Collection of Spices

We might love our tandooris, kormas, and tikka masalas, but thanks to what appears to be an array of complex flavors, Indian cuisine may not one many of us would dare attempt to cook in our own kitchens. The complexity of Indian cuisine comes from its age and its influences — Culinary Schools explains that it dates back 5,000 years and is a melting pot of Mongolian, Persian, Mughal, and Chinese flavors.

Tasting Table’s collection of Indian recipes makes sure to use Indian cooking’s most popular spice combinations including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and mustard seeds. Most are vegetarian, if not vegan, and all are likely to appeal. This collection takes the mystery out of one of the world’s most alluring and aromatic cooking styles, and we invite you to think of this as a gateway guide to Indian cooking. We’re guessing that once you’ve tried Indian cookery at home, we doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Air Fryer Samosa

Air Fryer Samosa

Who can say no to a deep-fried pastry filled with a savory mix of potatoes, peas, onions, and garlic, jazzed up with Indian spices? While there is something to be said about original samosas, this version is air fried, which means you get the same goodness for fewer calories, and it makes use of a premade crust, which means you get the same taste sensation with much less effort.

Instant Pot Chana Masala

Instant Pot Chana Masala

The tasty chana masala hails from North India, per Taste Atlas, and is made by simmering chickpeas in a blend of spices. The dish might be easy to make, but it is also notoriously time-consuming to prepare, not just because you need time for the star ingredient — the chickpeas — to cook, but also because you to give the liquid in the dish time to boil off, leaving you with a rich, thick, flavorful gravy. This method uses an Instant Pot, which whittles the cooking time right down.

Healthy Moong Dal

Healthy Moong Dal

They’re high protein, low fat, and an essential part of Indian cooking. Dal, or split pulses, are a quick way to add protein to any meal, no matter what diet you might happen to be following. There are several different types of dal, per Suhkis, but for the purposes of this dish, you’ll be using mung beans. Think of this as a thick, nutritious soup that is a meal in and of itself, particularly when served with naan or rice.

Matar Paneer

Matar Paneer

Paneer is a classic ingredient in Indian cuisine, which Sukhis states dates back to the 16th century, and to the country’s Persian and Afghan conquerors. The ingredient is a type of Indian cheese, which most cooks make at home. It is then used in many different ways and is widely served with a spicy gravy like this mater paneer, which is flavored with tomatoes, heavy cream, as well as a traditional Indian spice combination.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Few dishes are as comforting as a bowl of palak paneer — a creamy, spinach-based concoction that isn’t only full of flavor thanks to its spice mix, it also packs a nutritional wallop. The dish has a protein, too, since paneer is a fresh cheese made by mixing full-fat milk and an acid like lemon juice, then draining the curds, per MasterClass. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can make your own paneer. Otherwise, the dish works just as well with a store-bought version of this popular Indian cheese.

Vegetable Korma

Vegetable Korma

Kormas exist in different variations across different parts of India and can be made with just about anything from meat and poultry to vegetables, per MasterClass. This flavorful dish makes use of a much more straightforward blend of spices than its Indian cousins, and it leans into coconut milk in place of yogurt, to deliver a braised, Indian-style treat vegetarian treat. And if you’re craving meat to go with your korma, Table Agent states that a vegetable korma would do well as a side dish.

Coconut Curry Mussels

Coconut Curry Mussels

Seafood may not be something we see cooked into an Indian curry too often, but it is more popular than you might think. The regions of Goa and Maharashtra are located by the sea, and Table Agent says it is primarily because of these areas that there are fish curries cooked in coconut milk. This curry, which is a Tasting Table original, takes a leaf out of that region’s cooking by blending coconut milk and mussels into a flavorful, Indian-inspired creation.

Sweet Potato Soup Curry

Sweet Potato Soup Curry

This might not be a textbook, traditional Indian soup, but its tradition-inspired flavors are sure to hit all the right notes with Indian food fans who are looking for something thick and hearty. The use of turmeric brings out the rich fall color of the sweet potato, and its spice blend makes this the perfect soup for the cooler days and nights. Best when served with Indian bread, like naan or a roti.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup Curry

Spicy Egg Curry

Spicy Egg Curry

We might think that there is little you can do with boiled eggs other than make a salad, but the Indians would like to have a word. Egg curry is a popular dish which exists in different forms around the country, per NDTV. Egg curry can be made with just about any kind of gravy, whether the sauce is made with tomato or spinach. Our version of egg curry is a simplified version of this ultimate Indian comfort food, making it an easy weeknight dish for those days when time is at a premium.

Classic Masala Dosa

Classic Masala Dosa

If you’re looking for a recipe to quickly whip up and serve, then this classic masala dosa may not be for you, because getting this right needs time. But if you want to have a go at making this delightful South Indian crepe-type bread, then we can see this becoming a favorite. This is no ordinary flour crepe — a dosa is made with a batter of fermented rice and lentils, then stuffed with a potato curry. Just remember to give yourself half a day to prep the batter before cooking.

Recipe: Classic Masala Dosa

Khichdi

Khichdi

Those of us who know and love Indian food but balk a bit at cooking it up in our own kitchens because it can take plenty of time and attention and may require a many number of pots. However, this recipe for khichdi could be the exception. Per The Better India, this dish — which sees lentils and rice cooked up in one pot, is one of the oldest dishes found in the country, and is a beloved favorite to this day.

Recipe: Khichdi

Crispy Buttered Turmeric Rice

Crispy Buttered Turmeric Rice

Until recently, turmeric was not a spice that was often seen or used in a typical western kitchen, but it gets plenty of attention in India, where it is used in many curries and marinades. There might not be much by way of medicinal value in this turmeric rice, but it offers up a visually stunning, delicious side dish when served up with grilled meats and seafood.

Recipe: Crispy Buttered Turmeric Rice

Kanda Poha

Kanda Poha

It might be difficult for us to imagine having rice for breakfast, but it is standard fare in different parts of the world. Kanda Poha, which the Love of Spice says came from the Indian state of Maharashtra, is one such dish. Poha is rich which, per Tarladalal is rich which has been "parboiled, rolled, flattened and then dried to produce flakes" which come in varying degrees of thickness. This version of kanda poha includes peanuts and spices for a light meal or filling snack.

Vegan Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun

Vegan Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun

This highly aromatic dessert is traditionally made with milk, per Serious Eats, putting it beyond the reach of vegans who might otherwise enjoy Indian food. But this version swaps out the milk for sweet potatoes and proceeds to harness the same flavors you might find in a milky gulab jamun, making this vegan version of India’s traditional sweet dumpling the perfect way to end a sumptuous Indian meal.

Recipe: VeganSweet Potato Gulab Jamun

Tim Graham’s Kasundi

Tim Graham's Kasundi

Chef Tim Graham has been associated with a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and we’d like to think of this recipe as his tribute to this Bengali condiment. As the recipe suggests, make sure you toast your spices before you use them, to get the most out of them — as Serious Eats points out, toasting your spices is one sure way to get them to flavor a dish in the way that they are meant to. Toasting spices can be an Indian cook’s secret to making mouthwatering dishes.