01of 12 Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) The SpruceMurgh Makhani (butter chicken) is one of the top orders at any Indian restaurant in the West and for good reason—it is delicious. This sultry poultry dish tastes great with kaali daal (black lentils), naan, and a green salad.If you have a well-stocked spice drawer, the only pantry ingredient you may need is kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Otherwise, this recipe calls for common ingredients like olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, butter, and tomato puree.
02of 12Instant Pot Butter ChickenThe Spruce / Diana RattrayIf you love murgh makhani but don’t have a lot of time, try Instant Pot butter chicken. It has all the delicious flavors of butter, cream, tomatoes, garlic, and spices like garam masala, cumin, ginger, and coriander, but with less cooking time.
03of 12Tandoori ChickenElaine LemmIt’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t fall in love with tandoori chicken, that famous Indian barbecue chicken recipe. Although traditionally cooked in a clay oven, you can prepare the yogurt-marinated chicken in a regular oven (or on the grill). You do need to plan ahead, as the coated chicken should sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. If you prefer, you can sear the marinated chicken cubes first on the stovetop to achieve that signature tandoori char.
04of 12Chicken Tikka MasalaAngel Gallardo / Getty ImagesChicken tikka masala is a delicious grilled chicken dish with a thick, creamy gravy that is unforgettable after the first bite. A tomato-yogurt sauce is spiced with chili, garlic, ginger, and garam masala, the ubiquitous Indian spice blend. The chicken is marinated overnight, grilled, and then gently cooked in a slightly smoky gravy. You will want to serve this dish over basmati rice with warm naan bread for soaking up the sauce. For a quick version, try making it in the Instant Pot.
05of 12Chicken Vindaloo CurryThe Spruce / Elaine LemmThis is a mild and sweetly spiced recipe for chicken vindaloo curry. Contrary to current belief, curries do not have to be hot and fiery and, in fact, never started out that way in India. Creating the curry paste is the most important part of this dish, so don’t skimp on the ingredients.
06of 12Rogan Josh (Red Lamb)The Spruce Rogan Josh, the name of this dish from Kashmir, translates roughly to “red lamb.” The color comes from Kashmiri dry red chilies. While the name may sound fiery, the heat of the dish is toned down by the cream that is added at the end.The list of spices called for in this recipe may seem long, but a trip to your local international food market should set you up nicely. Spices such as cardamom, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala are often sold in small bulk quantities, so they’ll last for quite a long time.
07of 12Malai KoftaThe Spruce Eats / Ulyana VerbytskaMalai kofta (vegetable “meatballs” in a thick sauce) is the vegetarian alternative to meatballs. The koftas are made with a mix of potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and sweet corn, which are cooked and mashed before mixing with spices and paneer, that essential blocked “cheese” that is similar to tofu in texture and a great addition to any vegetarian meal. It’s rather easy to find if you don’t want to make it, especially if you shop at a natural foods market. Malai kofta goes very well with naan or jeera rice.
08of 12Chole (Chickpea Curry)The Spruce Eats / Nita WestA classic and easy chole chickpea curry, is a favorite in Northern India and has become a worldwide sensation. It’s perfect for a crowd, especially if you serve it hot along with fried Indian leavened bread like poori or bhatura.The ingredient list looks more intimidating than the recipe is in reality. Once you have the chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes, along with garlic and ginger pastes, all you need are those common Indian spices that make this cuisine unique.
09of 12Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)Christine Glade / Getty ImagesOne of the most popular paneer recipe at Indian restaurants is palak paneer, a mildly flavored dish made with spinach and cottage cheese (the paneer), along with the typical Indian spices.Thanks to the large portions of spinach and fenugreek leaves included in the recipe, this dish takes on a deep green hue. The cubed paneer are pan-fried first, contributing a nice texture to the dish. Palak paneer gets even better when served with your favorite flatbread.
10of 12Kaali Daal (Black Lentils)Jelena Jojic Tomic / Stocksy UnitedThere are certain dishes, such as butter chicken, that go perfectly with a side of (mom’s lentils) because it is wholesome and delicious.You’ll need to soak your black lentils overnight, but after that, it’s an easy recipe. The only new ingredients you’ll need are ghee (clarified butter) and asafetida (a resinous gum), both of which will be useful in your Indian food adventures.