Indian Dishes for Beginners

Chicken Saagwala

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

If you have decided to take the plunge and try Indian cooking, do not feel intimidated. Get started with some easier recipes that will not scare you away. These recipes contain simple ingredients, taste delicious, and make you want to give yourself a pat on the back once you're done making them.

Some of the best Indian dishes are those that are kept simple. Check out these easy Indian recipes that are perfect for you if you are an at-home cook or want to cook something in a jiffy. Just one bite of any of these dishes, and you'll be a fan.

  • 01 of 10

    Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)

    Jeera rice topped with coriander leaves

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    Jeera rice is a dish consisting of basmati rice and cumin seeds. It is a popular dish in North India and Pakistan as an everyday rice dish. Jeera is the Hindi/Urdu word for "cumin."

  • 02 of 10

    Kheema Paratha (Spicy Meat-Stuffed Bread)

    Spicy Minced Meat Kheema Paratha

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    If you have ever had naan bread, then imagine filling that bread with meats, vegetables, or just about anything. A stuffed bread is called paratha. Kheema paratha is filled with spicy minced meat made from a ​mixture of masala spices, vegetables, and ground beef.

  • 03 of 10

    Masala Kheema (Spicy Minced Meat)

    Masala kheema dry spicy minced meat

    The Spruce

    Masala kheema or minced meat can be made with any meat you prefer, although the most popular is ground beef. This dish is extremely versatile. You can tweak a change to the masala, which can result in a great new taste each time, or once it's done, you can fill it in bread for a tasty paratha dish.

  • 04 of 10

    Chicken Saagwala (Spinach Chicken)

    Chicken Saagwala

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    If you're looking for a healthier Indian meal, you might want to consider chicken saagwala, a light chicken curry dish common in northern Indian cooking, made with turmeric, cinnamon, garam masala, and fresh spinach. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Chicken Pulao

    Chicken pulao

    Joff Lee / Getty Images

    Indian chicken pulao, or pilaf, includes ingredients like vegetables, meat, or both. Long-grained rice like basmati is often used to prepare pulao.

    You can use any cut of chicken for this recipe but boneless, skinless thighs or breasts are the best. The meat is marinated for only 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

  • 06 of 10

    Mutter Paneer (Peas and Cheese)

    Mutter paneer peas cottage cheese recipe

    The Spruce

    This vegetarian, tomato-based mutter paneer curry dish takes 45 minutes to make from beginning to end. This dish uses fresh, farmer's cheese, peas, and tons of spices like ginger, cumin, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and chilies for an intense flavor. It is usually served with bread or on top of a bed of basmati rice.

  • 07 of 10

    Paneer Kebab (Cottage Cheese Kebab)

    Tandoori Paneer Tikka Kebabs

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    These fresh, paneer kebabs are quick to make; they take no longer than 10 minutes to cook. You will want to marinate the cheese in a refreshing yogurt-based paste for a few hours, so plan ahead for this dish. 

  • 08 of 10

    Daal Palak Ka Shorba (Spinach Lentil Soup)

    William Reavell

     William ReavellGetty Images

    You can make this daal palak ka shorba from scratch with split lentils and pigeon peas in under an hour. If time is really an issue, use a pressure cooker and you can be done in half the time.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Badam Milk (Almond Milk)

    Mango lassi with cardamom in glass
    travellinglight / Getty Images

    This recipe for Indian badam makes delicious spiced almond milk. Badam is the Hindi word for "almond." This drink is popular as a summer cooler, but if you warm it up, you can serve it to warm you up.

    Badam milk is delicately flavored with cardamom and made of almonds and pistachios. As an option, you can add kewra, a popular spice found in Indian markets.

    This drink is sometimes called badam pal. The drink is not only tasty but, thanks to the mix of nuts, it packs a mighty nutritious punch as well. 

  • 10 of 10

    Kheer (Rice Pudding)

    Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

    Faraz Hyder / Getty Images

    This creamy kheer (rice pudding) is delicately flavored with cardamom and is full of nuts. In the South, kheer is called payasam and in the East, it is known as payesh.