Indian cuisine is known for its exotic spices and bold flavours, and curries are at the heart of this cuisine.
With so many delicious options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which curries to try.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 Indian curries that you need to add to your must-try list.
From the rich and creamy Butter Chicken to the tangy and spicy Fish Curry, these dishes are guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds and take you on a culinary journey through India’s diverse regions.
So, whether you’re a seasoned curry lover or a newcomer to Indian cuisine, there’s something on this list for everyone to enjoy.
Indian Curries Date Back to 4,000 Years Ago
Indian curries have a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.
The origins of Indian curries can be traced back to ancient times and the Indus Valley Civilisation. As trade routes opened up, India became a melting pot of cultures, and the diverse range of spices and herbs used in Indian curries reflects this.
In fact, the word “curry” itself is thought to have been derived from the Tamil word “kari,” which means sauce or gravy.
Over time, Indian curries have evolved and diversified, leading to a vast array of regional and national variations that showcase unique ingredients, spices, and cooking techniques.
Whether you’re a seasoned curry aficionado or a curious newcomer, exploring the many flavours and stories behind Indian curries is an exciting and delicious journey.
There’s a Vast Difference Between South Indian Food and North Indian Food – Spoiler: They’re Both Delicious
When it comes to Indian cuisine, curries are a staple.
However, there is a noticeable difference between the curries found in the North and South of India.
North Indian curries tend to be creamier and heavily spiced, often featuring ingredients like ghee, cream, and whole spices like cardamom and cloves.
In contrast, South Indian curries are generally lighter and more tart, with an emphasis on ingredients like curry leaves, coconut, and tamarind.
Additionally, South Indian curries often use more lentils and vegetables, creating a hearty and healthy meal.
Regardless of which type you prefer, both North and South Indian curries offer a unique and delicious taste of India’s culinary heritage.
Indian cuisine is known for its rich and varied use of spices that add depth and complexity to their dishes.
Among the most famous spices used in Indian curries are cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, madras and the infamous chilli powder.
Most commonly used for meat dishes, this aromatic spice adds a warm and earthy note to curries and other dishes, making it an essential ingredient in many Indian kitchens.
Not only does cumin add a unique taste to dishes, but it also works wonders for digestion and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Whether you’re ordering a classic chicken tikka masala or a flavourful dal makhani, cumin is sure to bring a depth of flavour to your Indian dishes that you won’t want to miss out on.
Coriander, also known as cilantro, is a popular ingredient in Indian curries.
This herb is valued for its citrusy, slightly spicy flavour that adds depth and complexity to dishes.
Not only does it enhance the taste of curries, but coriander also contains health benefits.
It is highly nutritious, packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and calcium. Additionally, it possesses antioxidant properties that can help to reduce inflammation and promote heart health.
Turmeric adds a beautiful golden yellow hue to any curry, plus its slightly bitter taste is a nice counterpoint to the other spices.
Finally, garam masala is a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and other spices that’s perfect for adding both sweetness and heat.
Madras Curry Mix
Madras curry mix is an essential ingredient to make a delicious Indian curry.
This spice blend includes a perfect blend of aromatic spices like coriander seeds, cumin, turmeric, and red chilies that brings a bold and spicy flavour to the dish.
Notably, the Madras curry sauce is perfect for those who love their curry to be a bit fiery.
Its strong taste and aroma not only tantalise your taste buds but also make your dish visually appealing due to its vibrant red colour.
Additionally, this spice blend is versatile and can be used to prepare a range of curries, whether it be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
So why not give it a try and elevate your Indian dishes to a whole new level!
Chilli powder is an essential ingredient for many Indian curries.
It adds a depth of flavour and a spicy kick to the dish. Indian chilli powder is not the same as the generic chilli powder commonly found in supermarkets.
It is made from a blend of different types of dried chillies that vary in heat and colour.
Kashmiri chilli powder, for example, is known for its vibrant red colour and mild heat, while the Bhut jolokia or ghost pepper powder is incredibly spicy.
Not All Curries Are Spicy
Indian food is has a notorious name for being a challenging spicy food, but this is in fact not the case.
All Indian dishes are created with with a variety of aromatic spices, some of which produce a rich curry sauce, a mild curry sauce or some of the hottest Indian curries in the world!
This guide will help you to understand which is the best Indian food for you to try next – yum yum!
Roti or Naan Bread – Which Indian Bread Will You Choose?
If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, you’ve probably had your fair share of roti and naan bread.
They might look similar, but there are a few key differences between the two.
Roti is a thin, unleavened bread that’s made with whole wheat flour and water.
It’s typically cooked on a griddle or flat pan and served as a side dish.
Naan, on the other hand, is a leavened bread that’s made with all-purpose flour, yeast, and sometimes even yogurt or milk. It’s cooked in a tandoor oven, which gives it a slightly charred, crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.
Good News: Both Are The Perfect Choice for Soaking Up Leftover Curry Sauce
While both breads are delicious in their own right, naan tends to be the more indulgent choice, thanks to its buttery flavour and chewy texture.
Roti, on the other hand, is a healthier option that pairs well with spicy curries and other saucy dishes. So next time you’re ordering Indian takeout, keep these differences in mind and choose accordingly!
Let’s Dig in to Our List of Top 15 Indian Curries You Need to Try
Delicious Indian Chicken Curry
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala is a beloved dish enjoyed by many around the globe and can be found in almost any Indian Restaurant.
Originating in India, it is typically made with succulent pieces of marinated chicken that are cooked in a tandoor oven and then simmered in a rich and creamy tomato sauce, which is infused with a blend of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
The dish is typically served with fluffy white rice or traditional Indian naan bread.
Variations of chicken tikka masala have emerged over the years, including vegetarian versions with paneer or tofu replacing the chicken.
Regardless of the recipe, the dish is known for its creamy and bold flavours, making it a crowd-pleaser for any occasion.
Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a popular Indian dish that is beloved by many. It is a creamy, tomato-based curry that is typically made with boneless chicken, butter, cream, and a blend of aromatic spices.
The dish is said to have originated in the city of Delhi in the 1950s, when a chef accidentally mixed leftover meat (tandoori chicken) with a tomato-based gravy.
Since then, butter chicken has become one of India’s most famous exports, enjoyed by people all over the world.
Its creamy texture and rich flavour make it a comfort food favourite, and it’s no wonder that it’s a staple at many Indian restaurants.
If you’re looking to try something new, butter chicken is an excellent place to start!
Indian tandoori chicken is a delicious and flavourful dish that has become a popular staple in the culinary world.
You’ll find this iconic marinated meat dish at almost all Indian restaurants and is a perfect option for all foodies who love Indian food.
This dish originates with a combination of South India and Pakistan cuisine dating back to 3000BC!
Its bright red colouring and bold flavour profile are a testament to the blend of spices that make this dish a standout.
Typically, tandoori chicken is marinated in yoghurt, garlic, ginger and various spices including cumin, coriander, and garam masala, then grilled or baked in a tandoor, which is a traditional clay oven that reaches seriously hot temperatures.
The result is a succulent chicken with a crispy exterior and a moist, tender interior that tastes out of this world.
The dish is often served with naan bread, rice and a side dish of chutney, raita or pickles, making it a must-try experience for all food lovers.
Indian chicken Jalfrezi is a deliciously spicy classic Indian dish that is sure to tantalise your taste buds.
Originating from the Indian subcontinent, this dish has become increasingly popular throughout the world.
The flavourful dish is cooked with marinated pieces of chicken that are first seared and then sautéed with onions, bell peppers, and a blend of fragrant spices.
The key to a good Jalfrezi is getting the perfect balance of heat, sweetness and sourness, which is achieved by using fresh ingredients and a careful combination of spices.
Served steaming hot with some naan bread or rice, the dish is perfect for any occasion and is sure to leave you wanting more.
Indian chicken korma is a delicious and creamy dish that originates from the Mughlai cuisine of North India.
This flavourful chicken curry is one of the most popular Indian dishes in the West and is made with tender chicken pieces marinated in yogurt and mild spices before being simmered in a rich and creamy sauce made with coconut milk, cream and almond paste.
The dish is known for its perfect blend of spices that include aromatic cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and turmeric.
Some recipes also add saffron and nuts, which give the dish a subtle sweetness and crunch.
Indian chicken korma is usually served with steaming hot basmati rice, naan or roti, making it a perfect comfort food for any occasion.
Indian methi chicken is a delightful dish that tantalises the taste buds of many chicken lovers around the globe.
The dish is primarily made with succulent chicken pieces combined with fresh fenugreek leaves, or methi.
The spice mix of garam masala, cumin, coriander, green chillies and turmeric further enhances the flavour and aroma of the dish.
The dish is usually prepared as a semi-dry curry, which makes it perfect to pair up with steamed rice or roti.
Apart from being a delicious dish, it is also packed with several health benefits. Fenugreek leaves are known to help control diabetes, high cholesterol, and aids digestion.
Overall, Indian methi chicken is a must-try dish for those who are looking for a healthy and flavoursome meal.
Succulent Lamb Curry Dishes
Lamb Rogan Josh
Lamb Rogan josh is a classic dish hailing from the northern region of India, and is known for its delicious blend of spices that are used to elevate the flavour of the tender lamb.
The tasty sauce traditionally includes garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and of course, the fiery red Kashmiri chilli peppers which give the dish its signature colour.
The lamb is slow-cooked in a thick sauce made by using a combination of tomato and yoghurt, which allows the flavours of the spices to fully infuse the meat, creating a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Whether you’re a spice-lover or just looking to try something new, Indian lamb Rogan josh is a dish that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Indian Lamb Gucci Gosht is a mouth-watering, fragrant dish that has been enjoyed for generations across North India.
This delicious meal is made with succulent lamb pieces that are cooked in a palate-pleasing blend of spices, including coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chilli powder.
The name Gucci Gosht comes from the use of dried morel mushrooms (known as gucchi in Hindi) which add a unique flavour and texture to the dish.
Served with fluffy white rice, this hearty and flavoursome dish is a real winner for anyone who loves a bit of spice in their meal.
Lamb madras is a spicy and flavourful curry that originated in South India and is a staple in Indian food.
The dish is made with tender lamb cooked in a fragrant blend of spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chilli powder.
The addition of coconut milk creates a creamy texture and balances out the heat from the spices.
The dish is often served with basmati rice, naan bread, or even crispy papadums.
Indian lamb madras is a perfect choice for those who are looking to try something new and exciting in the world of Indian cuisine.
The intense flavours and aromas will leave your taste buds tingling and asking for more.
Refreshing Fish Curry
Coconut Jhinga Curry
Coconut jhinga curry is a mouth-watering seafood dish that is popular throughout India.
This mild curry dish is packed with fragrant spices and creamy coconut milk, creating a rich and complex flavour that is hard to resist.
The key to making this dish is in the spice blend. The combination of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala creates the perfect balance of heat and flavour.
Once the spices are toasted and blended, they are used to season the shrimp and vegetables that make up the curry.
The addition of coconut milk and fresh herbs like coriander and mint give the dish a tropical twist, making it perfect for any occasion.
Whether you are a seafood lover or just enjoy trying new flavourful dishes, coconut jhinga curry is definitely worth a try.
Mumbai Fish Curry
Mumbai fish curry is a deeply flavourful dish that is a staple in Indian food.
The dish is typically made with a variety of seafood, including fish, shrimp, and crab, which are cooked in a rich tomato and coconut milk based sauce.
The spice blend for the curry is what really sets it apart, featuring a blend of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, all of which work together to create a warm, savoury flavour.
The dish is typically served with steamed rice or Indian bread, making it the perfect warming meal for a cold night.
Indian Vegetarian Dishes Are a Heavenly Must Try
Dal Makhani is the most beautiful Indian vegetarian dish and also one of the most popular Indian curries that you can find across India and at most Indian restaurants.
Dal Makhani is a North Indian dish that originated in the Punjab region of India in 1947.
It is a creamy, flavourful dish made with black lentils, kidney beans, and a blend of aromatic spices.
The lentils and beans are cooked slowly with butter, cream and tomato sauce, which gives the dish its signature creamy texture and taste. It is usually served with naan bread or steamed rice.
Dal Makhani has gained worldwide recognition and is now a favourite in many Indian restaurants across the globe.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat-lover, this dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds with its unique blend of spices and creamy texture.
If you’re looking for a way to add some spice to your vegetarian meals, then you might want to try Vegetable Kolapuri.
This popular Indian dish hails from the western state of Maharashtra and is known for its rich and flavourful gravy.
The gravy is made with a blend of aromatic spices including cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, along with tomato and onion.
The vegetables used in the dish can vary, but typically include potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower and green beans.
Some variants might also include paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu. Vegetable Kolapuri is typically served with rice or Indian breads like naan or roti.
So if you’re a fan of spicy flavours and hearty vegetarian dishes, then this one is definitely worth trying out!
Kadi Pakora, also known as Kadhi Pakoda, is a delicious and popular dish in the Indian subcontinent.
This savoury meal consists of deep-fried fritters made from chickpea flour (gram flour), and a tangy yogurt-based gravy.
Some variations of the recipe include adding vegetables like onions or spinach to the fritters, or using different spices to adjust the heat level.
Kadi Pakora is a favourite among vegetarians, and it’s often served with rice or bread.
The dish has many health benefits too, thanks to the probiotics in yogurt and the high protein and fibre content in gram flour.
Whether you’re a fan of Indian cuisine or you’re eager to try new things, Kadi Pakora is definitely a dish that shouldn’t be missed.
Paneer makhani, a popular dish in Indian cuisine, is a creamy and decadent vegetarian delight that has won the hearts of many across the globe.
The dish consists of succulent cubes of paneer (Indian cheese) that are simmered in a rich tomato and butter gravy, along with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and garam masala.
The sweetness of the tomato sauce, paired with the creaminess of the paneer, creates a perfect balance of flavour that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking to try a new cuisine, paneer makhani is a must-try dish that will transport you to the vibrant streets of India.
What Will You Try Next on Your Indian Food Adventure?