Cooking or eating Indian food is always an exciting experience. Indian cuisine represents thousands of years of history across a vast and diverse subcontinent. The enormous variety of exotic flavors and intricate recipes makes every Indian dish an adventure. Below are the top 20 most famous Indian dishes that you have most likely seen or eaten, but you may not have known their name or what ingredients were used to make them.
Biryani: This is a dish of spiced rice mixed with a number of possible meats (including egg) and vegetables. It is similar to the famous traditional Chinese dish fried rice, and is popular the world over.
Butter Chicken: the chicken is marinated overnight in a yogurt and spice mixture, and then it is cooked in a special sauce called Makhani, which is made from tomato puree, butter and a variety of spices that provide the famous unique flavor. This is by far one of the most popular Indian dishes for meat-eaters. It has its roots in Punjabi cuisine, but is now prepared by Indians throughout the continent.
Vindaloo and Rogan Josh: this is a highly aromatic dish of curry gravy made from lamb, goat or other meat.
Tandoori Chicken: this widely popular chicken dish is marinated in yogurt and coated with Tandoori Masala. Tandoori chicken derives its name from the traditional “tandoor” clay over that it was cooked in.
Idli–Dosa–Vada With Sambar: this is a popular breakfast dish in Southern India based on fermented black lentils. They are served with rice and a vegetable stew called Sambar that is made from Tamarind and Toor Dal.
Palak Paneer: this traditional Northern Indian delicacy is a staple in Punjabi cuisine. It is made from spinach and cottage cheese, and reduced in a curry sauce until it is the consistency of a thick dip. It is eaten with both rice and traditional Indian breads.
Chole-Bhature: this is a combination of spicy chick peas called Chole and Bhatoora, which is a type of Indian bread that is fried. It originated in Punjab, and is mostly eaten in Northern India. It is a very popular street food that is usually eaten for breakfast.
Dal Makhani: this Punjabi delicacy is full of proteins and fiber. It is made from beans and lentils that are cooked using a tangy Masala, and the large amounts of fresh cream are added to provide a rich and silky consistency. It is widely considered the most important dish in Punjabi cuisine.
Malai Kofta: Kofta are vegetable balls that are deep-fried and Malai is the cream that is mixed with curry to create the sauce for these appetizing treats. It is a part of authentic Moghlai cuisine, and is the vegetable version of a number of famous meatball curries.
Naan and Paratha: Naan and Paratha are the incredibly popular Indian flatbreads that are found alongside almost every Indian dish. Naan is prepared in an oven and Paratha is made on a what is known as a tawa. Paratha breads are also often stuffed with vegetables.
Samosa and Pakodas: these are famous Indian snacks or appetizers that are served at tea time or as the starter course for a larger meal. Samosas are triangular pastries stuffed with a savory filling and deep-fried, while Pakodas are a simple fried pastry that has equivalents all over South East Asia.
Pav Bhaji: this dish combines Bhaji, which is a curry with a potato base, and Pav. It is usually garnished with chopped onions, coriander and a small dab of butter. It is a dish that is native to Maharashtrians, and is the Indian equivalent of fast-food.
Panipuri Chaats: this dish involves a rounded and hollow Puri that is fried until crispy, and then filled with a mix of chili, Chaat Masala, potato, Tamarind water, chickpeas and onion. It is a popular street snack due to its small size and portability.
Kebabs: these are a world-famous dish of meat that is threaded onto a skewer and then grilled. All kinds of meats are used in the dish, as well as cubes of vegetables and fruit. The most common vegetables found on a Kebab skewer are peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.
Lassi Shakes: this is a traditional Punjabi drink based on yogurt that is drunk throughout Pakistan and India. It is made by blending water and yogurt with a number of Indian spices, in particular roasted ground cumin.
Indian Tea: Indian tea is flavored with ginger and cardamom, and can be served with milk.
Indo-Chinese Manchurian: this is a type of fried vegetable ball that is served in a sweet and savory corn soup. It is a common street-food throughout Asia.
Poori Halwa: this traditional South East Asian breakfast dish contains two separate components, Halwi, a candy made from seminola, and Puri, a small round flat bread.
Mango or Lemon Pickles: Indian pickles are made of a broad range of pickled vegetables and fruits that are acidified using lemon or lime juice or by using lactic acid fermentation. The wide variety of pickles feature an enormous number of different combinations of Indian spices, and often feature vegetable oil.
Rasam: this is essentially a tomato soup that is extremely popular in Southern India. Rasam is best known for its lip-smacking taste, health benefits and engaging aroma. It is made from tomatoes, Dal, and Tamarind.