Favorite Indian recipes and tips?

My husband recently discovered a real fondness for Indian food (he previously "didn't like" it but then our friend's mom made us a home-cooked Indian meal and we had a great dinner at an authentic Indian restaurant where we tried a whole bunch of things and now he's totally sold). We like to learn a few authentic dishes from cuisines we like and I'd like to encourage my husband's expanding pallet. I've never really made Indian food and I don't know much beyond the basics I'd see at a restaurant so I'd love some favorite recipes, sites, tips, etc. We are omnivores and my husband favors meat. Thanks! PS -- I know a culture/cuisine is so much more than a few dishes and that India is a vast country with widely varying cuisines and that's why I'd be interested in people's favorite dishes from different regions, styles, etc.

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16 Comments

Nancy July 27, 2018
Since this thread is active again, on cookbooks
Yes to Vij's, anything he and his wife make in their Vancouver restaurant and books.
In addition to books already mentioned, see
Madhur Jaffrey, actress and cookbook writer, anything but her latest (2010) At Home with Madhur Jaffrey gives versions of Indian food that deliver big taste results but/and are easy to make at home.
Julie Sahni, teacher and writer, any of her books.
Meera Sodha, Made in India (recipes from Indian family kitchen), 2015 and feature in food52 cookbook club.
 
Nancy July 27, 2018
lack of punctuation after "anything" makes it sound like I'm recommending anything but the 2010 book.
Wrong.
See any cookbook by her you can get your hands on.
Also, the latest book gives easier-to-make versions.
 
Smaug July 27, 2018
I'd particularly recommend Sahni's "Classic Indian Cooking" as a fine and accessible basic text, and I've had good experiences with several of Jaffreys' books. A book such as this, with a consistent viewpoint, good coverage of basic techniques and ingredients, and dependable recipes is really a much better way to approach a new cuisine than relying on random source recipes from the internet.
 
prakashsharma July 27, 2018
I love Indian Food but if I had to choose, Mutton Biryani is one of my favorite. My mother’s mutton recipes were some of the tasty dishes ever had in life. And trying to recreate that taste was next to impossible but I found this great recipe on Living Foodz which helped re-create my mom’s magic.

Check the great mutton biryani recipe and a lot more from the link below-: https://livingfoodz.com/recipes/Mutton-Biryani-597
 
Smaug July 27, 2018
I don't believe I've ever seen mutton in an American market, though I can't say I've searched extensively.
 
bigpan February 12, 2012
Vij is the god of Indian cuisine. I am fortunate to live near his restaurant. "Any" of his recipes are great - but do try his lamb lollipops !
 
MTMitchell February 12, 2012
Yay!!! Thank you everyone! I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at a few of these recipes and getting some books, learning and spices. And I've been looking for an excuse to get a new spice grinder -- seems like I have one now!
 
susan G. February 12, 2012
Panfusine is too modest! She has excellent recipes on this site, and a blog of her own worth following. There are other Indians living in the US who are food52 members, and pauljoseph who lives in Kerala -- just try using the search (upper right) for more.
If you live where you can shop in Indian stores, you're in luck, but in my small New England town, at least a 2 hour drive from good Indian shopping, I can find some surprising ingredients in the "International" section of the supermarket. A nearby coop even had fresh turmeric!
Here's a blog I like: http://www.quickindiancooking.com/ -- from an Indian woman in London.
Hope you enjoy the results.
 
Sam1148 February 12, 2012
When you get commited to making your own spice blends--you make them on demand. Use the recipes as guidelines...depening on the season. You'll need a mortar and pistil, or a dedicated spice grinder. The spices are normally toasted first and then ground. Always buy whole seed spices over preground spices.
At the Indian store you'll find a "Dubba Marsala". Look for ones with metal lid to keep out light.
It's a spice box with metal bowls. You go around the outside, choosing your spices and place that in the empty central dish. In Winter, I tend to go for less heat than in the summer and more cinnamon, mustard seed and ginger flavor to a mix. http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Masala-Deluxe-Traditional-SimplyBeautiful/dp/B000T3E96O
Indian food does NOT to have be searingly hot.
Avoid recipes that simply call for "Curry Powder", go for ones that break down the types into the spice components. Don't be afraid to use more or less spice than a recipe calls for like hot pepper etc.
 
Sam1148 February 12, 2012
I see most has been covered. A lot of Indian cooking is using spices, and adjusting for season and the dish.
But here's a quick and easy suggestion.
Go to an Indian store and get Patak's Tandoori paste, some forzen naan bread.
Mix a couple of table spoons of that with yogurt until you get a brick red color. (more of less to taste).
Remove the skin from bone in chicken thighs and let those soak an hour or so. Bake at 475 for 25-30 mins.
Brush the bread with clarified butter (make your own or buy 'ghee' at the Indian store) and broil or grill until crispy.
Answer image
 
Panfusine February 12, 2012
Raghavan Iyer's 660 curries, Suvir Saran's Masala Farm, Monica Bhide's Modern spice, 3 great books, I'd recommend 660 curries, the recipes are so on the dot.
 
Louisa February 12, 2012
Thanks for the cookbook recommendation. I just requested the 660 Curries from our library, and also the Indian Home Cooking and My Indian Kitchen mentioned in the above post.
And thanks also for your great recipes!
 
Appetite4Books February 12, 2012
Pick up a couple cookbooks. I recommend the first cookbook by Vikram Vij called "Vijs". The Vij's family chicken curry is killer
I also am a big fan of Suvir Saran's Indian Home Cooking. Simple recipes that really don't require previous experience.
I have also had great success with My Indian Kitchen by Hari Nayak.
Books are definitely a great route to take to learn about cooking. Good luck
 
softpunk February 12, 2012
Vij's family chicken is awesome. I also love his tamarind chicken, and strongly recommend making his garam masala. I also love his dal, which calls for coconut milk.

Vij's Family Chicken Curry
http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2010/03/vij-familys-chicken-curry.html
- I usually use coconut milk, not sour cream

Tamarind Chicken
http://www.food.com/recipe/vijs-yogurt-and-tamarind-marinated-grilled-chicken-188076
- this is simple and always a hit

Vij's Dal in Coconut Curry
http://www.eatatvino.com/2011/09/29/moong-dal-in-coconut-curry/

Garam Masala
http://www.underthehighchair.com/2007/07/diy-garam-masala.html

 
Louisa February 14, 2012
Just saying thanks, Soft Punk, for the link for Vij's family chicken curry. I made it last night for dinner and it was delicious! We're having the leftovers tonight.
 
Panfusine February 12, 2012
I have oodles of South Indian recipes posted, Welcome to browse thru them.. The Lemon rice wd be a great start.
 
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