Most Popular Indian Dishes

Most Popular Indian Dishes
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India’s culinary landscape is as diverse and complex as the country itself. Travel from north to south or east to west and you’ll discover an endless variety of flavorful dishes, each with its own regional twist and storied origins. From the aromatic biryanis of Hyderabad to the coconut-laden curries of Kerala, the incredible range of Indian cuisine reflects the coming together of various cultures, ingredients, and cooking techniques over centuries.

These are not just recipes, but windows into India’s rich social, cultural, and geographical diversity.

Most Popular Indian Dishes

Here are the list of Indian dishes region wise :-

North Indian Dishes – Punjab

Punjab is known as the food bowl of India. The dishes from here are characterized by use of abundant dairy products like milk, cream, butter and yogurt. Some iconic Punjabi dishes include:

Butter Chicken – A creamy and rich chicken gravy dish made with tomatoes, butter, cream and spices. Extremely popular.

Dal Makhani – A thick lentil and kidney bean curry cooked overnight on slow fire. Tempered with butter and cream to give a velvety texture.

Sarson da Saag – A winter specialty made with mustard leaves, spinach and bathua leaves cooked together with makki ki roti.

Makki di Roti – Thick cornflour breads roasted on tawa. Eaten with saag.

Amritsari Kulcha – Fluffy baked breads stuffed with a spiced potato filling and served with chole.

Chole Bhature – A flavorful chickpea curry served with puffed fried breads. One of the most loved dish across India.

North Indian Dishes – Haryana

Haryana cuisine is dominated by dairy products and desi ghee. Some popular dishes are:

Kadhi Pakora – A soothing yogurt based gravy with fried dumplings called pakoras.

Methi Paratha – Healthy Indian flatbreads stuffed with fresh fenugreek leaves and spices.

Bajra Khichdi – Pearl millet pulao cooked with moong dal and vegetables. Simple comfort food.

North Indian Dishes – Delhi

As the capital, Delhi offers dishes from all North Indian states. Some iconic preparations are:

Chole Bhature – The ever popular combination of spicy chickpea curry and puffed breads.

Chaat Items – From golgappas to bhel puri, Delhi is the Chaat capital of India offering countless snack items.

Kebabs – Be it Galouti or Kakori, Delhi excels in melt-in-mouth kebabs and tikkas.

North Indian Dishes – Uttar Pardesh

Mughlai cuisine reached its zenith in Uttar Pradesh. From exotic biryanis to rich kormas, the state offers a wide array like:

Kebabs – Lucknowi tunde kebabs and Galouti kebabs are world famous for their smooth textures.

Biryanis – Be it the awadhi Lucknowi or Hyderabadi, biryani is integral to UP cuisine.

Malai Makkhan – Thick cream delicacy tempered with saffron. A royal delicacy.

Nihari – A slow cooked mutton stew traditionally eaten for breakfast.

North Indian Dishes – Rajasthan

The desert state makes excellent use of locally available ingredients. Prominent dishes are:

Dal Bati Churma – Pancharatna dal, baked wheat balls and sweet balls of churma make this high energy combo.

Gatte ki Sabzi – A unique curry made with chickpea flour dumplings simmered in a yogurt based gravy.

Laal Maas – Fiery mutton curry in red hot gravy made using loads of red chillies.

Pyaaz Kachori – Crispy fried savoury pastries filled with a fiery onion filling.

Mirchi Vada – Green chillies dipped in gram flour batter and fried. Served with sweet and spicy chutneys.

South Indian Dishes – Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s cuisine is characterized by a balanced use of spices and the extensive use of lentils and vegetables. Rice is the staple food.

Dosa – The thin, crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentil batter is a breakfast favorite. Varieties like masala dosa and rava dosa are popular.

Idli Sambar – Soft, steamed rice cakes served with sambar – a lentil and vegetable stew make for wholesome breakfast.

Uttapam – Thick savory pancake with onions, tomatoes and other vegetables. Great for a quick bite.

Sambar vada– Crisp deep-fried lentil fritters dunked in sambar is a much loved tea-time snack.

South Indian Dishes – Kerala

Kerala cuisine features coconut extensively along with spices like black pepper, cardamom and cinnamon. Rice, fish and vegetables cooked in coconut milk or coconut oil are common.

Sadya – Elaborate vegetarian feast served on banana leaf during festivals and ceremonies. Many side dishes including sambar, rasam, thoran, pickles, pachadi etc.

Appam – Bowl shaped rice pancake, soft and fluffy. Served with stew or vegetable curry. Avial – Mixed vegetable curry with coconut and curd.

Thoran – Stir fried vegetable dish with shredded coconut.

Porotta – Flaky, multilayered flatbread. Great with beef, chicken or vegetable curries.

South Indian Dishes – Karnataka

The cuisine of Karnataka is diverse, ranging from mild to very spicy dishes.

Bisi bele bath – Spicy rice and lentil dish with vegetables. A complete meal in itself.

Ragi mudde – Finger millet flour dumplings enjoyed with sambar.

Akki roti – Flatbread made with rice flour. Crisp outside and soft inside.

Benne dosa – Crispy lentil dosa served with generous dollops of white butter.

South Indian Dishes – Andhra Pardesh / Telangana

Andhra cuisine is the spiciest of all South Indian cuisines with extensive use of chilli powder.

Hyderabadi biryani – Spicy, aromatic rice and meat dish, original to Hyderabad. Uses basmati rice and unique method of cooking.

Mirchi ka salan – Green chilli and peanut gravy with a distinctive taste.

Gongura mutton – Spicy mutton curry with gongura leaves popular in Andhra.

Pesara pappu – Split green gram dal, tempered with urad dal. Healthy lentil dish.

East Indian Dishes – West Bengal

West Bengal is a food lover’s paradise with its rich culinary heritage.

Machher jhol – a light and tasty fish curry, is a staple Bengali dish made with Rohu fish in a gravy of turmeric, garlic, onions and spices.

Kosha mangsho – A mouthwatering mutton dish where the meat is slowly cooked in a rich gravy redolent with aromatic spices.

For dessert – Malpuas are fluffy pancakes soaked in sugar syrup while sandesh is a melt-in-your-mouth creamy sweet made from chhena or curdled milk.

East Indian Dishes – Odisha

Dahi vada aloo dum – A delicious combo of fried lentil dumplings soaked in yogurt paired with boiled potatoes tempered with panch phoron spice mix.

Chenna poda – A classic Odia dessert where soft cottage cheese cubes are baked in a caramelized sugar syrup.

Dalma – A hearty lentil soup made with toor dal and an assortment of vegetables like raw banana, eggplant and pumpkin.

East Indian Dishes – Assam

Masor tenga – Masor tenga is a tangy fish curry cooked with a mouth-puckering souring agent like raw mangoes or tomatoes.

Pithas – Pithas are rice pancakes that come in many varieties, with Til pitha being a popular one made of rice flour stuffed with sesame seeds and jaggery.

West Indian Dishes – Gujarat

Gujarat is known for its vegetarian delicacies that are not just delicious but also healthy.

Dhokla – Dhokla, made from fermented rice and split chickpeas, is a fluffy steamed cake that can be eaten as a snack or side.

Khandvi – Khandvi is a savory chickpea roll flavored with coconut and spices.

Thepla – Theplas are flatbreads made from wheat flour and generously spiced with methi, garlic, and red chili.

Undhiyu – Undhiyu is a traditional mixed vegetable dish that is cooked in an earthen pot and has a medley of flavors.

West Indian Dishes – Maharashtra

Maharashtra boasts of lip-smacking street food that is absolutely irresistible.

Vada pav – Vada pav, with its crispy vada nestled between soft pav smeared with fiery chutneys, makes for an iconic snack.

Misal pav – Misal pav is another popular dish made with sprouted moth beans and topped with farsan, chopped onions and lemon.

Pav bhaji – Pav bhaji is a delightful mélange of mashed mixed vegetables served with toasted pav.

Thalipeeth – Thalipeeth is a protein-packed pancake made from whole wheat flour and loaded with fresh vegetables.

Varan bhaat – Varan bhaat is comfort food at its best – plain rice served with varan, a lentil-based curry.

West Indian Dishes – Goa

Goa with its Portuguese influences has some unique dishes dominated by seafood.

Vindaloo – Vindaloo is a fiery curry made with meat or fish, vinegar, garlic and chili.

Sorpotel – Sorpotel is a rich, tangy stew made with pork, vinegar and Goan spices.

Sol kadhi – The sweet and sour Sol kadhi acts as the perfect palate cleanser and aids digestion after a heavy Goan meal.


Q. What are some of the most popular Indian dishes?

A. Some of the most popular Indian dishes include butter chicken, tandoori chicken, palak paneer, chana masala, naan bread, samosas, biryani, dal makhani, aloo gobi, tikka masala, gol gappas, masala dosa, idli sambar, paneer tikka, malai kofta, pakoras, chicken tikka masala, poori sabzi, seekh kabab, garlic naan, chicken biryani, kulfi, gulab jamun, ras malai, jalebi, and raita.

Q. What makes Indian food so popular worldwide?

A. Indian food is popular worldwide due to its rich blend of aromatic spices, diverse textures, and complex flavors. The use of herbs and spices like cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, coriander, and chili peppers adds unique taste. Also, techniques like tandoor cooking and the balance of sweet, spicy, salty, sour, bitter, and umami tastes make Indian cuisine popular globally.

Q. Which is the most ordered Indian dish?

A. Butter chicken is likely the most popular and ordered Indian dish globally. Its rich, creamy, tangy tomato-based gravy and tender chicken pieces satisfy many palates. Other top ordered dishes include tikka masala, saag paneer, samosas, naan, biryani, and curries.

Q. What are the different types of curries in Indian cuisine?

A. Main types of Indian curries include: mild korma curry, coconut-based curry, spicy vindaloo curry, rich butter chicken curry, tangy tomato curry, potent phall curry, creamy kali curry, lentil dal curry, and South Indian sambar curry. They range from yogurt-based, nutty, spicy, coconut milk-based, tangy, or vegetable-centric curries.

Q. Which Indian bread is baked in a clay oven?

A. Naan is the popular Indian leavened bread baked in a super-hot clay oven known as a tandoor. The high heat cooks the naan quickly while infusing it with a smoky charred flavor. Other Indian breads like roti, paratha, poori, bhature are cooked on a flat skillet or in oil.

Q. What are the differences between Northern and Southern Indian food?

A. North Indian food uses more dairy like milk, ghee, yogurt, cream; wheat breads like naan, stuffed kulcha; rich curries, and tandoori dishes. South Indian food uses more rice, lentils, coconut milk, curry leaves, dosas, idli, sambar; it is spicier and more vegetable focused.

Q. What are masala dosa and how are they made?

A. Masala dosa are large, thin, crispy lentil and rice crepes filled with a potato masala filling. They originate from South India. Dosa batter is made by soaking rice and lentils, then grinding them. This batter is spread thin and cooked like a crepe. The filling contains spiced potatoes.

Q. Name the different types of Indian street food snacks.

A. Famous Indian street food snacks include pani puri, chaat, Pav bhaji, vada pav, samosa, kachori, dahi bhalla, aloo tikki, dahi puri, gol gappa or pani puri, bhel puri, papdi chaat, aloo chaat, and sev puri.

Q. What are the differences between biryani and pilaf?

A. Biryani is an Indian mixed rice dish where marinated meat and fragrant basmati rice are layered and cooked together. Pilaf is simpler, with rice and meat/veggies cooked in seasoned broth. Biryani has more complex spices, is cooked in
layers, and absorbs flavors between rice and meat. Pilaf is a one-pot dish.

Q. Which Indian dessert is made from reduced milk?

A. Khoya or mawa is the main ingredient in many Indian desserts like gulab jamun, peda, etc. It is made by slowly simmering milk to evaporate the water content, leaving behind the milk solids and fats. This process requires constant stirring and results in the thick, creamy khoya.

Q. What are the health benefits of Indian food?

A. Indian food offers many health benefits as spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Lentils and beans provide protein and fiber. Yogurt and ghee have probiotics. Dishes are flavored with healthy oils like mustard oil. Vegetarian options abound in Indian cuisine.

Q. What are the most ordered vegan Indian dishes?

A. Popular vegan Indian dishes include dal makhani, vegetable biryani, tofu tikka masala, tofu tandoori kebabs, vegan butter paneer made with tofu, potato-stuffed parathas, malai kofta with potato and cashews, aloo gobi, dal fry with rice and roti, vegetable samosas, and chole made with chickpeas.

Q. Which common Indian spices are used medicinally?

A. Many common Indian spices are used in Ayurvedic medicine such as turmeric, ginger, coriander, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, and curry leaves. They are known to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, digestive, and other therapeutic properties.

Q. Name some Indian spice blends used in cooking?

A. Garam masala, chaat masala, tandoori masala, panch phoron, sambar powder, rasam powder, chhole masala, Pav bhaji masala, goda masala are some spice mixes integral to Indian cooking. They bring complex flavors to dishes.

Q. Which pickled foods are popular in Indian cuisine?

A. Indian pickling uses oil, spices, and curd/citrus juices to pickle vegetables and fruits like mango, lime, carrots, cauliflower, green chilies, amla, jackfruit. These add a tangy flavor contrast when served alongside rich curries and breads.

Q. What are the differences between Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken?

A. Chicken tikka masala features chicken tikka (yogurt marinated grilled chicken) in a spiced, creamy, tomato-onion gravy. Butter chicken contains chicken in a milder, creamy, butter-laden tomato gravy. Butter chicken uses bone-in chicken while tikka masala uses tikka pieces.

Q. Which common Indian bread is made of maida or refined flour?

A. Naan, kulcha, rumali roti, and common white bread varieties like sliced bread are made with maida or refined wheat flour in India. Breads like roti, chapati, phulka are made from whole wheat flour or atta.

Q. How is Punjabi food different from South Indian cuisine?

A. Punjabi food like butter chicken, chickpea curry has rich gravies, dairy, breads. South Indian food like sambar, rasam, dosa feature grain/lentil/veggie dishes flavored with curry leaves and coconut. Punjab uses tandoor while south India uses steam cooking.

Q. Name some popular Mumbai street food dishes?

A. Vada pav, Pav bhaji, bhel puri, sev puri, dahi puri, ragda pattice, pav wada, keema pav, masala pav, misal pav, kanda bhaji, panipuri, and Bombay sandwich are iconic Mumbai street foods.

Q. Which Indian dessert is stuffed with dried fruits and nuts?

A. Gulab jamun is a popular Indian dessert made of fried dumplings soaked in rose-flavored syrup. Kheer is a rice pudding often containing dried fruits and nuts like almonds, pistachios, raisins, and cardamom.

Q. What are some popular Indian breads made with all purpose flour?

A. Indian breads like naan, tandoori roti, kulcha, fried poori, bhatura, sheermal are often made with all purpose flour or maida. This gives them soft and flexible texture perfect for absorbing curries and sauces.

Q. What are the differences between uppuma and khichdi?

A. Uppuma is a seasoned semolina porridge from South India mixed with vegetables, nuts, and curry leaves. Khichdi is a comforting rice and lentil porridge flavored with ghee and cumin. Uppuma is drier and uses semolina while khichdi is wetter and uses rice.

Q. What are some key differences between North Indian and South Indian cuisines?

A. North Indian cuisine uses more dairy, breads baked in tandoor, rich curries. South Indian cuisine uses more rice, coconut, curry leaves, lentil-based dishes, and dosa/idli. North has tandoori cooking while South has steaming. South has more vegetable focused dishes.

Q. How is Kashmiri cuisine different from other North Indian cuisines?

A. Kashmiri cuisine makes liberal use of dried and fresh fruits, fennel, saffron, and mild spices like cinnamon and cardamom. It has rich, meat-centric curries as well as vegetarian dishes. Kashmiri food is considered milder compared to other North Indian cuisines.

Q. What are some unique ingredients used in Goan cuisine?

A. Goan cuisine uses elements like coconut milk, kokum, tamarind, palm vinegar, cashews, chilies, and curry leaves to create its tangy, spicy signature. The Portuguese influence adds dishes like vindaloo and chorizo pulao.

Q. How is Hyderabadi biryani different from other versions?

A. Hyderabadi biryani uses basmati rice, curry leaves, nuts, spices like saffron and cardamom, and goat meat or chicken layered with rice. It has a distinct aroma, flavor, and rich color from the meat, spices, and cooking method.

Q. What are some popular Indian dishes that highlight eggplant?

A. Popular Indian eggplant dishes include baingan bharta, baingan ka bhurta, baingan masala, baingan bartha, bharli vangi, and Bengali begun bhaja. The meaty texture of eggplants shines in curries, roasted preparations, fried snacks, etc.

Q. What are some differences between vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis?

A. Vegetarian thalis feature dishes like dal, sabzi, paneer, kofta, stuffed paratha. Non-veg thalis add meat curries like chicken, goat, fish dishes along with vegetable sides. Some restaurants serve unlimited vegetarian or meat dishes in thali format.

Q. Name some underrated dishes from North East Indian cuisine?

A. Some underrated North East Indian dishes are momos, bamboo shoot curry, puran poli, galho, roasted pork ribs, chicken with axone, eraser fish curry, and jadoh rice cooked with meat and veggies.

Q. What are some popular Indian fermented foods and drinks?

A. Popular Indian fermented foods and drinks include idli, dosa, appam using fermented rice and lentil batter, yogurt, kanji, bhutta ka beer made from fermented corn, ragi based mandia pua, and fermented rice beer like handia and bhaati.

Q. What are some differences between pakoras and bhajias?

A. Pakoras use gram flour while bhajias use all-purpose flour for binding. Pakoras have spice mixes while bhajias use individual spices. Pakoras are often dipped in chickpea flour batter and deep fried while bhajias have lighter batter. Pakoras are flatter while bhajias are more shape-retaining.

Q. What are some popular dishes from the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh?

A. Some popular Andhra Pradesh dishes are hyderabadi biryani, chicken/mutton pepper fry, hyderabadi haleem, mirchi ka salan, gongura chicken, gongura mamsam, avakai pickles, ulavacharu, andhra fish curry, and pootharekulu sweet.

Q. What are some healthy Indian breakfast options?

A. Some healthy Indian breakfast options are upma or poha made from rava or flattened rice, idlis and coconut chutney, besan cheela or gram flour pancakes, egg white omelettes, fresh fruit along with yogurt, aloo paratha stuffed with potatoes, and moong dal chillas.

Q. What are some popular cooking oils and fats used in Indian cuisine?

A. Commonly used cooking oils and fats are mustard oil, coconut oil, ghee, peanut/groundnut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and fats like vanaspati and butter. Different regions of India use certain oils and fats more predominant based on cuisine, taste, and availability.