Why The World Loves Indian Dishes

From creamy coconut-infused korma to chargrilled chicken tikka masala, classic Indian dishes and modern twists on traditional flavours are being created in kitchens around the world.

Home to a diverse mix of cultures, the subcontinent’s cuisine has evolved over thousands of years. As a result, regional specialties and international influences are commonly found in modern-day Indian recipes.

Cultures collide in one cookbook

With religious beliefs resulting in widespread vegetarianism, many of India’s traditional dishes are meat-free, while colonialism and international relations have also played a role in shaping what’s typically served on the subcontinent.

The Portuguese introduced potatoes, tomatoes and chillies sourced from their travels in South America, while the British preoccupation with tea resulted in versions being brewed with local spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

North and south: Regional differences

The availability of ingredients regularly informed the creation of dishes – giving rise to many regional variations depending on the climate, soil and season. Yoghurt might be used to reduce the spiciness of a sauce in the north, while in the south it’s likely coconut milk will be added instead.

Similarly, fish and seafood are commonly found in curries from regions along the Malabar Coast, whereas mountainous northern states such as Punjab rely more on lentils, beans and pulses. And while rice is usually served as a side in the south, many northern provinces favour breads cooked in a tandoor.

Anglo-Indian inventions


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Just as other countries influenced India, homegrown spices and cooking traditions have been exported all over the world. Chutneys and relishes soon found a place in kitchens across Europe following the rule of the British Raj, while peppers and chillies have found their way into many Western dishes in need of spicing up.

Three famous Indian dishes

Lamb biryani: This aromatic dish features juicy, yoghurt-marinated meat, which is cooked in one pot along with onions, rice and raisins. The yellow colour comes from the addition of fine strands of saffron. Almonds, pistachios or cashews can be sprinkled over the top for added bite.

Vegetable korma: With its rich, creamy gravy, the korma is a less fiery curry option, but no less flavourful thanks to the use of fragrant coconut milk. Created in imperial kitchens during the Mughal era, vegetables can include potatoes, courgettes, aubergine, onion – anything you fancy. Fruit such as golden raisins and pineapple can be added for a sweeter dimension. You can also learn how to make dahi baingan in Indian style.

Chicken tikka masala: This popular dish sees cubes of chicken that have been marinated for hours in a spiced yoghurt paste threaded on to a skewer and chargrilled or barbecued or, traditionally, roasted in a clay oven called a tandoor.

So what are you waiting for? Raid your store cupboard for spices and get creative with Indian-inspired dishes.

Also, check out time saving quick recipes here.

Read creative & delicious food recipes at our blog, Reward Me.

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