Daily Life Food

Traditional Indian Food: 28 Dishes You Must Try Once!

Traditional Indian food is famous for its vibrant flavors from various spices and herbs. India has been using these ingredients in Indian cooking for over 5000 years, making it one of the oldest culinary traditions in the world!

India’s culinary heritage is a melting pot of influences from ancient civilizations and colonial powers. Over the centuries, traders, invaders, and settlers brought their culinary techniques and ingredients, creating a diverse and exciting food culture.

From the busy streets of Mumbai to the peaceful waters of Kerala, India’s all kinds of landscapes, just like its food. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just starting your culinary exploration, Indian cuisine promises to tantalize your taste buds and keep you coming back for more.

What is India's main traditional food - top 28 Indian dishes

1. Pakora

What is a pakora made of?

Pakoras are super tasty snacks from India! Imagine crispy, golden bites of deliciousness. You can make them by dunking veggies like potatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, or even pieces of meat in a special batter made of chickpea flour.

This batter is not your ordinary one—it’s seasoned with spices like turmeric, salt, and chili, giving each bite an explosion of flavor. Coat it and then dip the veggie or meaty delights in hot ghee until golden and crispy. It’s like a magical transformation from raw to crispy goodness! People can’t get enough of them, especially during the rainy season.

2. Chaat

What is the most popular chaat?
Indian Chaat

Chaat is like a flavor explosion on the streets of India! It’s a mix of yummy snacks in bold and contrasting flavors. These snacks blend sweet, salty, and spicy tastes, making your taste buds joyful.

You can find chaat at special stalls called chaatwallas, spread out all over India. People love munching on these flavorful bites as snacks or as part of a bigger meal. You’ll often spot stalls in busy cities like Mumbai, where hunger lurks around every corner.

3. Vada Pav

what are the ingredients for vada pav
Vada Pav

The Vada Pav is a famous snack from the streets of Mumbai that everyone loves! It’s a sandwich with filling of spicy baked potatoes. You can begin with coating on potatoes in chickpea batter and fry them until crispy and golden. Then, place them between soft bread rolls called pav, making a delicious treat you can hold in your hand.

The story behind Vada Pav is pretty cool, too. It all started with a smart seller, Ashok Vaidya, who sold these tasty snacks near the Dadar train terminal in the 1960s and 1970s. People couldn’t resist the yummy combination of flavors. Soon, Vada Pav became a must-have snack for everyone in Mumbai. It’s like a piece of history you can eat!

4. Idli

What is Indian idli made of?
Indian Idli

Idli is a special breakfast dish loved by many people in South India. It’s a tasty cake from a batter like lentils and rice. It takes a lot of steam to make these cakes fluffy and light.

What makes idli even better is the yummy stuff you can eat it with! A spicy lentil stew called sambar and different kinds of chutneys to dip your idlis in. It’s like a flavor party on your plate!

But here’s the best part: you can enjoy idlis anytime! They’re not just for breakfast—they also make a great snack or meal. With their soft texture and delicious taste, idlis are a favorite for anyone who loves Indian food. They’re like a warm hug for your tummy!

Also read: 12 Different Types of Food Around The World

5. Paratha

What is Indian paratha made of?

The Paratha is a favorite breakfast dish in India. It’s made from grain flour and cooked in clarified butter, known as ghee. You can find parathas in different shapes like triangles, squares, or even hexagonals!

But what makes parathas special is what’s inside. You can also stuff them with yummy fillings like baked potatoes, ginger, cauliflower, garlic, chili, paneer (Indian cheese), or radish. So many options to choose from!

And when it comes to serving, parathas are versatile. You can enjoy them with pickles, yogurt, simple chutneys, or as a side dish with curries of meat or vegetables. In Punjab, people love having parathas alongside lassi, a refreshing and tangy yogurt drink. It’s like a complete and delicious breakfast package!

6. Naan

Is naan traditionally Indian?
Naan Bread

It is is a mouthwatering Indian flatbread well-known for its chewy texture and distinctive tear-drop shape. It’s a special treat with salt, yeast, white flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. These ingredients come together to create a dough that’s soft and stretchy.

But what makes naan bread extra special is its cooking. Naan is traditionally cook in a unique tandoor oven rather than regular oven. Tandoor is hot, like a cozy fireplace. The dough for the naan is slapped onto the inner walls of the tandoor, where it bakes quickly and puffs up, giving it that signature shape.

People in places like Punjab and northern India adore naan bread. It’s a staple in their meals and is often serve alongside delicious dishes like curries and stews. The soft, chewy texture of naan makes it the perfect partner for soaking up all the tasty flavors of these dishes.

But naan bread isn’t just popular in India. It’s become a favorite among food lovers all around the globe. Its unique taste and texture have made it a hit on menus in restaurants everywhere.

7. Potato Cauliflower Curry (Aloo Gobi)

Is Aloo Gobi traditional indian food?
Potato Cauliflower Curry (Aloo Gobi)

Aloo Gobi is a delightful vegetarian dish that brings together the earthy goodness of potatoes and the crispness of cauliflower (gobi), infused with a symphony of aromatic Indian spices. This dish not only tantalizes the taste buds but also fills the air with a comforting aroma that promises a satisfying meal.

The star ingredient in Aloo Gobi is its warm, golden-yellow hue, derived from the generous use of turmeric. This vibrant color adds visual appeal and contributes to the dish’s rich flavor.

Aloo Gobi features a harmonious blend of common Indian ingredients, including kalonji (nigella seeds), curry leaves, ginger, garlic, onions, coriander stalks, tomatoes, cumin, and peas. Each ingredient plays a crucial role in enhancing the depth and complexity of flavors, creating a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

8. Butter Chicken

Is Indian butter chicken the same as tikka masala?
Butter Chicken

The Butter chicken is a yummy dish from India that everyone loves. It’s made with tender pieces of chicken steamed in a special tomato sauce with spices. This dish is full of flavors and textures that make it delicious.

Traditionally, butter chicken is cooked in a clay oven called a tandoor. The sauce is made by simmering fresh tomatoes, garlic, and cardamom until they turn into a nice red sauce. Then, everything gets blended to make it smooth.

You can add Butter, spices, and khoa to make the sauce extra tasty. This creates a creamy and indulgent sauce that perfectly covers each chicken piece.

Butter chicken first became popular in the 1950s in Delhi, and now it’s famous worldwide. People love it for its amazing taste and how comforting it feels to eat. It’s a dish that’s sure to make your taste buds happy!

9. Dal Tadka

Is Dal tadka traditional indian food?
Indian Dal Tadka

Dal Tadka is a yummy dish from northern India that everyone loves. It’s made with lentils, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and many tasty spices. This dish is full of rich flavors and smells good, too.

To make Dal Tadka, you need toor dal (yellow split peas) and spices like hot peppers, cumin, fenugreek leaves, coriander, and turmeric. These ingredients give the dish its delicious taste and make it nutritious, too!

Once everything is cooked perfectly, fresh coriander leaves are added for extra flavor. Dal Tadka is best enjoyed hot with beans in butter, rice, and roti. It’s a yummy meal that combines lots of tasty flavors and textures.

10. Masala Dosa

What is the difference between dosa and masala dosa?
Indian Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa is a dish from southern India and people like it for its crispy texture and flavorful filling. This iconic delicacy begins with a batter crafted from a blend of black lentils and rice soaked in water. 

This batter gets left to sit overnight to get all fluffy and delicious. Flavor it with fenugreek seeds to make its taste even better.

Cook the batter on a hot grill with oil until golden brown and crispy. Then, fill it with a yummy mixture of onions, mustard seeds, and potatoes. Add coconut flakes and fresh corander to make it even tastier.

Masala Dosa is perfect for a quick snack or a yummy breakfast. It’s crunchy, savory, and super.  

11. Sambar

What is sambar made of and how does it taste like?

Sambar is a delightful dish that originates from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. It’s popular for its tangy and comforting flavors that bring warmth to any mealtime.

You can make this delicacy from a harmonious blend of tamarind, lentils, and vibrant vegetables, including drumsticks, okra, carrots, and tomatoes. Each ingredient adds unique flavor and texture, creating a symphony of tastes in every spoonful.

The heart of Sambar lies in its rich and aromatic broth, simmered to perfection to capture the essence of South Indian cuisine. The tangy tamarind, earthy lentils, and tender vegetables meld together, creating a flavor that tingles the taste buds and comforts the soul.

Sambar’s versatility is another reason for its popularity. It can be enjoyed alongside steamed rice for a hearty meal or paired with traditional South Indian flatbreads like dosa or idli for a delightful snack.

No matter how it’s served, Sambar is a culinary delight that embodies the vibrant flavors and rich culinary heritage of South India. If you are a fan of traditional Korean food then read this post.

12. Dal Makhani

What does Dal Makhani taste like?
Dal Makhni

It is another traditional indian food and a super tasty dish from Punjab, a state in India known for its rich and indulgent cuisine. This dish is like a superstar in Indian cooking!

You need a mix of black lentils and beans to make Dal Makhani. These lentils are cooked slowly in a yummy tomato sauce until right. The sauce is flavored with ghee (clarified butter), ginger, garlic, and chili, which makes it smell amazing and taste even better.

But what makes Dal Makhani special is the cream and butter or ghee added at the end. This makes the dish extra luxurious and rich, taking it to a new level of deliciousness.

People in Punjab love to eat Dal Makhani during special celebrations, but it’s also perfect for a cozy meal at home. It’s a dish that’s packed with flavor and represents the rich culinary traditions of Punjab. No wonder it’s loved by food enthusiasts all over the world!

13. Chana Masala

What do you eat with chana masala?
Chana Masala

Spicy Chana Masala is a delicious dish originating from North India. It features chickpeas cooked in aromatic spices and herbs, resulting in a flavorful dish. Chana Masala is a versatile dish and people love it for its tangy taste. Whether served as a quick snack, a hearty main meal, or even as part of a traditional breakfast, it never fails to satisfy taste buds.

This delightful dish pairs perfectly with staples like rice and flatbreads like roti and naan, providing a hearty and satisfying meal. Chana Masala is a beloved favorite among people of all ages, found in various settings across India, from bustling railway platforms to school canteens.

Add a dollop of creamy yogurt on top for an extra touch of indulgence which enhance the dish’s richness and creaminess. With its irresistible taste and comforting aroma, Chana Masala continues to bring people together, uniting them in their love for this flavorful North Indian delight.

14. Shahi Paneer

What is Shahi Paneer made of - shahi paneer recipe
Shahi Paneer

Paneer is a delectable dish hailing from Mughlai cuisine, originating in the northern regions of India. This culinary treasure features paneer cheese, a firm, and creamy cheese simmered in a sumptuous tomato-cream sauce infused with aromatic spices. 

The sauce, enriched with onions and almond paste, imparts a luxurious texture and depth of flavor to the dish. With its roots tracing back to the Mughal emperors, Shahi Paneer is a delight for its regal richness and indulgent taste. 

People usually enjoy it with traditional Indian breads like roti and naan. It allows the diners to savor the creamy goodness of the curry alongside the warmth of freshly baked bread. 

It has a garneshing of fresh coriander leaves to enhance its flavors that adds a burst of freshness to each bite. Loved for its decadence and royal heritage, Shahi Paneer continues to captivate palates and remain a cherished favorite in Indian cuisine.

15. Rogan Josh

Is rogan josh traditional indian food?
Rogan Josh

It is a special dish from Kashmir, a beautiful place known for its amazing food. People everywhere can’t get enough of it! Imagine tender pieces of lamb, so juicy and tasty, cooked in a thick, flavorful sauce. 

This sauce isn’t like any other – you can make it with onions, yogurt (which makes it all creamy), garlic, ginger, and lots of other spices that make it taste really special. 

And you know what’s super interesting? The sauce gets its bright red color from these special dried chilis they use. Every time you take a bite, it’s like going on a yummy adventure, discovering all the amazing flavors of Kashmiri cuisine!

16. Tandoori Chicken

What gives tandoori chicken its flavor - is tandoori chicken good for health?
Tandoori Chicken

The Tandoori Chicken is a traditional indian food that people love worldwide, and its story is fascinating. Now, think about this: tender pieces of chicken soaking up a mixture of yogurt and many different spices that make it taste amazing. They even use tandoori masala, nutmeg (which smells so good!), and cumin (which adds a bit of earthiness). 

The chicken is cook in a special oven “tandoor” after spending hours in the yummy marination. This oven is super hot and gives the chicken this delicious smoky flavor that’s out of this world. And what’s cool? 

When you’re near a place cooking tandoori chicken, you can smell the spices mixing with the scent of wood burning, which is so tempting! With its bold flavors and juicy meat, tandoori chicken is one of the best dishes in Indian cuisine.

17. Vindaloo

What does Indian vindaloo taste like?
Chicken Vindaloo

The vindaloo is a curry dish people love, especially in places like Goa and the Konkan region. It’s famous for having strong flavors and a nice smell. Usually, it’s prepared from marinated pork, but you can also find it with chicken, mutton, paneer, or beef. 

The name “vindaloo” actually comes from a Portuguese dish called “carne de vinha d’alhos,” which means “marinated in garlic and vinegar.” So, you can imagine it’s got this tasty tanginess to it. 

They add Indian spices like tamarind, cardamom, cinnamon, and spicy chilis, giving it this amazing mix of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors that dance on your tongue! Vindaloo is an absolute traditional indian food.

18. Malabar Fish Curry

what is malabar fish curry ingredients and recipe?
Malabar Fish Curry

A Malabar fish curry is a delicious dish from Kerala, known for its beautiful coastal areas. People love it because it tastes amazing and has a creamy texture. This special curry is made with fish like seer, tilapia, sea bass, or sardines. 

They cook the fish with spices and herbs that make it smell really good. The sauce has tomatoes, onions, chili powder, hot chili peppers, turmeric, and tasty stuff like coriander, garlic, curry leaves, and fenugreek. 

They also use tamarind and coconut milk to make it extra rich and creamy. They even fry some curry leaves to give it an extra flavor boost! Malabar fish curry is like a celebration of all the delicious tastes you can find along the coast of Kerala.

19. Biryani – Traditional Indian Food

Why is biryani so popular in India?
Indian Chicken Biryani

Biryani is a special dish with a cool history that returns to Mughal rule. People all over the Indian subcontinent love it because it tastes amazing and smells so good! You can make Biryani with long-grain basmati rice cooked with lots of yummy spices and layered with meat, eggs, or veggies. 

Sometimes, they add extra stuff like nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt to make it even tastier. Rumor has it that Biryani was made for Mumtaz Mahal for the very first time. She was the queen to Emperor Shah Jahan. Biryani is a dish that people will always love with its awesome flavors and interesting story and its on the top in the list of traditional indian food!

20. Samosa

What are traditional samosas made of?
Indian Samosa

Samosas are India’s favorite street food snack. It has a fascinating history that goes back to ancient Middle Eastern cuisine, where it was called “Samsa.” The name “samosa” comes from the Persian word “sanbosag,” which means “triangular pastry.”

These little golden-brown pastry triangles have a filling of lentils, onions, spiced potatoes, and peas. Sometimes, they even include ground lamb, beef, or chicken for extra flavor. You’ll often find them deep-fried or baked until they’re perfectly crispy and golden.

When you bite into a samosa, it’s like a burst of flavors in your mouth! -=They’re usually served hot with yogurt, sliced onions, curry sauces, or chutneys, like coriander, mint, or tamarind.

People have been enjoying Samosas as a popular street food for a long time. They traveled to India from Central Asia along ancient trade routes, and now they’re a big part of the country’s delicious food scene.

21. Ras Malai

Is ras malayi traditional indian food?
Dessert Ras Malayi

Ras Malai is a popular Indian dessert from West Bengal and is a real treat for your taste buds. You can make this sweet dish with a heavenly mix of sugar, white cream, paneer cheese, and milk, which they call chhana in Bengali cuisine.

It’s got this amazing smell of cardamom that makes it extra special, and the texture is just perfect – soft and spongy. Sometimes, they add almonds, cashews, and saffron to make it even more delicious, giving it a nice crunch and a bit of luxury.

Ras Malai is served cold and decorated with fragrant seeds of cardamom and dried fruits. It’s a must-have dessert during celebrations like Holi and Diwali, where each bite is like a burst of tradition and happiness.

22. Kulfi

What is Indian kulfi made of?
Indian Traditional Kulfi

Kulfi is a traditional dessert many in India love, showing off the country’s amazing food history. It goes way back to the time of the Mughal Empire and the people living in the Himalayas make it for the very first time.

To make Kulfi, they start with whole milk and slowly cook it until it gets thick and creamy. This special process makes it super rich and delicious. They shape it into these cool cones using traditional molds with tight lids, which makes it even more special.

What makes Kulfi tasty is its flavors. They add pistachio, green tea, rose water, and saffron, giving it a mix of delicious tastes that make your mouth water.

Whether buying one from a street vendor or enjoying it at a big party, Kulfi is a dessert everyone loves. It’s like a little piece of India’s diverse and skilled food culture.

23. Gulab Jamun

What is gulab jamun Indian - Which city is famous for gulab jamun in India
Gulab Jamun Dessert

A Gulab jamun is a beloved dessert in Indian cuisine, like a little piece of heaven. It’s sweet, luxurious, and oh-so-delicious! They start by mixing milk solids into a soft dough to make it. Then, they shape this dough into small balls and fry them until they’re perfectly golden in aromatic ghee, a clarified butter that smells amazing.

Once the gulab jamun balls are nice and crispy, they’re soaked in syrup with green cardamom, saffron, and rose water. These flavors make every bite taste heavenly and leave a wonderful aroma.

To make gulab jamun even more special, they often decorate it nut-free, adding a yummy crunch and making the flavors richer. It’s a dessert that’s sure to delight your taste buds!

24. Barfi

What is the taste of barfi - traditional indian food
Indian Barfi Sweet

Barfi is a special sweet treat in India, and it’s a big part of our culinary traditions. It comes from Persia, but we’ve made it our own, and become a favorite here.

To make barfi, they mix milk solids, sugar, and aromatic ghee, clarified butter that smells amazing. They cook this mixture until it’s smooth and creamy, perfect for melting in your mouth.

The classic recipe includes a mix of cashews, pistachios, and peanuts, but there are many different versions depending on where you are. Some add fruits, rose water, saffron, gram flour, or almonds to make it even more delicious.

Every bite of barfi is like a little celebration of sweetness and richness, showing off the amazing variety of Indian sweets. If you are a fan of other cuisines like traditional Spanish food then explore the post here.

25. Lassi

What does Indian lassi taste like - indian lassi recipe
Indian Punjabi Lassi

Lassi is a classic drink that is close to the lively culture of Punjab. It’s a refreshing treat that delights your taste buds with its creamy texture and amazing flavors.

Traditionally, lassi is served in cute clay cups called kulhars. You can make it by blending yogurt, water, and a mix of fruits or spices until smooth and velvety. You can enjoy it sweetened with delicious mango or with a hint of tanginess from salt. Either way, it’s a burst of flavors that wakes up your taste buds and makes you feel refreshed.

Mango lassi is especially popular and brings sunny orchards and tropical goodness to mind. With its coolness and yummy taste, lassi is a favorite drink for locals and travelers alike, especially on hot days when you need a break from the heat.

26. Pani Puri

What is the difference between panipuri and golgappa - traditional indian food
Pani Puri

The Pani Puri is a popular street food and it’s a burst of flavors and textures in every bite. You can make this special dish with a crispy, hollow puri and fry it until it’s just right. Fill it with a delicious mix of potato, onion, or chickpeas.

But here’s where it gets really tasty: each puri gets a generous tangy tamarind chutney, a sprinkle of chaat masala, and a splash of flavored water. This creates a perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors to make your taste buds dance!

The best way to enjoy Pani Puri is to eat it all in one bite to get the full explosion of flavors. And for those who can’t get enough of this tasty treat, ready-to-eat Pani Puri boxes are available, making it easy to satisfy your cravings anytime, anywhere.

27. Malai Kofta

Is malayi kofta traditional indian food?
Malayi Kofta

Malai Kofta is like a veggie version of meatballs but with a twist of culinary magic! Make these yummy koftas from gourd (Lauki) or unripe bananas. Cook them in a creamy gravy with tomatoes, cream, and aromatic spices.

As they simmer together, the flavors blend and create a truly delightful taste sensation. Originally from Punjab, Malai Kofta has become a hit worldwide. You can find it in restaurants everywhere, often served with bread or rice for a hearty and satisfying meal that’s sure to please your taste buds!

28. Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)

Is Palak Paneer traditional indian food?
Spinach Cottage Cheese aka Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is another traditional indian food. It is also known as Spinach and Cottage Cheese, is like a superhero of yummy food. It’s a mix of healthy spinach and tasty cheese. Imagine soft spinach leaves cuddling with chunks of cottage cheese in a warm hug of flavors.

This dish is a winner for both your taste buds and your health. You can eat it with soft naan bread or flat roti for a perfect meal. It’s a timeless favorite, a classic dish embodying the essence of Indian cuisine – rich, flavorful, and utterly satisfying.

You can enjoy Palak Paneer with fluffy naan bread or crispy roti, making it a complete and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether dining at an Indian restaurant or cooking it at home with love, Palak Paneer is always a hit.

Traditional Indian Food

Traditional Indian food has captivated hearts and palates worldwide and offers a rich tapestry of flavors, aromas, and textures that leave a lasting impression. The dishes highlighted here are just a glimpse of India’s culinary wonders.

From street food delights like Pani Puri to comforting classics like Malai Kofta and Palak Paneer, Indian cuisine has found a permanent place on tables worldwide.

Leave a Reply