3 must-try Indian recipes that anyone can master

Chaman Kaliya (paneer in yellow gravy). Picture: Tom McCorkle

Chaman Kaliya (paneer in yellow gravy). Picture: Tom McCorkle

Published Dec 31, 2022


We all have our favourite Indian dishes, but how much food from there have you really sampled?

Here are three delicious and nourishing Indian dishes to try.

Red lentil dahl. Picture: Supplied

Red lentil dahl


1 onion

2 crushed garlic cloves

Olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1½ tsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

300g red split lentils

700ml veg stock

½ can coconut milk

1 tbs tomato purée


Spinach (optional)


In a large pan, sautée the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add all the spices and tomato purée and fry off for a couple of minutes.

Rinse the lentils and add them to the pan, followed by the coconut milk and stock (add about half stock first then judge by eye and keep adding as you need). Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for about 30 mins, checking every 10 mins to give a little stir so the lentils don’t stick to the pan.

Once all the liquid has all absorbed, you should get a creamy texture – now add a few handfuls of spinach and peas and mix through.

Served with some Greek yoghurt, mango chutney and dipped with pitta bread.

Recipe by Hans Hungry.

Chaman Kaliya (paneer in yellow gravy). Picture: Tom McCorkle

Chaman Kaliya (paneer in yellow gravy)

Serves 4


3 tbs mustard oil (may substitute neutral vegetable oil, such as sunflower)

450g paneer (may substitute extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry), cut into cubes

8 green cardamom pods

4 black cardamom pods

4 whole cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 dried bay leaves

2 whole Indian green chillies, such as Kashmiri (may substitute Thai green chillies or serrano chillies), halved lengthwise

1½ tsp ground fennel

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp fine salt

½ tsp asafoetida powder (hing)

1¼ cups hot water

1¼ cups whole milk (may substitute full-fat coconut milk)

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)

Cooked rice, for serving


In a large pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the paneer and fry until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 mins per side. (The paneer tends to sputter in oil; use a splatter guard if needed.) Transfer to a plate.

Add the green and black cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and bay leaves to the pan and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 min, then add the chillies, fennel, turmeric, ginger, salt and asafoetida. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 min, then pour in the hot water.

Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering, add the fried paneer and cook until the water slightly reduces, about 3 mins. Pour in the milk and cook until the gravy thickens, 8 to 10 mins.

Stir in the fenugreek leaves, divide among serving bowls and serve hot with rice.

Recipe by Joe Yonan.

Mutton vindaloo with freshly made pao. Picture: Good Food Guy

Mutton vindaloo with freshly made pao


300g bone-in goat mutton (lamb optional or pork, if you prefer the traditional way)

3 tbs canola oil

2 medium sliced onion

2 tbs sugar (optional but recommended)

Vindaloo masala (grind to a smooth paste)

14g ginger

14g garlic

14g deseeded Kashmiri chillies soaked in hot water for 30 mins

1 tbs roasted cumin seeds


50g sugar cane vinegar or malt vinegar


Grind vindaloo masala to a smooth paste by using sugar cane vinegar. Try not to use water. If you have to use it, then use the water left over after soaking the chillies.

Marinate washed mutton with the vindaloo masala for 3–4 hours or overnight.

In a pressure cooker add oil. Once heated, add sliced onions and fry until they start to caramelise.

Add marinated mutton and fry on high for 10 mins. Add sugar and fry for 2 more mins.

Add 3rd or 4th cup hot water and pressure cook on high for 5 mins and low for 10 mins. Adjust cooking time as per the pressure cooker make and model.

Once done, plate mutton vindaloo and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

Recipe by Good Food Guy.