’t blow out your tastebuds, but you can increase the white pepper or curry powder for a more assertive taste.

The Spruce / Diana ChistrugaIn Northern India, classic and easy chole chickpea curry often appears as a favorite menu item and as a result, has become a worldwide sensation. It can also serve a crowd, especially if you serve it hot along with fried Indian leavened bread like poori or bhatura. Once you have the chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes, along with garlic and ginger pastes, some common Indian spices will bring it all together.Elaine LemmAlthough traditionally cooked in a clay oven, you can prepare the yogurt-marinated charred chicken in a regular oven (or on the grill). You do need to plan ahead, as the chicken should sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to let the flavors develop. If you prefer, you can sear the marinated chicken cubes first on the stovetop to achieve that signature tandoori char.

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The Spruce / Chelsea RossThis is a mild and sweetly-spiced recipe for chicken vindaloo curry. Contrary to current belief, curries do not have to be hot and fiery. In fact, they never started out that way in India. Creating the curry paste is the most important part of this dish, so don’t skimp on the ingredients.

The Spruce / Preethi VenkatramSouth Indian lemon rice makes a great weekday meal because it comes together quickly. It often appears solo or alongside raita, yogurt, chutney, or  kosambari (a type of salad).

The Spruce / Cara CormackNaan, a puffy flatbread, goes with just about everything, including many popular dishes like tandoori chicken and all kinds of kebabs. While naan traditionally bakes in a tandoor or earthen oven, they work just as well in your own oven. The ingredient list includes yeast, flour, sugar, and water, as well as yogurt and ghee.

The Spruce / Diana ChistrugaThis Bengali speciality often appears alongside jeera rice. Cook the shrimp in creamy coconut milk with whole spices for a deeply flavorful dish. Using head-on shrimp will add even more shellfish character, but you can peel and devein them first if you prefer.

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The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia TretiakFragrant, tender, and the perfect accompaniment to just about every main, all Indian feasts need basmati rice. Try this restaurant-style vegan recipe that results in a wonderfully spiced grain.

The Spruce / Cara CormackThin and pancake-like in texture, dosas appear alongside many meals in South India. Make them from soaked and drained rice, fenugreek seeds, and urad daal, also known as black lentils. Fermenting the batter gives it a slightly tart flavor.

The Spruce / Wanda AbrahamThis vegan potato and pea main from the Punjab region can be made many different ways. Some have a coconut base, others simmer potatoes and peas in tomatoes, and this recipe lends itself to variation. Using garam masala means you don’t have to mix your own spices, cutting down on some of the work. Serve with white rice or naan.

The Spruce / Madhumita SathishkumarPopular in Northern India, red kidney bean curry makes a great option for vegetarian diners. The kidney beans simmer in a warming masala paste that features ginger, garlic, chiles, and tomatoes. Adjust the spice level to your tastes by tweaking the type and number of chiles you use. Serve with white rice or naan.

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The Spruce / Preethi VenkatramPunjabi baingan ka bharta hails from North India and features roughly-mashed roasted eggplant with a variety of warming spices. Onions, tomatoes, and garlic give it additional spice and texture. Scoop it up with naan or other Indian breads.

The Spruce / Diana ChistrugaGet your fingers deliciously messy with this crab curry. It can get quite spicy, so if you have a lower heat tolerance, reduce the number of red chiles. Serve with white rice and lots of gravy to spoon over the top.

The SpruceThis masala kheema, a flavorful combination of onion, garlic, ginger, spices, and meat, works with just about any minced protein you like best. Try beef, pork, goat, chicken, turkey, or even a combination. It can also feature peas and potatoes for a different texture. Serve with flatbread or rice, or

The Spruce / Julia HartbeckEvery region of India has its own way of making chicken curry, and this one from the South features tangy tamarind, aromatic spices, and coconut cream for mellowing them out. Skinless bone-in chicken gives it even more flavor, but you can use boneless as well.

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The Spruce / Abbey LittlejohnWith lots of tender layers, lachcha paratha comes out delightfully crispy with only a few ingredients. Its light texture makes it the perfect accompaniment to heavier mains. Try it with tikka masala or your favorite curry.

The Spruce / Maxwell CozziMany people in India follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, making the cuisine perfect for those with dietary restrictions. This lentil dahl has some kick, if you like food that bites back, Serve with rice, naan, or other bread to sop up the gravy.

The Spruce / Julia EstradaKarela, or bitter melon, often shows up in Asian cuisin. In India, you’ll often find this sweet and sour preparation that uses cumin, chilies, ginger, coriander, and turmeric, as well as tamarind and jaggery, an unrefined sugar. Try it with naan, paratha, or other flatbread.

The Spruce / Cara CormackTraditionally made with chicken, tikka masala has an enticing aroma and spicy, slightly charred flavor. Make it vegan by preparing tofu in the same style. While it calls for quite a few spices, don’t sweat it if you don’t have one or two. It will still taste delicious. White or basmati rice complements it perfectly.

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