The Most Popular Indian Dishes and Recipes

Bring your favorite Indian restaurant foods home

Do you have favorite dishes that you order at an Indian restaurant? You can cook them at home and enjoy that lively, spicy taste any time you want. From tandoori chicken to palak paneer, the recipes are relatively easy if you stock your kitchen with some essential ingredients found in Indian cuisine. There's even a recipe for naan so you can learn to make that tasty flatbread from scratch.

  • 01 of 10
    Directly Above Shot Of Chicken Curry With Rice In Plate On Table
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    Butter chicken is one of the top orders at any Indian restaurant in the West and it is delicious. This sultry poultry dish tastes great with kaali daal (black lentils), naan, and a green salad. The daal and naan recipes are below so you can have a full, home-cooked Indian meal tonight.

    The best part about this recipe is that the only ingredient you may need is curry powder. Besides that, you'll need common items like olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, butter, and tomato puree.

  • 02 of 10
    Tandoori Chicken on the Spit
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    Next on the list is that famous Indian barbecue chicken recipe. It's hard to find anyone who doesn't fall in love with tandoori chicken. Serve this one over basmati rice tossed with turmeric and add a few slices of fresh onion for an extra kick.

    Once you have the basic recipe for tandoori masala, prepare and store it so you can cook tandoori chicken anytime you feel the urge. Trust us, this will become your family's new favorite chicken dinner.

  • 03 of 10
    chicken tikka masala
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    Chicken tikka masala is a delicious grilled chicken dish that is unforgettable after the first bite. The thick, creamy gravy of spiced tomato works perfectly with the chili, garlic, and ginger marinated chicken that ends up with a great smoky flavor.

    As you're exploring these Indian recipes, don't let the ingredient lists scare you off. The majority of it is made up of spices and condiments that you'll use many times as you explore this cuisine. 

  • 04 of 10
    Rogan Josh
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    The literal translation for the name of this dish from Kashmir is "red lamb." The color comes from Kashmiri dry red chilies. While the name may sound fiery, the heat of the dish is toned down by the cream that is added at the end.

    A trip to your local international food market should set you up with things like cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. They're often sold in small bulk quantities, so they'll last for quite a long time.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Malai Kofta
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    Malai kofta (veggie-balls in a thick sauce) is the vegetarian alternative to meatballs. It goes very well with naan or jeera rice.

    The koftas are made with a mix of potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and sweet corn. You'll also need paneer, that essential blocked "cheese" that is similar to tofu in texture and a great addition to any vegetarian meal. It's rather easy to find if you don't want to make it, especially if you shop at a natural foods market.

  • 06 of 10
    Chickpea Curry
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    A classic and easy chickpea curry, chole is a favorite in Northern India and has become a worldwide sensation. It's perfect for a crowd, especially if you serve it hot along with fried Indian leavened bread like poori or bhatura.

    Again, the ingredient list looks more intimidating than the recipe is in reality. Pick up some chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, along with garlic and ginger pastes. From there it's just those common Indian spices that make this food unique.

  • 07 of 10
    Spinach and Cottage Cheese
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    The most popular paneer recipe at Indian restaurants is, by far, palak paneer. It is nothing more than spinach and cottage cheese (the paneer) and it's a mildly flavored dish that is super healthy, too.

    You might remember this dish as "the green one" from the restaurant and that's thanks to the large portions of spinach and fenugreek leaves included in the recipe. It's fantastic with the cubed paneer and gets even better when served with your favorite flatbread.

  • 08 of 10
    Black Lentils
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    Remember how we said kaali daal is a perfect side with butter chicken? Here's the recipe you need. Kaali daal is also known as ma ki daal (mom's lentils) because it is wholesome and delicious.

    You'll need to soak your black lentils overnight, but after that, it's an easy recipe. The only new ingredients you'll need are ghee (clarified butter) and asafetida (a resinous gum), both of which will be useful in your Indian food adventures.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Papdi Chaat
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    Chaat has to be the most popular North-Indian snack. Vendors literally crowd the streets selling all kinds of delicious variations of chaat in this part of the country. Chaat parties are also popular and a great alternative to a sit-down dinner.

    Papdi chaat is a great introduction and a lot of fun to make. The papdi (or papri) are deep-fried dough wafers that can be stored for weeks at a time. With those made, it's just a matter of mixing up the tangy, spicy, and sweet sauce. 

  • 10 of 10
    Lubomir Lipov/StockFood Creative/Getty Images

    Last, but certainly not least, is everyone's favorite Indian flatbread. Naan is a staple in the Indian kitchen and can go with everything you make, including many popular dishes like tandoori chicken or all kinds of kebabs.

    Though naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor or earthen oven, they work just as well in your own oven. The ingredient list is easy and you probably have everything you need. Don't forget the yogurt, though. It's often the secret ingredient in Indian dishes.