Indian food is famed for its rich and bold flavors, laden with spices. These recipes are some of the most delicious and widely eaten dinner dishes in India. Some have meat, others are vegetarian, Indian dinner ideas are heavily focused on vegetables and spices so these meals are healthy and nourishing.
These are also easy recipes, ones you can make quickly after work, or ahead of time for a quick meal out of the fridge.
Whether you are cooking for your family or trying to learn about a new cuisine, these easy Indian dinner recipes will surely become part of your regular cooking rotations.
Keep reading for the 25 quick and easy Indian dinner ideas.
This Chicken curry will satisfy all the cravings you have for Indian dinner in one delicious bowl. When you’re searching for dinner recipes Indian food is a great choice because it comes together quickly and it’s packed with flavor.
The secret ingredient that makes this Murgh Kari so delicious is turmeric and good yogurt.
Those together make for an absolutely irresistible sauce that goes with chicken, veggies, or chickpeas perfectly.
Possibly one of the most famous Indian recipes for dinner, Tikka Masala is actually said to have originated in Great Britain.
The legend goes that an Indian chef working in England had to improvise a sauce for chicken and utilized a can of tomato soup and the spices he knew best to make this famed dish.
It’s always a winner when you need a warm and comforting meal, with a creamy and spicy sauce to go over chicken legs, beef, or lamb.
This version uses chicken which is typical for Indian restaurants and British restaurants alike.
Make this dish and we can guarantee you’ll make it a part of your weekly dinner routine.
Biryani is one of the most popular and widely made dishes in the entire subcontinent of India. As far as Indian recipes for dinner go, it’s number one.
The dish originated in Persia, and that’s where it got its name, as “Biryani” is the Persian word for “rice”.
It’s one of the simple, quick Indian dinner recipes you want to have in your repertoire. You can use any meat, this recipe uses chicken, but it’s also made with lamb or beef, vegetable, fish, or even eggs.
The rice is spiced heavily with Indian spices and usually features raisins or something sweet to accompany the dish.
4. Palak Paneer
This dish is one of the easy Indian recipes that you’ll make and not miss meat one single bit. “Palak” means spinach in the Hindi language.
This dish is loaded with spinach which is extremely healthy and also vibrant, used in such a quantity to make this sauce.
Paneer cheese is similar to cottage cheese as it’s soft and spongy but holds together a bit more than American cottage cheese.
You can cut it into cubes and stir it into curries and sauce to finish a dish. Palak Paneer is a delicious and filling way to get all those good veggies in and if you’re cooking for a vegetarian they will definitely want this recipe.
We saw Tikka Masala before, but this recipe deviates a bit from the other and makes for a really rich and delicious version of the sauce. The secret ingredient that makes this the best?
Fourteen different spices and heavy cream instead of yogurt. The sauce is addictively delicious and perfectly spiced.
The other thing that makes this the best version of tikka masala is marinating the chicken in spiced yogurt overnight.
This marinade will make for the most tender chicken to go along with the most delicious version of this sauce.
Mangos grow everywhere in India, you can walk down the street and pick up a perfectly ripe mango off the sidewalk in some places. This curry is all about the mangos.
They give the dish a really nice sweetness to balance off the spices in the curry.
This recipe uses chicken, but feel free to swap out whatever protein you like best or have on hand. For Indian food recipes, this isn’t totally traditional. Instead of making your curry spice blend, it uses an already made curry spice to save time and money.
It’s still delicious, and will definitely transport you to India with the sweet and spicy combination of curry and mango.
This chicken recipe is another spin on a classic. Cooking a whole chicken may not be traditional in Indian cuisine recipes, but this roast chicken utilized all the traditional Indian spices to make for a truly unique roasted bird.
The recipe for the spice blend has 10 different spices in it, creating a complex and addictively delicious rub for the bird.
Make this roast for your next dinner party and serve it with rice and salad, you’ll really impress your guests.
8. Mango Dal
This recipe is from the southern region of India, where dal is cooked with much more liquid to create almost a stew-like texture. The mango in this recipe provides the perfect sweetness for your dal, which is one of my backbone dishes of Indian cuisine recipes.
If you’re somewhere that doesn’t have fresh mango available, feel free to substitute frozen mango and it will work just as well.
This mango dal is the perfect dish for a light and summery meal in the hot heat.
Vindaloo is another traditional Indian dinner idea. Quick Indian dinner recipes have a lot of ties to Great Britain, and vindaloo is another example.
Vin is the French, and Indian, word for wine. Aloo means “potato” so those combined create this saucy dish of vine curry sauce and potatoes.
Of course, delicious meat like lamb added to the pot makes for an even deeper dish full of hearty flavors.
The sauce is a combination of red wine and immensely complex spices that create this delicious sauce.
10. Lamb Curry
Lamb curry can be found in so many different cuisines from Ireland to Southeast Asia. This is one of those easy Indian dinner recipes you’ll turn to time and time again.
It’s easy because you utilize the spice mix Garam Masala to make the seasoning for your curry.
Garam masala is a spice blend with warm and earthy spices like cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and black pepper.
If you’re not a fan of lamb feel free to substitute any protein you like, and it will work beautifully in this curry.
11. Goan Fish Curry
This fabulous and refreshing dish comes from Goa, a portion of India that is tropical, sunny, and right on the water.
Goan dishes often feature seafood as the main protein and have their own unique blend of spices that they like to use in that region. Not sure what fish to use?
This recipe is good for pretty much any fish you can find as it cooks quickly and doesn’t need a particular texture of fish to be successful.
12. Kofta Curry
Are you a fan of meatballs in red sauce? Well if you like that Italian classic you will absolutely love this kofta curry.
A kofta is a form of meatball prominent in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, heavily spiced and typically made with beef or lamb.
The sauce for this recipe is the real winner, it’s the perfect blend of spices to coat those koftas in a loving embrace of flavor.
Serve this with rice or naan bread for a perfect weeknight meal.
13. Chicken madras
A lot of people may wonder what the difference between Tikka masala and madras is, as they are similar in flavor and appearance.
Madras is a region in southern India where this dish originated, while Tikka masala was an invention out of Britain from chefs that were predominantly from India and Pakistan.
The two dishes do taste similar, but the secret to this madras curry? A unique blend of spices that Tikka masala does not have.
The Madras curry is ideal with chicken but can be made vegetarian as well.
The sauce is so delicious you’ll want to make a whole vat of it, and you can! Simply freeze the extra sauce for an easy meal later on.
This is the recipe you need on hand to serve under all the delicious curry recipes you’ve seen so far. Indian style rice is beautifully spiced and colored a bright, vibrant yellow with the use of turmeric.
Cinnamon, cardamom, and garlic give the rice its warm spiced flavor that pairs perfectly with all the recipes listed above.
Basmati rice is the best to use for this recipe but if you don’t have any don’t worry! You can substitute any rice and it will still work great.
15. Indian Chili
A classic chili recipe, but with the addition of Indian spices to really amp up the flavor and make this East meets West dinner idea.
We all love a good chili, topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, and some olives, but turn traditional chili on its head with this recipe.
Classic ground beef and beans are mixed with an array of curry spices to make a delicious base for this chili.
Then you top your bowl with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh herbs for a new take on the bowl of chili.
16. Aloo Chaat
In India, Chaat is a savory and sweet snack food that is often sold by street vendors, peddling snack salesmen, or in small shops across the country.
Chaat is anything with the spice blend chaat masala on it. It can be fruit, crackers, bread, dried fish, or even fried dough dipped in syrup.
This dish uses the chaat masala spice blend to season golden brown crispy fried potatoes.
The potatoes get yogurt and pomegranate over top to make for a truly beautiful dish, that is just as delicious to eat.
17. Beef Curry
This curry utilizes beef stew meat, which is not as traditionally found in Indian cuisine as they consider cows sacred, and really only uses the milk from cows to make dairy products.
However, this westernized version of Indian curry is just as tasty as the traditional ones. Tender chunks of beef are sauteed with warm, vibrant spice to make a satisfying meal for those cold and drizzling nights of fall or winter.
18. Jeera Aloo
For the vegetarians and vegans out there, here is another stellar recipe for you! Jeera refers to “cumin seeds” in Hindi, and this dish is all about the cumin seeds as the star of the show.
Traditionally it is made with only potatoes, but variations could use sweet potato, cauliflower, or even a mixture of many vegetables to make a great side dish.
The potatoes are cooked with lots of cumin seeds, ginger, and coriander then lightly seasoned with turmeric to give the potatoes the familiar yellow hue.
19. Bhindi Masala
Something that many people might not associate with Indian recipes is Okra. The funky oblong green pod is widely used across India in vegetarian dishes and curries alike.
Bhindi is the Hindi word for Okra and masala refers to the blend of aromatics and spices you cook first in the pot before adding the main components of the dish.
This Okra curry is delightful as a side to chicken or lamb, or eat it on its own with rice for a healthy and satisfying vegetarian meal.
Tikka masala returns to the list! Quick Indian recipes often feature different versions of tikka masala and this is no different here. The dish is so tasty we just had to add it twice.
This particular recipe is a little different from the last because of the thickening dairy component used.
Rather than yogurt, or cream, coconut milk is added to the curry at the very end and what results is an absolutely addicting coconutty curry that does not miss the lactose one bit.
Coconut pairs so nicely with all the warm spices, and you can substitute any nut milk you like in this recipe.
Though we’ve seen a lot of stewed chicken curry dishes, don’t get sick of them yet because this may be the best for last.
Chicken Korma is very similar to tikka masala, madras, and even butter chicken but the difference is in the spice blend.
Korma uses cinnamon and cardamom to make a warm and inviting sauce that will cure what ails you.
It’s perfect with chicken but also great with tofu or potatoes to make it fully vegetarian.
22. Matar Paneer
This dish is another one for the vegetarians out there that really want some good quick and easy Indian dinner recipes.
Matar paneer utilizes the paneer cheese, similar to cottage cheese, that’s mild and excellent at soaking up all the sauce surrounding it.
The dish is made with various spices toasted in oil with onions and garlic to make the sauce, then fresh green peas are added for a lovely bright burst of freshness and pop of color.
This dinner idea is a riff on the classic Tikka Masala. Instead of making a curry, firm white fish such as cod, halibut, tilapia, or even salmon is tossed with tikka masala-inspired spices.
The fish pieces then get skewered with vegetables like red onion, bell pepper, zucchini, or anything you have on hand, and grilled to perfection.
This is a great way to incorporate Indian recipes into a summer cookout or grilled dinner.
The fish pairs perfectly with the spice blend, and you can serve these skewers with a yogurt sauce or Indian rice from the recipe above.
24. Spiced Chicken
This chicken curry, spiced with all the delicious Indian spices and a touch of honey, comes together in just 15 minutes. It’s the ultimate comfort meal-in-a-hurry.
You’ll love how easy this Indian dinner is to make, and it keeps well in the fridge for great leftovers to have for lunch.
If you’re not a fan of chicken feel free to substitute vegetables or any protein you prefer, as the sauce for this recipe really goes with everything.
The secret to making this sauce extra tasty is to use greek yogurt that is thick and delicious to really thicken up your sauce and coat the chicken pieces.
25. Dal Tadka
Dal is one of those Indian dishes that are just essential to any Indian-inspired meal. It’s a stew made with spices and lentils, cooked down into a velvety rich dish.
Tadka Dal is made using pigeon peas, which are very similar to lentils, and when cooked down takes on that same velvet-soft texture.
This dish can also be made using husked and split red lentils if you can’t find pigeon peas. It’s the perfect side dish to the spiced roast chicken from recipe 7 above. It’s also great on its own as a main course with naan bread and rice.
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- 4 tbsps plain yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 (1 inch) piece ginger
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsps masala curry paste
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ c water
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
- In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, yogurt, garlic, and ginger. a process on high to combine everything evenly.
- Set a large pan over high heat and add oil. Add in the onion and cook, stirring, till beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the curry paste to the pan and cook, stirring, till fragrant, about a minute. Add in the blended tomato mixture and stir to combine everything.
- Add chicken to the pan and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper
- Stir together the flour and water mixture in a bowl, then pour into the pan with the chicken and sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil then turn the heat down to low. Cook till the mixture is thickened and the chicken is cooked through about 15 minutes.
- Take off the heat, and serve over rice sprinkled with cilantro