Indian Lunchbox (Tiffin) Favorites

10 Indian Lunchbox Recipes Any Kid Will Love

In India, the word "tiffin" is used to describe either a lunchbox or the food in it. While every mom wants to pack a tasty lunchbox, she also wants it to be nutritious. That may not be a lot to ask for but can cause many of us anxiety! Children often come home with half-eaten food simply because they think it's boring. Well, boring no more! Here's a list of tasty Indian treats that will have them polishing off their food in no time.

  • 01 of 10

    Mint Chutney Veggie Sandwich

    Dhokla
    Adit_w/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Also called the Bombay Sandwich, this one is seriously yummy and packed with the good stuff like potatoes, cucumber, tomato, and beets. Spread with delicious mint chutney, it is a handy way to sneak veggies into your children's food!

  • 02 of 10

    Chicken Tikka Sandwich

    Perfect when you have leftover chicken tikka. The yogurt-spice-marinated and grilled chicken tastes delicious on a sandwich dressed with chaat masala and mint-coriander chutney. 

  • 03 of 10

    Toasty Paneer Sandwich

    This Indian-style cheese sandwich is tasty and easy to make! Most kids like this mild tasting sandwich, but for grownups, you can spice it up by adding a dash of hot sauce to the filling.

    Paneer is a soft cheese similar to cottage cheese. In this recipe, it is mixed with tomatoes and spices, spread on toasted bread and then grilled.

  • 04 of 10

    Indian-Style Burger

    With the huge amount of western influence, burgers are a popular food in India. And what kid doesn't like a burger? It is simple to give your hamburger an Indian twist. By mixing ground beef or lamb with traditional Indian spices like ginger, coriander and garam masala you can turn a ho-hum hamburger into something exciting that your kids will love.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Poha

    Poha Flattened Rice

    The Spruce

    From western India, Poha is made from flattened rice, a rice from the Indori River that is flattened into flakes and puffs up when liquid is added. It can be eaten raw in milk or fried with spices and other ingredients. It is an easy-to-cook, nutritious snack and is often eaten for breakfast or brunch. Add extra zing to Poha by serving it with mint-coriander chutney.

  • 06 of 10

    Upma

    No matter where you go in India, Upma is a hot favorite breakfast food. Originally from South India, this tasty dish can be eaten for breakfast, brunch or as a snack--and is so wholesome you can even make a meal of it!

    Upma is a porridge-like dish that is made from dry roasted rice flour. Because it is such a versatile recipe there are many variations -- you can experiment until you find a version your kids like. 

  • 07 of 10

    Dhokla

    This nutritious steamed gram flour snack from Gujarat in Western India tastes perfect with tamarind and mint-coriander chutneys. It is essentially a cake that can be served similar to a breakfast coffee cake, or sliced and treated more like a sandwich with a chutney in between. Either way, the kids are sure to love opening their lunchboxes to find a piece of dhokla.

  • 08 of 10

    Moong Daal Ka Cheela

    Moong Daal Ka Cheela ​are savory moong bean pancakes that are the perfect hand-held lunchbox treat. They are also a great breakfast food or even perfect as an accompaniment to any gravy-based dish. The recipe involves soaking the split moong lentils overnight so factor that into your preparation time.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Vada Pav

    Straight out of the heart of Maharashtra in Western Indian, Vada Pav has iconic status in India. It used to be "poor man's food," but these days even the rich and famous can be spotted eating it at Bombay's (Mumbai) numerous roadside food stalls!

    Vada pav are potato patties nestled inside a bun and dressed with any variety of chutneys. The potato patties actually taste better if you make the batter the night before. Just fry up the patties in the morning and pop into the kids' lunchboxes in the morning.

  • 10 of 10

    Aaloo Paratha

    Since these take a bit of time to make, it is ideal if you have the batter made ahead -- or better yet, leftover aaloo paratha in the fridge. These potato pancakes are delicious eaten rolled up with a bit of yogurt inside -- a fun, handheld lunch any kid will love.