It may seem daunting to cook your favorite Indian dishes at home, with the cuisine's unusual and complex spices. But, if you stock your kitchen with some of the essential ingredients found in Indian cuisine, you can easily prepare these dishes and enjoy that lively, spicy taste any time you want. From tandoori chicken to palak paneer, the recipes are relatively simple. You can even learn to make your own naan, the tasty flatbread ideal for scooping up rice and sauce.
1. Murg Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Murg Makhani (butter chicken) is one of the top orders at any Indian restaurant in the West and for good reason—it is delicious. This sultry poultry dish tastes great with kaali daal (black lentils), naan, and a green salad.
2. Instant Pot Butter Chicken
If you love murg makhani but don't have a lot of time to marinate the chicken, make Instant Pot butter chicken. It has all the delicious flavors of butter, cream, tomatoes, garlic, and spices like garam masala, cumin, ginger, and coriander without the need for marinating.
3. Tandoori Chicken
It's hard to find anyone who doesn't fall in love with tandoori chicken, that famous Indian barbecue chicken recipe. Although traditionally cooked in a clay oven, you can prepare the yogurt-marinated chicken in a regular oven (or on the grill). You do need to plan ahead, as the coated chicken should sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. If you prefer, you can sear the marinated chicken cubes first on the stovetop to achieve that signature tandoori char.
4. Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala is a delicious grilled chicken dish with a thick, creamy gravy that is unforgettable after the first bite. A tomato-yogurt sauce is spiced with chili, garlic, ginger, and garam masala, the ubiquitous Indian spice blend. The chicken is marinated overnight, grilled, and then gently cooked in a slightly smoky gravy. You will want to serve this dish over basmati rice with warm naan bread for soaking up the sauce. For a quick version, try making it in the Instant Pot.
5. Chicken Vindaloo Curry
This is a mild and sweetly spiced recipe for chicken vindaloo curry. Contrary to current belief, curries do not have to be hot and fiery and, in fact, 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.
6. Rogan Josh (Red Lamb)
The literal translation for Rogan Josh, 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.
The list of spices called for in this recipe may seem long, but a trip to your local international food market should set you up nicely. Spices such as cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala are often sold in small bulk quantities, so they'll last for quite a long time.
7. Malai Kofta
Malai kofta (vegetable "meatballs" in a thick sauce) is the vegetarian alternative to meatballs. The koftas are made with a mix of potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and sweet corn, which are cooked and mashed before mixing with spices and 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. Malai kofta goes very well with naan or jeera rice.
8. Chole (Chickpea Curry)
A classic and easy chole chickpea curry, 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.
The ingredient list looks more intimidating than the recipe is in reality. Once you have the chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes, along with garlic and ginger pastes, all you need are those common Indian spices that make this cuisine unique.
9. Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)
The most popular paneer recipe at Indian restaurants is, by far, palak paneer. It is a mildly flavored dish that is super healthy, as it is nothing more than spinach and cottage cheese (the paneer), along with the typical Indian spices.
Thanks to the large portions of spinach and fenugreek leaves included in the recipe, this dish takes on a deep green hue. The cubed paneer are pan-fried first, contributing a nice texture to the dish. Palak paneer gets even better when served with your favorite flatbread.
10. Chicken Chettinad
Chicken Chettinad is a fiery hot chicken curry from the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu state in India. This curry from South Indian cuisine is not only popular in India but is one of the most ordered chicken curries in restaurants all over the world.
Chicken Chettinad Curry gets its flavor from the freshly ground spices (Chettinad masala), which makes this dish just irresistible. Traditionally it is made using Gundu Chillies, Kalpasi (Stone Flower), and Indian shallots apart from a few other basic ingredients.
These 3 ingredients make this dish very unique and give it an earthy and robust flavor. But in case they are not accessible to you, I have mentioned some workaround in the post.
11. Garlic Naan
Naan is a leavened bread hugely popular in South Asia. In India, it’s one bread that’s always on the menu of every party, wedding, birthday etc. Honestly speaking, naan isn’t something that people in India eat everyday at home.
It’s something that we grew up eating in restaurants too. I don’t remember my mom ever making naan for us at home. What we had at home was roti and paratha. Naan was for restaurants, just like it is today.
Like most breads, naan too is made with basic ingredients like flour, yeast, water/milk, sugar. I add some yogurt to it keep it soft and nice. Since this recipe is for garlic naan, I also add some grated garlic to the dough and then brush the naan with lots of garlic butter.
Ref: India masala, the source eats...