Table top view of authentic Indian food. Indian Food

Indian Cuisine

Traditional & Authentic Indian Food

Indian heritage is as complex and multifaceted as its cuisine. India is a vibrant celebration of art, culture, and religion.

Situated in the Southern region of Asia, India boasts a land frontier of 15,200 km and a stunning coastline of 7,516.5 km. India is the seventh largest country in the world (larger than Europe) and is home to more than 1.47 billion people and over 1,500 dialects of languages.

The diversity of ethnicity, religion, and geography is reflected in the flavors of its foods.

“Southeast Asia has a real grip on me. From the very first time I went there, it was a fulfillment of my childhood fantasies of the way travel should be. Tasting the spectrum of [Southeast Asian] flavors – that certainly changed my whole palate […] a lot of the dishes I used to love became boring to me.” — Anthony Bourdain

Indian Food

Most Indian meals are made with the six Ayurvedic elements in mind. The cuisine is dominated by grains, pulses, vegetables, paneer, eggs, and meat, all prepared with a balance of spices. Meals in India are not served as separate courses but instead all at once.

The traditional thali is a platter of food, typically consisting of a carbohydrate (such as bread or rice) surrounded by several bowls of curries, vegetables, pickles, and meats.

Vegetarianism is extremely common in India. Recent studies have shown that approximately 39% of Indians abstain from consuming meat. This is largely based on religious dietary laws and traditions. Individuals practicing Jainism and Hinduism are more likely to practice vegetarianism than other religions in the area.

Most Indian cuisine is broken down into North Indian and South Indian cuisines.

South Indian Cuisine

The main ingredients in South Indian cuisine are rice, coconut, chilies, lentils, legumes, millet, sorghum, curry leaves, mustard, asafoetida, pepper and peppercorns, tamarind, chilies, and fenugreek seeds. The cuisine also predominantly features coconut milk, herbs like curry leaves and lemongrass, and native fruits.

Rice is more common than bread, and stews and lentils are also popular. The sauces and curries contain more liquid so they can easily be absorbed the rice. South Indian food also places a larger emphasis on seafood, since it is less landlocked than the north.

North Indian Cuisine

The main ingredients in North Indian cuisine are paneer, ghee, cream, yogurt, wheat, cumin, garam masala, chicken, mutton, onion, garlic, tomatoes, cauliflower, and potatoes. Generally speaking, North Indian food is known to be less spicy than South Indian food. Sauces and rich curries are thickened with cream, yogurt, and nut pastes, and are often paired with flatbreads like naan or roti.

The “gravies” or curries of North India tend to be thicker and drier than that of South India, since roti (bread) is primarily used to pick up the food.

List of Typical North Indian Dishes

  • Chole Bhature
  • Daal Makhani
  • Chole Puri
  • Chole Palak
  • Chole Masala
  • Rogan Josh
  • Malai ki Kheer
  • Chicken Dum Biryani
  • Aloo Samosa
  • Nihari Gosht
  • Butter Chicken
  • Achari Aloo Gobhi
  • Achari Bhindi
  • Aloo Baingan
  • Aloo Gajar Matar
  • Aloo Gobhi
  • Aloo Matar Ki Sabzi
  • Baingan Bharta
  • Dal Tadka
  • Dum Aloo
  • Gulab Jamun
  • Gobi Aloo
  • Jeera Aloo
  • Jeera Rice
  • Kadai Chicken
  • Punjabi Aloo Wari Ki Sabji
  • Punjabi Chana Masala
  • Punjabi Chole
  • Rajma Curry
  • Shahi Paneer
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Sambar
  • Avial or Aviyal
  • Idly or idli
  • dosa
  • Aloo Bonda
  • Aloo Gobi Masala
  • Aloo Matar Kurma
  • Ambur Mutton Biriyani
  • Andhra Pappu Charu
  • Poriyal
  • Parappu
  • Kichadi
  • Pachadi
  • Bendakaya Pulusu
  • Bhindi
  • Bisi Bela Bath
  • Chicken Kurma
  • Brinjal Coconut Curry
  • Chapati
  • Chicken Vindaloo
  • Chicken Sukka
  • Curd rice
  • Dosakai Pappu Dal
  • Gongura Chicken
  • Gutti Vankaya Curry
  • Khara Pongal
  • Chutney
  • Kollu Rasam
  • Lemon rice
  • Masala Vada
  • Medu Vada or Medhu Vada
  • Milagu Rasam
  • Biryani
  • Kesari
  • Payasam
  • Palak paneer
  • Matar paneer
  • Paratha
  • Cheppankizhangu Arbhi Dum Curry
  • Chettinad Chicken
  • Kheer
  • Roti
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Find Local Indian Shefs & Meals

When searching for “indian food near me”, you’ll find Shef delivers both North Indian and South Indian style cuisine food in the following locations:

Find your local home-cooked Indian food today!