Authentic Indian Food Recipes

Indian curry

In Britain, we love our curries. But eating out can be expensive. I will show you how to create authentic Indian food at home. It’s easier than you might think.

And it’s not just the curries that we love, it’s all the delicious side dishes that we order to accompany our curry; fragrant rice, spicy vegetable dishes, puffy naan bread, crisp samosas and onion bhajis. Not forgetting the poppadoms and pickles that we tuck into while reading the menu.

Can you really create these favourite dishes at home? Yes, you can! Let’s start with the nation’s favourite – chicken tikka masala. All recipes serve 4.

Chicken Tikka Masala

500g chicken breast fillets
6 tablespoons ready-made tikka paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon ginger paste (from a jar)
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4 tablespoons double cream
Salt and pepper

Cut the chicken into fairly large chunks and place it in a shallow bowl. Mix together the tikka paste, lemon juice and some salt and pepper and pour over the chicken. Ensure the chicken is covered by the marinade. Leave for at least an hour so that the flavours can develop.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and fry the onions for about 10 minutes, until softened and golden brown. Fry the garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes then add the spices. Stir in the yoghurt and tomato puree then pour in 350 ml of water. Bring to the boil then cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for about 25 minutes.

To cook the chicken, thread the pieces onto long metal skewers, about 5 pieces to a skewer. Preheat the grill to high and place the skewers on a baking sheet. Cook under the grill for 15 – 20 minutes, turning a few times. The outside of the chicken should be slightly charred. This will add to the flavour.

If you don’t have any skewers just spread the chicken pieces out on a baking tray and cook as above.

Slide the pieces of chicken off the skewers and into the sauce. Add the cream and stir. Heat through for a few minutes then serve with some rice.

*I haven’t used any red food colouring as I prefer my tikka masala to be a more natural colour. But if you want to, you can use some. Or some sweet paprika if you don’t have any food colouring handy.

Lamb Rogan Josh

Here’s another favourite curry, a medium spiced dish of lamb, onions and tomatoes. It originated from Persia but is now a part of Kashmiri cuisine. Marinating the meat makes it extra tender.

200 ml natural yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon ginger paste (from a jar)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
400g lean diced lamb
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons rogan josh paste (from a jar)
2 teaspoons garam masala
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
390g carton of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, one tablespoon of oil, garlic, ginger paste and turmeric. Add the lamb and mix well so that the meat is thoroughly coated in the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate for 2 -3 hours. Or longer, if you have time.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until softened and turning brown. Add the curry paste. Stir well then add the lamb. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the garam masala, bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook the curry for about an hour, until the meat is very tender.

Remove the lid and allow the curry to bubble away for about ten minutes to thicken the sauce. Stir in the coriander, season to taste and serve with rice and naan bread.

Keema Curry

This curry can be made with minced beef or lamb. It’s quite a dry curry so serve it with lots of chutneys, raita and pickles on the side.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
500g minced lamb or beef
500g onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
250g mushrooms, wiped and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
Small pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper

Heat a deep non-stick pan and add the oil. Fry the onions over quite a high heat until softened and turning brown. Lower the heat, add the garlic, mushrooms, chilli and spices and fry for 2 minutes. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Reheat the same pan without any oil this time and when hot, add the mince. Fry, stirring to break up the clumps, until browned all the way through and no pink remains. (If there is a lot of fat in the pan drain it off at this point.) Tip the spiced onions back into the pan. Season and reheat gently.

Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander and have a selection of accompaniments, such as mint raita, (recipe below) mango chutney, lime pickle and a simple salad of onion and cucumber sprinkled with salt and coriander leaf.

Mint and Cucumber Raita 

Mix 175g natural yoghurt, 75g finely diced cucumber, some salt and a squeeze of lemon juice in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint, stir and leave at room temperature for an hour for the flavours to develop. This goes especially well with lamb dishes.

Spinach Paneer

Paneer is an Indian curd cheese, firm textured with little flavour of its own. But it’s very good at absorbing flavours so makes an ideal addition to a vegetarian curry such as this one.

250g paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
375g young leaf spinach, washed thoroughly
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large green chilli, de-seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
Salt and pepper

Heat half the butter in a large non-stick pan and fry the cubes of paneer for about 10 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown all over. Remove onto a plate and set aside.

Drop the washed spinach into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. It will collapse down dramatically and a lot of water will seep out. Tip the spinach into a sieve and use the back of a spoon to press down firmly on it and get out as much water as you can. Finely chop and leave to one side.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan and fry the onions, chilli, garlic and ginger over a low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the ground spices and fry for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and some salt and pepper and stir over a low heat until piping hot. Add the cubes of paneer and warm through.

Serve as part of a vegetarian Indian feast or as a dish in its own right.

Chicken Korma

Another restaurant favourite, kormas tend to be mild and creamy with a lovely thick gravy. Korma is not the name of the dish but is one of the techniques used in Indian cookery. Korma is a good curry to start with if you’re not used to Indian food, as they are very mild. (Pictured at top of page)

700g skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 3cm pieces
50g butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
6 green cardamom pods
Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
Juice of half a lemon
250g Greek yoghurt
150 ml double cream
100g ground almonds
Salt and pepper

Place the diced chicken into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice. Rub into the chicken with your fingers and set aside for half an hour.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and when sizzling, add the chopped onion. Fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened and turning brown. Add the marinated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the chicken pieces are brown on all sides. Add the garlic, coriander, turmeric, cardamom pods and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes.

Lower the heat and stir in the yoghurt. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the ground almonds and cream, stir well and heat through. Serve with pilau rice and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Pilau Rice

This is served with all kinds of curries and is a delicious dish in its own right. Fluffy basmati rice, cooked with butter and gentle spices. A perfect accompaniment to your favourite curry.

225g basmati rice
30g butter
4 green cardamom pods
Half a cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 whole cloves
Salt and pepper

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the rice and stir then bring back to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 8 – 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the rice after 8 minutes – it should be cooked through with no grittiness in the centre. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse with cold running water.

Melt the butter in a large pan and when sizzling, add the spices and fry for 30 seconds, just enough to release their aroma. Tip the drained rice into the pan, lower the heat and stir so that the rice gets coated in the butter and spices. Season with salt and pepper and when piping hot tip into a serving bowl.

Chicken Vindaloo

This is a very hot curry which is said to have started out as a Portuguese dish. It was exported to Goa where it was spiked with extra chillies and became the fiercely hot dish that we are familiar with today.

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
6 tablespoons of vindaloo paste, from a jar
850g chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 red bird eye chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
Chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Using a sharp knife, cut 3 slits into each piece of chicken. Place in a shallow dish in a single layer. Mix together 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, the ginger, garam masala, cumin seed and a tablespoon of the curry paste. Pour over the chicken, rub it in well (make sure you’re wearing gloves) and leave it in a cool place to marinate for an hour or two.

Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F and roast the chicken pieces for about 30 minutes, until the skin looks crisp. Check that the chicken is cooked right the way through with no trace of pink remaining. If it’s not cooked put it back in the oven for a further ten minutes. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until softened. Add the chillies, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, brown sugar and turmeric and cook for a couple of minutes so that the spices release their aromas.

Add the rest of the curry paste and the tomato puree along with the tomatoes, remaining vinegar and 350 ml of water. Stir well, season to taste and simmer for ten minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and warm through for 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander leaves and serve the curry with rice and some cooling natural yoghurt.

I hope that this has given you some inspiration to make your own Indian dishes at home. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

For how to make perfect rice to accompany your curry see what is the best way to cook rice

Want to learn more about the herbs and spices used in Indian cooking? See this post on herbs and spices and their uses

© 2022 by Karen Attard. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Authentic Indian Food Recipes”

  1. I do so love a tasty curry.  Those recipes sound absolutely delicious and I like how you make each individual curry right from scratch using herbs and spices.  I love having the yogurt on the side next to my curry and at times I like adding coconut cream to my curries also.  We have curry at least 3 or 4 times a month and I look forward to using your recipes.

    • Hi Ruth, thank you for visiting my website and for the kind comments! Curry is something I have once a week, I love it. I didn’t actually try an Indian curry in a restaurant until 1984. Then I was hooked on Indian cuisine, and still am. 

      I love to use roasted and ground spices in my curries but for ease and convenience, I have added curry paste in my recipes. But they are still good. I use Patak’s curry pastes, which are made with authentic ingredients and make the curry taste great! coconut cream makes a delicious curry, I sometimes make a fresh salmon curry with it. 

      I will add more recipes as I go along, so do pop back. And let me know what you think when you make any of these dishes!

  2. Very impressed with your website. I haven’t tasted Indian Food, but after reading your article, I would love to go to an Indian Restaurant one day. My husband does most of the cooking, and I think I will have him make me the Chicken Korma. It sounds awesome. I don’t have anything negative to say about your article at all. The content was great, and the images were very appetizing—best of luck to you.

    • Hi Carol, thank you so much for your kind comments! The korma is a good curry to start with, I first had one in 1984 and loved it. The taste was spicy but very creamy and almost sweet. And do get him to make the pilau rice to go with it; that will add an extra dimension to the flavours. 

      I hope that you get to eat at an Indian restaurant very soon. As soon as you walk in the door, your mouth will be watering. You are in for a great experience. Enjoy!


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