5 Easy Indian Classics You Should Master — And Make Your Own!

All five together will make a nice big Indian meal, but each dish in itself (except the rotis!) is a perfectly satisfying meal as well.


If you're Intimidated by Indian cooking, here’s a set of five recipes to get you started. Each recipe will introduce you to key steps and once you get familiar with these, you’ll find it easy to freestyle with other ingredients to create your own flavours and textures.

You’ll need  a few spices and other basics to get started, all of which you’ll find at your local Indian grocery store or supermarket. Don’t worry about anything going waste, storing spices in airtight containers away from direct sunlight will ensure their flavour stays intact for a long time. Ingredients like tamarind and lentils are also staples with a long shelf life.

Have fun with these dishes: whether you’re a newbie or a pro, these healthy recipes will help you stay on top of your cooking game.


Cooked potatoes and cauliflower in a small blue ceramic bowl vegetarian Indian dish called aloo gobi


1 / Aloo Gobi — Pan-roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower with Ginger and Cumin

This classic North Indian dish gets its flavour from slowly cooking everything to golden perfection. Leftovers make a great sandwich or make a tasty salad.

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Yellow lentil dish from Andhra Pradesh, India with spices in a red Dutch oven


 2 / Menthi Pappu — Yellow Lentils flavoured with Fenugreek Seeds

This recipe comes from Archana Pidathala’s iconic cookbook Five Morsels of Love. Classic Andhra ingredients like tamarind, tomatoes and earthy-bitter fenugreek seeds result in a lentil dish that is unusual and delicious.

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auberginesStuffed with spices in an Indian vegetarian recipe in a white ceramic bowl on a Japanese-patterned fabric


 3 / Uppu Vankaya — Baby aubergines stuffed with a spiced coconut filling

This might seem like an ambitious dish, but it’s actually all quite methodical. The result is so wildly delicious that you’ll thank yourself for trying. Adjust the levels of chilli as you see fit, and keep tasting as you go along.

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A yoghurt curry dish from Western India with spices and turmeric served in a light blue ceramic bowl


4 / Kadhi — Light Buttermilk Curry spiced with Cumin, Mustard and Turmeric

This light dish is very quick to make—it comes together in about 10 minutes and a beautiful, creamy texture. It’s wonderfully warming in cooler weather.

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Chapati made from wholewheat flour cooking on a dark flat pan


5 / Homemade Chapatis — Simple unleaven flatbread

Three ingredients (counting water!) and a few minutes of time is all it takes to put soft, hot chapatis or rotis, as they’re also known, on the table. It will take a while to get the shape right (we’re still practicing!) and the results are incredible, considering the effort.

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Images and Text: Vatsala Murthy

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