Indian Finger Food Recipes

Spice up your next party with these tasty appetizers

The best party foods are those you can easily eat with your hands, but many of the appetizers we enjoy have become a bit too familiar, and somewhat predictable. So why not break from the usual and look toward Indian cuisine for inspiration? Instead of sliders, wings, and cheese and crackers, serve an array of sumptuous Indian snacks at your next get-together. Your guests will love the complex flavors and be suitably impressed. From crispy filled pastries to grilled skewered chicken, there are plenty of easy-to-cook, easy-to-serve foods that your guests will talk about far after the festivity has ended.

  • 01 of 12

    Kababs

    Chicken tikka

    The Spruce

     

    Kababs are a great party food as they are easy to make, offer a variety of recipes, and you can hold the skewer in your hand as you eat. Indian cuisine has its fair share of flavorful kababs, including bihari kabab, a skewered beef recipe from Northern India, where the beef is marinated in a highly seasoned yogurt mixture for several hours, and then threaded and grilled.

    If you are looking for a chicken kabab, reshmi kababs are a good choice, or for something vegetarian try a paneer kabab. Even better, create a mixed platter of all three and serve them with mint-coriander chutney.

  • 02 of 12

    Prawns Rava Fry

    Fried Prawns

    Sommai Larkjit/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Forget about popcorn or coconut shrimp and instead serve these spicy deep-fried prawns at your next party. By leaving the tails on, your guests will have the perfect "handle" to hold these succulent crispy large shrimp while enjoying with a bit of chutney. The shrimp are marinated in a mixture of ginger, garlic, green chilis, and lime juice; then the prawns are coated in a batter of eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs before being deep-fried until golden brown.

  • 03 of 12

    Chicken Tikka

    Chicken tikka and pineapple skewers
    Michael Powell / Getty Images

    Chicken tikka is one of the most popular dishes in India, where tender chicken chunks are marinated in special spices (coriander, garam masala, ginger paste) and yogurt and then grilled on skewers. You can either make mini individual skewers or thread the chicken tikka onto large skewers and remove the chunks onto a platter for guests to pick up with toothpicks. Either way, this may be the most sought after app at the party.

  • 04 of 12

    Steamed Momos

    Steamed Momo
    Andrew Taylor / robertharding / Getty Images

    This appetizer from the east Indian state of Sikkim can be filled with any minced meat of your choice; this recipe calls for pork, which is mixed with sauteed onion, garlic, soy sauce, and chili sauce. They can be steamed or pan-fried and are usually served with a fiery Sikkimese tomato chutney.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Baida Roti

    Baida roti
    Ben Fink / Getty Images

    You can sort of think of this dish as the Indian version of French toast; pieces of roti or chapati (which are flatbread) are coated in egg, fried, and rolled up to make this tasty dish. You can also fill baida roti with anything you like, from paneer to spicy minced meat. To serve, cut a roll into bite-sized pieces, skewer each piece with a toothpick, and serve with a chutney of your choice.

  • 06 of 12

    Samosas

    Samosa
    Image © Gaurav Masand | Dreamstime.com

    For your next party, make mini samosas and serve with gunpowder chutney and a yogurt dipping sauce like minty yogurt dip. This popular Indian snack consists of crispy pastry filled with meat or mixed vegetables. In this vegetarian recipe, a homemade dough of flour and ghee are formed into cones and filled with potatoes and seasonings before being deep-fried.

  • 07 of 12

    Bhajias (Pakoras)

    Chicken Pakoda
    Image © Manubahuguna | Dreamstime.com

    Also known as pakoras, bhajias are little fritters that are the perfect quick party snack. You can make them with any vegetable you like, such as cauliflower or potato. Bengal gram flour and spices are mixed with water into a dough which coats the vegetables before frying spoonfuls to a crisp, golden brown.

  • 08 of 12

    Vada Pav

    Sabudana Vada

    Sumeet Basak/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    These potato patties (vada) in a bun (pav) are a terrific snack to serve your vegetarian guests, but no matter their diet, everyone will be gobbling up these little sandwiches. Mashed potato is seasoned with ginger and garlic pastes, green chilis, fried mustard seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric and formed into patties that are then coated in flour and deep-fried. Pav buns are dressed with chutney and filled with a crispy potato patty for a satisfying hand-held treat.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Chips and Dips Indian Style

    Chip and Dips

     The Spruce

    If you've never thought of chips and dips as an Indian appetizer, think again! The varieties of crispy flatbreads—from chapati to naan bread—make the perfect vehicle for scooping up richly flavored dips such as punjabi eggplant and onion chutney. Make a few of the dips and set out a selection for your guests to try.

  • 10 of 12

    Vegetable Pan Rolls

    Vegatable rolls

    Kreatorex /Dreamstime.com

    Vegetable pan rolls may take time to make, but the result is well worth the effort. You will find that your guests (and you!) will have trouble eating just one! A pancake made from flour, eggs, milk, and water is filled with a mixture of potatoes, peas, and tomatoes, along with a variety of spices, rolled up and fried until golden brown. Delicious served either hot or room temperature with chutney on the side for dipping.

  • 11 of 12

    Khasta Kachori

    Kachori
    Image © Uniquely India/ Getty Images

    Delicious khasta kachori (or khasta kachori) is a popular snack in Northern and Central India. "Khasta" means "crispy" and that is exactly what these lentil-filled pastries are. A flour and ghee pastry is formed into a circle and filled with a seasoned lentil mixture; the dough is pinched into a purse and then deep fried. Serve with chutney for dipping.

  • 12 of 12

    Patty Kababs

    In Indian cuisine, a kabab can refer to both grilled food on a skewer as well as a patty made of meat or vegetables that is grilled or pan-fried. Galouti kabob with lamb and papaya are the perfect finger food when made small enough to eat in a bite or two. Minced lamb is combined with flavorful spices and formed into a patty which is pan-fried in ghee.

    For a vegetarian version, try hara bhara kabab, patties made of potatoes, peas, spinach, and spices. Fry in oil, sprinkle with cashews, and serve with your favorite chutney.