Traditional Indian food dishes

The thali - Asia's form of a sampler platter - is an excellent option to try a few products simultaneously, much like using Yogi thali seen here from Pondicheri.

Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

Say you've made a decision to be natural and begin a fresh culinary adventure, sampling a new food when it comes to new. Good for you! You deserve a virtual large five.

Exactly what do you really order? This is a typical concern among those who've both decided to take to anything brand-new or tend to be outright scared of trying anything new. You don't wish very first foray into a confusing brand-new food becoming inedible. I didn't understand menudo was full of cow stomachs! you might cry, or How ended up being we expected to know that five chilli peppers regarding selection required that I was likely to change inside out from discomfort?

That's where our beginner's guides can be found in. When I'm showing a buddy a brand new food the very first time, we you will need to purchase the most simple yet representative meals possible for all of them. I would like all of them having a good very first knowledge, additionally test food that's just different adequate to pique their interest in the future dinners.

Should you want to jump in head-first - once again, healthy! Otherwise, give the dishes below a go if you're venturing on for your very first Indian meal.

Note: For ease of explanation, the dishes listed here are sketched call at broad, available language. This is simply not a dissertation. Sufficient reason for numerous regions in Asia - and South Asia, for instance - this will be in no way comprehensive, nor should you expect to discover every dish right here noted on every Indian menu.


Every cuisine worth its snuff has actually a pocket food. Empanadas, pierogie, Cornish pasties, bao - you title it. The samosa could be the Indian type of these transportable treats, and it's really well-known throughout Southern Asia. The pastries may be baked or deep-fried, but are notable for his or her triangular shape. Inside crispy, flaky flour layer might usually find an assortment of veggies: Peas, potatoes and onions are most common. Samosas are not always spicy, but could be - just ask your server if you should be concerned about heat amounts. In my experience, they may be extremely obtainable of Indian meals through their finger-food-friendly dimensions and tasty, quick filling. I usually think about samosas as an appetizer before dinner - little snacky bites of softly spiced veggies inside pastry pouches - while they are consumed anytime.

Chutney and raita

Here is what you are going to dip your samosas in, although these dressings/sauces have actually multiple applications. "Chutney" is actually a word for almost any sauce featuring spice, fresh fruit and/or veggies. You will most regularly find two types: red and green. The red is tamarind, that will be both sweet and sour. The green is usually either mint or coriander. Think about them once the Indian form of salsas. Raita is a yogurt-based sauce with a blend of spices that may integrate cilantro, cumin, mint and other herbs. I love having raita available to cool down spicier dishes.

Good naan - like this from Tandoori Nite - needs to have some sores through the temperature for the range.

Good naan - like this from Tandoori Nite - must have several sores through the temperature associated with the oven.

Photo by Troy Fields


Do you really like fat, fluffy rounds of loaves of bread a million times fluffier compared to the fluffiest little bit of pita breads? Then you'll like naan. Everybody likes naan. It's amazing. Drop it into chutneys or some raita or into the sauce for the butter chicken or rogan josh. Do whatever you wish with it. It really is flexible and meant to be enjoyed throughout your dinner.


If you prefer vegetable tempura or fried okra or any other iteration of deep-fried veggies you can easily think about, you will probably like pakora. Although pakora can have chicken in, it is battered vegetables you will discover usually. Seek eggplant, potato, onion, spinach and cauliflower as standards.

Tandoori chicken in the prepared inside the Tandoori Nite truck.Saag paneer

This is basically the dish that very first turned me personally to Indian food, mainly as a result of my very white-person love for creamed spinach. Saag paneer is very similar, but features cubes of soft mozzarella cheese (like panela) bobbing within the creamed veggie mixture. It isn't simply spinach inside, however; the brilliant green colour of saag paneer originates from a blend of most kinds of vegetables, from collard greens to broccoli. It really is among dishes you will discover usually on menus and buffets, and another I am able to never ever shun.

Tandoori chicken on prepared inside Tandoori Nite vehicle.

Tandoori chicken

A tandoor is in fact a range, and tandoori chicken is - to place it more just - just roasted chicken with a few spices. The bright reddish-orange colour of the chicken originates from that spice blend: turmeric, cayenne pepper, chile powder and paprika could all be used. Despite this, the tandoori chicken you will experience over let me reveal seldom really spicy. Instead, it's typically savory with a hint of smoky sweetness from paprika and the oven it self.

Chana masala

This will be a dish that reminds me personally strongly of chili, if chili had been fashioned with chickpeas rather beef. The tiny garbanzo beans ("chana") tend to be stewed down in a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions and spices including garlic, chilli peppers and garam masala (a curry combination which includes pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and cardamom). It generates a hearty main dish despite becoming vegetarian, and produces great leftovers heated within the next day.

Chicken korma

Both chicken korma and butter chicken are one of the most approachable Indian meals: they may be creamy, stew-like concoctions which chicken is braised in a velvety sauce fashioned with butter, coconut milk, cream or yogurt plus some moderate herbs. Regarding korma, the sauce is a little nice, a little nutty (it's not odd to find cashews in here) and somewhat smoky from cumin alongside spices. You will even find several vegetables boating in thick stew, which you yourself can sop with items of naan.

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