33 Easy and Quick Indian Recipes

Chicken Saagwala

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

We all love a richly-layered biryani that cooks for hours and hours. But some of the best Indian dishes are the simplest. In fact, many Indian dishes have just a few, easy steps. Even if you're a beginner cook (as in learning to cook anything, not just Indian cuisine) you can create a quick and easy Indian meal. So whether you're a novice chef who wants to cook your favorite dishes or a seasoned home cook with an eye to expand your repertoire, try these simple Indian dishes.

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    Masala Kheema - Dry Spicy Minced Meat

    Masala kheema dry spicy minced meat

    The Spruce

    This simple meat dish comes together in as little as 35 minutes using any ground meat you prefer. Chicken, lamb, pork, goat, and beef all work well. A flavorful blend of garlic, onion, ginger, and spices like garam masala all give it a lovely fragrance and a little spice. Serve it with naan, other flatbread, or white rice as a main dish.

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    Basic Chicken Curry

    Basic Chicken Curry

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

    Making curry the authentic way, by blending spices yourself, results in a much more robust, fragrant dish than store-bought curry sauce or pre-blended powder. This chicken curry comes together in 45 minutes and requires very little active time. Serve with chapati or boiled rice.

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    Mint-Cucumber Raita

    raita

     Elaine Lemm

    In just minutes, you can have this cooling cucumber, mint, and yogurt sauce on the table. A refreshing palate-cleanser and foil for spicy dishes, raita also tastes great as a dip with pita chips or bread, and alongside curries or other mains, often with chutney and pickles.

  • 04 of 33

    Baingan Aloo Ki Subji (Eggplant and Potatoes)

    Baingan Aaloo Ki Subji: A Baingan Recipe

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    Eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes make up Baingan aloo ki subji, a flavorful vegetable curry that vegetarians and vegans can enjoy. Like many Indian dishes, the blend of spices tastes even better a day or so afterward so the flavors have time to get to know each other. Pair it with hot chapatis and cool raita and chutney.

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  • 05 of 33

    Bhajias (Pakoras)

    Bhajias (Pakoras) - Fried Indian Snack

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, fried vegetable pakoras make the most of just about any vegetables of your choice. Try them with potato, cauliflower, spinach leaves, onion, or paneer. Mix and match what you have with some sweet and spicy chutney for dipping.

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    South Indian Lemon Rice

    South Indian Lemon Rice

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    Lemon rice often appears on South Indian tables, either eaten alone or with raita, yogurt, chutney or kosambari (a type of salad). Use it to give leftover rice new life, too.

  • 07 of 33

    Andey Ki (Egg Curry)

    Egg Curry (Andey Ki Curry)

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    Several different styles for making egg curry exist all over the country, but this North Indian recipe makes a great start for a beginner cook. Make the gravy ahead of time and freeze it, so all of you have to do is make rice, boil the eggs, and heat it all up for a quick and simple comfort dish.

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    Bhindi Dopiaza (Okra)

    Bhindi Dopiaza - Okra Dopiaza in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Onion lovers: Have we got a dish for you. Bindi dopiaza uses onions in two stages of this simple recipe, as well as garlic, ginger, and a handful of aromatic spices that give it extra kick. To keep okra from getting too viscous, thoroughly pat it dry after washing and trim the ends before cooking.

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  • 09 of 33

    Moong Dal (Yellow Lentil Dal)

    Moong Dal: Vegetarian Indian Yellow Lentil Dhal

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    A simple, simmered dish of moong dal or yellow lentils, gets its warming flavor and assertive color from turmeric, cayenne, cloves, and cumin. Adjust the amount of cayenne to control the heat level for your family's palate. Serve with white rice or naan.

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    Grilled Tandoori Chicken

    Grilled Tandoori Chicken on a platter

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Beloved for its smoky, slightly spicy flavor, tandoori chicken has many fans worldwide. Once you have tandoori masala, the signature spice blend, you can make it at home on your grill in no time. Allow a few hours for the poultry to marinade in the spice and yogurt blend before it hits the grill.

  • 11 of 33

    Prawn Masala

    Indian prawn masala recipe

    The Spruce

    Once you have the spices on hand, this prawn masala comes together quickly and easily and packs a ton of flavor. The prawns do have to marinade, but only for as long as it takes to make the gravy. How long you cook them depends on their size, so keep an eye out. Serve with chapatis (flatbread), rice, and raita.

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    Kachumber (Cucumber Salad)

    Kachumber (Indian Cucumber Salad)

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Fresh, light, and dressed simply with just a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and pepper, this cucumber, tomato, and onion salad tastes great alongside any main. It also works as a simple summer main dish, when all of the vegetables are in season.

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    Yellow Split Pea Dal

    Vegetarian Indian Yellow Split Pea Dal

    The Spruce

    Vegetarians and vegans have lots of options in Indian cuisine, many of which couldn't be easier. This version of yellow split pea dal requires just a handful of ingredients, simmered together until soft and fragrant. It's also gluten-free, especially if you an additive-free broth.

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    Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

    Butter Chicken, served with rice

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

    Butter chicken originated in Delhi, and gets its name from the creamy, velvety sauce and tender chicken that melts in your mouth like butter. It doesn't have a very assertive spice, so it works great for kids and adults who don't love heat. Adjust the levels by tweaking the amount of curry powder.

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    Spicy Vegan Lentil Dal

    Spicy Vegan Lentil Dahl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    This vegan version of the popular red lentil dish uses sesame oil instead of ghee to give it a deep, rich character, along with the traditional blend of spices. Serve it with rice, naan, and some dairy-free yogurt or raita for dolloping over the top.

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    Chicken Saagwala

    Chicken Saagwala

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Lighter than a lot of other thick and creamy curries, saagwala features fresh spinach in a light turmeric, cinnamon, and garam masala sauce as well as pan-fried chicken. You can also prepare the curry sauce ahead of time, so it's a great make-ahead dish as well.

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  • 17 of 33

    Masala Kheema Paratha (Minced Meat Flatbread)

    Spicy Minced Meat Kheema Paratha

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    Savory, hearty, and portable, kheema masala requires just a handful of ingredients, especially if you have leftover spiced minced meat. The dough does need to rest for about an hour before assembling, so plan accordingly.

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    Mutter Paneer (Peas and Cottage Cheese Curry)

    Mutter paneer peas cottage cheese recipe

    The Spruce

    A mild, tomato-based curry, mutter paneer works great as a main dish for vegetarian diets or as a vegetable side. Frozen green peas work fine if you don't have fresh. Serve it with chapati, naan, or white rice.

  • 19 of 33

    Sada Roti (Flatbread)

    Easy Sada Roti Flatbread

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    A round, yeastless flatbread, sada roti works great for beginner bakers because it takes just three steps and a few common ingredients. Try it as a snack with butter and jam, a base for a sandwich, or as an accompaniment to just about any Indian main.

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    Chicken Vindaloo

    Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

    Many people associate vindaloo with tongue-tingling spice, but this Goan dish can actually range from mild to very hot. It has a tangy, slightly sweet character from a robust mix of spices, but doesn't actually take long to make once you gather them all.

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    Crockpot Curried Rice and Lentils

    Vegan Crock Pot Curried Rice and Lentils

    lleerogers/Getty Images

    Suitable for both vegan and vegetarian diets, making curried rice and lentils in your slow cooker cuts saves you standing over the stove. The heat level will depend on the type of curry powder you use; try a mild curry for a gentle spice or a hotter one for more zip.

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    Chicken with Creamy Curry Sauce

    chicken with creamy curry sauce

    For a quick and easy skillet dish with delicious Indian flavors, try this chicken breast with curry sauce. A pre-made curry powder blend saves you having to purchase a lot of extra spices. Adjust the heat level by choosing between a hot or mild curry or adjusting the amount you add to the dish.

  • 23 of 33

    Cauliflower Curry

    Vegan Indian Cauliflower Curry

    Stocksy/Helen Rushbrook

    Made with cauliflower instead of chicken or meat, this fragrant curry works for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. You'll never miss the meat, since the vegetable soaks up the blend of spices beautifully. Serve with rice, flatbread, and some chutney or pickles.

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    Creamy Chicken Masala

    Chicken Tikka Masala
    Chicken Tikka Masala. Getty Images

    With a creamy, yogurt-based sauce and slightly spicy flavor, this chicken tikka masala ranks as especially popular in Britain. Adjust the amount of chili powder to make it more or less spicy, and serve with flatbread and white rice.

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    Tandoori Paneer Tikka Kebabs

    Tandoori Paneer Tikka Kebabs

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    With a similar flavor to chicken tikka masala, these smoky grilled tandoori paneer tikka kebabs make a great addition to the cookout, whether or not you follow a vegetarian diet. We like them with bell pepper and onion, but other shish kebab vegetables work too.

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    Chole (Chickpea Curry)

    Punjabi-Style Chole Chickpea Curry

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    This Punjabi-style chickpea curry is synonymous with North India and for good reason. Whole herbs and spices, plus both ginger and garlic paste, give it a rich and warming flavor. If you don't have ginger paste, make your own by mashing sliced ginger in a food processor with a neutral oil like canola.

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    Chicken Pulao (Pilaf)

    Chicken Pulao
    Chicken Pulao. Image © Joff Lee/ Getty Images

    A rice-based dish often including vegetables and meat, chicken pulao, or pilaf, works great when you're pressed for time. Long-grained rice like basmati work well in this preparation, as do boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs.

  • 28 of 33

    Kadhi (Yogurt Curry)

    Dill and peanut kadhi is healthy version of North Indian kadhi.
    Manu_Bahuguna / Getty Images

    Kadhi, or yogurt curries, originate in the South of India and often feature all vegetables. They have a distinctive tangy flavor, but don't keep very well, so plan to make it right before dinnertime. Serve with basmati rice or your favorite flatbread for dipping.

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    Shengdana Chikki (Peanut Brittle)

    Shengdana Chikki
    Shengdana Chikki. Image © Glow Images/ Getty Images

    A quick, simple, and satisfying dessert or snack, chikki uses roasted peanuts, jaggery, and ghee or clarified butter for a crunchy treat. If you can't find jaggery, brown sugar works as well.

  • 30 of 33

    Rava Laddoo (Cashew Balls)

    ravaladdoo.jpg
    Rava Laddoo. Image © VKBhat/ Getty Images

    Sweet and nutty, rava laddoo contain both cashews and raisins in a chewy ball-shaped treat you make on the stovetop. Because they don't require turning on the oven, try them for a summer afternoon project.

  • 31 of 33

    Rabdi Rasgulla

    Rasguilia Indian dessert recipe

    ​The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    Made from thickened milk, cardamom, sugar, rasgulla, and almonds, rabdi rasgulla may seen like a labor of love as you stir and stir. Shorten that time by using evaporated milk, but watch carefully as you cook it down to avoid scorching.

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    Gulab Jamun

    Easy and Delicious Indian Gulab Jamun

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    One of India's most popular desserts, gulab jamun consist of melt-in-your-mouth fried dumplings. Many versions use rose water in a sugar syrup as the sweetener, but they taste great with heavy cream, too, as in this recipe.

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    Kheer

    Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

    Faraz Hyder / Getty Images

    A creamy pudding often made with rice or other grains and flavored with cardamom and studded with nuts and dried fruits, kheer is also known as payasam and payesh. It often appears on the menu at festivals and special occasions.