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Indian Cuisine - These popular Indian dishes are a must-try

India is an incredibly diverse country and this is also reflected in its cuisine. What Indian food has in common are the spices, curries, flatbreads and rice that you will find on every plate. In addition, every area in India has its very own cuisine and dishes that are particularly popular. Tandoori chicken is at home in northern India, Bengali cuisine is particularly known for its desserts, Goa for the spicy pork with Vindalho and Kerala is celebrated for its beef.

Regardless of whether you are new to India or a veteran India expert, Indian cuisine has a lot to offer and is always worth a visit. Here are a few highlights that you and your stomach should definitely not miss.

Masala Chai

To take one thing up front: Chai is the word for tea in Hindi. Ordering a chai tea at Starbucks is actually complete nonsense. But what many mean by this order is a traditional Masala Chai. Black tea is boiled several times with milk, sugar and spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorns, Indian bay leaves, cloves and nutmeg. The latter give the tea its special note - although most chaiwalas (tea sellers) and households have their own secret recipe.


Another classic among Indian drinks is the lassi. This yogurt drink is made from water and yogurt and is drunk sweet or salty depending on the area. If you are in Jaipur, you should definitely visit the Lassiwala on MI Road. The most delicious lassi in India has been sold here since the 1940s.
If you want to drink a very special kind of lassi, you can order Bhang-Lassi, which is mixed with cannabis leaves or flowers and is mostly consumed at Indian festivals.

Indian flatbreads

India is known for a wide variety of delicious flatbreads. Roti or chapati consist of a whole grain mixture of wheat, barley and millet - the dough is rolled out thinly and then baked in the pan. In addition to rice, these are served with every meal. Puris are made from the same flour, but are fried in fat.

Naan is more reminiscent of a soured pizza dough with yoghurt or yeast and is baked in the embers and Paratha consists of several layers, is coated with ghee and is often filled. For a Kati Roll, Paratha is filled with kebabs, vegetables or eggs, similar to a wrap, and then rolled - the perfect snack for on the go. Papadam are thin, deep-fried flatbreads made from lentil or rice flour that are eaten as a crispy side dish or snack. Dosa is made from rice flour dough and baked similar to a crepe. Dosas are mostly eaten for breakfast with lentil sauce and chutneys.

Dal Bhat

Dal is one of the foundations of the Indian diet that can be found across the country. Usually peeled lentils but also chickpeas, peas and beans are cooked to a pulp with a mixture of spices. In addition, there is fresh rice (bhat) and seasonal vegetables at Dal Bhat.


Paneer (pronounced panir) is a classic of Indian cuisine and incredibly versatile. The cream cheese is similar to ricotta, but is less salty and can be boiled or fried. When cooked, it has a tofu-like consistency, which is particularly delicious in dishes such as Palak Paneer (paneer with spinach).

Aloo Tikki

Aloo Tikki, fried potato cookies, are a popular snack. The dough consists of mashed potatoes, onions and spices. In addition, yogurt sauces are often served for dipping.


Momos come from Tibet and Nepal but are now popular all over northeastern India. The small dumplings made of wheat flour are filled with minced meat, similar to dumplings - chicken, pork, goat or lamb - and are steamed or fried. But dear vegetarians, don't hesitate, they are also available with paneer or vegetable filling.


Probably the best-known Indian snack are samosas. These triangular dumplings are filled with various goodies such as minced meat, potatoes or cheese and then fried in fat, which makes them hearty on the inside and crispy on the outside. They are particularly tasty when they are fresh and dipped in chutney before the first bite.


Pakora, also called bhaji, are another popular snack in India. In these literally translated "fritters", vegetables or meat are dipped in a batter made of chickpea flour and then fried. You can find them at street stalls or often as a starter or side dish in restaurants. The pakora taste particularly delicious, of course, fresh and still warm (and as always - dipped in mango chutney)!

Papdi Chaat

If you don't want to go without nachos in India, you can go to Papdi Chaat. Small fried dough chips are layered with yogurt and chutney, chickpeas and potatoes. They are perfect for in between: crispy, creamy and typically spicy!


Panipuri are small, hollowed-out balls of dough that are filled with pani, a watery sauce. In addition there are potatoes, chickpeas, onions and chutney which give the whole taste. Panipuri is best eaten in one large bite - they are small enough to fit completely in your mouth.


Biryani is a fried rice dish that is given a nutty flavor by adding ghee. The rice is pre-cooked with spices before it is layered in a saucepan with vegetables or goat meat and yogurt.


The Vindalho has its origins in Goa, where it was introduced during the Portuguese colonial rule. The pork, which is first marinated in garlic, wine and spices, soon became known for its spiciness. Today it is served either with pork or, in Muslim areas, with poultry. The spices include chilli, pepper, ginger and turmeric, although ready-made Vindalho curry pastes are also available today.

Tandoori chicken

The special thing about the Tandoori Chicken is not only the yogurt-spice mixture in which the chicken is pickled, but also the way it is prepared. As the name suggests, the chicken is cooked in the tandoor, a clay oven after which the dish is named. The marinade with ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander should work for 12 hours at best.

Rogan Josh

The Rogan Josh is a hearty lamb dish from the Kashmir region. Lamb is braised with a mixture of yoghurt and spices and, thanks to a lot of chilli, gets its characteristic red color. The pods come from cashmere and the seeds are removed before use, so that the dish can also be enjoyed by visitors who normally cannot tolerate Indian spiciness.


Jalebi are a sweet Indian classic. For this, a dough made of wheat flour is baked into a ring in hot oil and then dipped in sticky sugar syrup. The best come from Delhi and Agra and are enjoyed there for breakfast - fresh and hot, of course.

Gulab Jamun

Another sweet treat is gulab jamun, which is often served as a snack on the plane. These are fried dough balls that are served with sugar syrup. The main ingredient of the dough is khoa, a creamy, boiled milk that is seasoned with saffron and cardamom. As with all fried dishes, they taste best fresh.

Get hungry? For a tour through the pots of India, we recommend our delicious North & South India Real Food Adventure.

Indian Cuisine - You must have tried these popular Indian dishes was last modified: May 30th, 2018 by Annika Drag