28 Most Popular Foods from India 

From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the palm-tree-lined beaches in Goa, the foods from India will surely hit the spot!

Indians are magicians in finding the right balance of spices, textures, and colours to captivate the senses and excite the taste buds.

28 Most Popular Foods from India 

From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the palm-tree-lined beaches in Goa, the foods from India will surely hit the spot!

Indians are magicians in finding the right balance of spices, textures, and colours to captivate the senses and excite the taste buds.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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indian cuisine colourful curries

Whether craving the fiery rush of an expertly spiced curry, the pleasing warmth of freshly baked naan, or the cool refreshment of a mango lassi, Indian food offers an endless line-up of mouthwatering delights.

In India, five staple foods play a significant role in the daily diet:

Staple Foods in Indian Cuisine

  • Rice: In Indian cuisine, rice is the ultimate staple food, forming the cornerstone of most meals. Whether steamed, boiled, or transformed into fragrant biryanis, rice is a universal presence on the Indian dining table.
  • Dahl, or lentils: These pulses play a vital role in Indian cuisine, providing a rich source of protein and fibre. Dahl is often cooked into thick, flavourful stews seasoned with spices like cumin, turmeric, and garlic, offering a satisfying and nutritious accompaniment to rice.
  • Wheat: Whether in fluffy rotis, flaky parathas, or pillowy naan bread, wheat flour is essential to Indian cuisine. These unleavened and leavened bread varieties are ideal for scooping curries and soaking sauces, adding a comforting touch to any meal.
  • Vegetables: With a bounty of vibrant produce available year-round, vegetables play a starring role in Indian cooking. From creamy potato-filled samosas to zingy paneer tikka masala, these plant-based delights showcase India’s culinary landscape’s diverse flavours and textures.
  • Spices: Spices are the heart and soul of Indian cuisine. Multiple aromatic spices elevate every dish, infusing it with depth, complexity, and irresistible flavour.

28 Most Popular Foods from India

1) Masala Dosa


Masala dosas are beloved foods in South India. They feature a thin pancake made from rice and lentil batter, typically filled with potatoes, onions, and mustard seeds. 

Varieties like mysore, rava, onion, and paper masala dosa add delicious twists to this classic. 

Garnished with grated coconut and fresh coriander, it’s a delightful dish across India. 

2) Hyderabadi biryani

Hyderabadi biryani food in India

Hyderabadi biryani is a unique Indian dish from Hyderabad, known for its fragrant basmati rice, meat (often chicken, goat, or lamb), and rich blend of spices. 

Hyderabadi biryani is cooked in a special way, using a cooking method called dum pukht. The meat and rice are layered and cooked together slowly, and the cooking vessel is sealed with dough.

This method retains the food’s natural aroma and flavours while steaming and gently infusing spices into the ingredients.

The meat is incredibly tender once this dish is cooked.

Upon serving, the biryani is layered with saffron, fried onions, mint, and biryani masala (juice or sauce).

3) Rogan Josh

rogan josh Indian cuisine

Originating in Kashmir, Rogan Josh is one of the most popular curries in Indian cuisine. 

It’s a slow-cooked dish that allows the flavours of tomatoes, paprika, and chilli powder, along with aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, to marry together. 

The resulting flavour is a deliciously mild curry, perfect for those who can’t handle spicy curries.

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4) Paratha

paratha indian foods

Paratha is a popular type of flatbread made from wheat flour dough, which is rolled out into thin circles, brushed with oil or ghee (clarified butter), folded, rolled again, and then cooked on a grill until golden brown and crispy.

There are many variations of Paratha in India, with some stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes (aloo), minced meat (keema), or grated vegetables. 

Others may be layered with ghee or butter, resulting in a flaky and rich texture.

Paratha is often served alongside flavourful curries, lentil dishes, or condiments like chutneys or pickles.

5) Pani Puri

pani puri indian cuisine

In India, panipuri is a beloved street food snack consisting of hollow, crispy puris loaded with a spicy and zesty mixture known as “pani” (water). 

The pani is typically made from tamarind water, mint, coriander, green chilli, and other spices.

The puris are first deep-fried to prepare until they become crisp and hollow. Then, they are carefully filled with the pani mixture, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, and sometimes diced onions. 

The puris are served immediately after filling, ensuring maximum freshness and flavour.

6) Thali

thali is popular foods from india

A thali is a traditional Indian meal served on a large platter. It typically consists of rice, bread (like roti or naan), lentils (dal), vegetables, pickles, chutneys, and sometimes dessert. 

The dishes in a thali can vary based on regional and cultural preferences, offering a broad range of flavours and textures in one meal. 

7) Murgh Makhani

Murgh Makhani or butter chicken Indian cuisine

Murgh makhani, also known as butter chicken, is one of the most popular foods from India. 

Originating from Delhi in the 1950s, it emerged from the innovative use of leftover marinade juices, tomatoes, and butter to create the most recognised Indian food served worldwide. 

This Indian curry always delivers on flavour.

8) Tandoori Murgh

Tandoori Murgh chicken

Also known as Tandoori chicken, this classic Indian dish of marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) is generally marinated in yoghurt and a spice blend, including garlic, ginger, cumin, garam masala, and coriander.

The high heat from the tandoor results in juicy, tender chicken pieces with a smoky flavour and charred exterior.

9) Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi is popular vegetarian foods from india

Aloo gobi is a quintessential vegetarian dish in Indian cuisine, consisting of potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi) cooked with fragrant spices. 

Potatoes and cauliflower are typically pan-fried with onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garam masala.

10) Bhuna

mutton bhuna

Spicy and delicious curry cooked with onions, tomatoes, and fragrant spices.

“Bhuna” refers to the cooking technique where the meat is cooked with spices over high heat, allowing the flavours to intensify and the sauce to thicken.

As the meat cooks, it releases juices, which combine with the charred spices and onions to create a thick and aromatic gravy. 

The dish is cooked until the meat is super tender and the sauce has reduced to a rich and thick consistency. This is an Indian food you’ll crave long after you depart India.

This dish is equally popular in Bangladeshi cuisine.

11) Lassi 

Lassi India

A popular yoghurt-based refreshing drink, it is made by blitzing yoghurt with water and often adding fruit, sugar, or spices like cardamom. 

Lassi can be sweet or savoury, depending on the ingredients used. Sweet lassi is often flavoured with fresh mango, saffron, and rose water, while savoury lassi could include salt, mint, or roasted cumin seed powder. 

Lassi is the perfect beverage to cool down when coping with high temperatures in India.

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12) Chana Masala

chana masala or chick pea curry Indian cuisine

This is another vegetarian dish and is very popular in Indian cuisine. It’s made predominantly from chickpeas (chana) cooked in a creamy and fragrant tomato-based sauce. 

This recipe uses the most common Indian spices, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and chilli powder, for a bit of heat. 

Then, onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes are often used to create a flavourful sauce base. It’s ideal to be served over rice or alongside one of India’s many wonderful breads.

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13) Rasgulla

rasgulla sweet food in bangladesh and India

Rasgulla is a popular sweet dessert in India, and other South Asian nations.

It is made from chhena (cheese similar to cottage cheese) and sugar syrup.

To prepare rasgulla, chhena is kneaded into a smooth dough and then shaped into small balls. These balls are then boiled in a cardamom or rose water-flavoured sugar syrup until they expand.

The cooked rasgullas are soaked in sugar syrup, allowing them to absorb the sweetness and flavour; these are mouthwatering dessert foods from India. 

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14) Raita

raita foods from India

A yoghurt-based side dish that serves as an accompaniment to balance the heat factor in spicy curries and biryanis. 

It adds a refreshing contrast to a dish and does precisely what it claims: bring the temperature down.

Raita combines yoghurt with cucumber, carrot, beetroot or onion, fresh herbs such as mint or coriander, spices such as roasted cumin, and sometimes a touch of salt or sugar. 

There are many raita recipes in India, so don’t be shy about trying as many as possible.

15) Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani food in India

I love the depth of flavour of this vegetarian Indian dish, which is especially popular in Northern India. Black lentils (urad dal) and red kidney beans (rajma) are cooked with butter and cream. 

Then, the spice blend of ginger, garlic, cumin, and garam masala is added, imparting a creamy consistency with a touch of smokiness from the garam masala. 

Dal Makhani is cooked on low heat for hours to allow the flavours to marry, resulting in a tasty, nutrient-rich dish.

16) Falooda


Falooda is a cold dessert beverage made with a base of milk, rose syrup, and vermicelli noodles. This is such fun food too, with so much colour!

It’s often layered with basil seeds, jelly pieces, and sometimes ice cream. 

The combination of creamy milk, rose syrup, and varied textures make it a refreshing and indulgent treat enjoyed during hot weather or as a sweet ending to a meal.

17) Palak Paneer

palak paneer Vegetarian foods from India

Our list of popular foods from India shows that vegetarian food is excellent in this massive nation.

Palak paneer is a popular vegetarian dish of paneer (Indian-style cottage cheese) cooked in a dreamy, creamy spinach (palak) sauce. 

The spinach is blitzed and then cooked with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and spices such as cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander.

Paneer cubes are added to the spinach sauce and simmered as they absorb the flavours. A dash of cream or yoghurt for richness completes the dish. 

18) Naan

naan food in India

Naan is probably one of the foods in India that requires no introduction.

Naan is a type of flatbread made from wheat flour dough. The dough is rolled out into thin circles and then cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) until it expands or puffs up and develops a slightly crispy, chewy exterior. 

Naan is often brushed with ghee or butter before serving, adding richness and flavour. Indian food always tastes better with freshly baked naan.

19) Pakora

pakora snack foods in India

Pakora is a popular Indian snack made by deep-frying battered vegetables (such as potatoes, onions, spinach, and cauliflower), meat, or fish. 

The batter is commonly made from chickpea flour (besan) mixed with cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, and water to form a thick consistency. 

The best pakoras are crispy on the outside and soft and springy on the inside, usually served hot with chutney on the side.

20) Goan Fish Curry

Goan fish curry Southern India food

This coconut curry is one of my favourite foods from India, so fragrant and delicate.

Goan fish curry is a popular dish from the coastal region of Goa in southern India. Fish is cooked in an aromatic curry with coconut milk, tamarind, and spices. 

The curry’s base is onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chilli powder. 

The fish is poached in this fragrant, warming curry sauce until perfectly cooked.

21) Kheer

kheer popular dessert food in Indian cuisine

If you’re looking for a popular dessert in India, kheer will satisfy you.

Kheer, also known as rice pudding, is made by simmering rice, usually basmati rice, in milk and sugar until it thickens and acquires a creamy texture. 

Cardamom, saffron, and nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios add the most beautiful flavour to kheer. 

It can be served warm or chilled and found universally in India.

22) Chapati

chapati food in India

Chapati is one of the most popular flatbreads in India. It is made from whole wheat flour, water, and salt—simple ingredients making it a cherished staple food in India.

To prepare chapati, the dough is rolled into thin circles and cooked on a hot grill or tawa until it expands and finally develops golden patches on both sides to signify it’s cooked through.

Chapatis are generally served hot and can be enjoyed with curries or even eaten with a bit of butter or ghee. 

23) Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun sweet foods from India

Gulab jamun, which originated in the Indian subcontinent, is a sweet dessert popular in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Bangladeshi, and Myanmar cuisines.

Gulab jamun typically consists of mawa (a dairy ingredient in Indian desserts and sweets), flour, and a leavening agent.

The ingredients are kneaded, shaped into balls, deep-fried until golden, and then immersed in rose-flavoured sugar syrup.

And yes, they’re delicious! 

24) Bhelpuri

bhelpuri snack foods in India

Bhelpuri is a widespread street food snack made from puffed rice mixed with onions, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, mint, coriander, and tamarind chutneys.

It’s commonly seasoned with spices like cumin, chaat masala, and chilli powder and adorned with crunchy sev (fried chickpea flour noodles) and fresh coriander, essential for lifting the entire snack.

I remember eating this from a street cart vendor when exploring Chitwan National Park in Nepal for 3 days.

25) Samosa

samosa Indian snack food
Samosa – The most popular street foods of India

The easiest snack foods from India are available from street food vendors or small shops, and they are ideal for a bus or train journey.

Samosas are triangle-shaped pastries filled with various mixtures. Some fillings include spiced potatoes and peas, onions, spiced lentils, or minced meat. 

The filled samosas are deep-fried until golden brown and crispy, and they taste best with a chutney to dip them in!

26) Jalebi

jalebi sweet food in India

They say that you eat with your eyes, and I do this with this sweet snack in India; they’re interesting.

Jalebi is made by deep-frying batter (made from fermented flour) into a spiral shape and then soaked in sugar syrup. 

Quite often, jalebi are flavoured with cardamom or saffron and are best when served warm while still having a crispy texture. 

I can confirm that jalebi is very popular in Pakistan, too.

It was one of the snacks I tried on my fantastic street food tour in Karachi.

27) Vindaloo

lamb vindaloo Indian cuisine

When I hear the word ‘vindaloo,’ I associate it with the spiciest Indian curry, and this dish is for those who like it hot!

Vindaloo is a spicy dish consisting of meat (lamb, beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp) marinated in a piquant blend of vinegar, garlic, ginger, and spices, including Kashmiri chilli powder. This spice kicks this curry up to a fiery level and gives it the signature deep red hue.

Vindaloo curry cooks away for a few hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has reached a perfect consistency.

The spice level can vary depending on how many chillis entered the marinade. Some versions of vindaloo may be milder, while others can be excessively hot. I recommend asking about the spice level when ordering.

And maybe if you have a raita ready on the side to bring down the fire in your mouth, you’ll be fine!

28) Madras Curry

chicken madras popular Indian cuisine

Madras curry is named after the city of Madras (now Chennai). It is one of my go-to curries. It is rich and tangy in flavour.

In addition to the spice blend, the curry base usually includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger, cooked with coconut milk to create a tasty, creamy sauce. 

The beauty of this curry is that it works very well with meat, seafood or vegetables. 

There you go! Our summary of the most popular foods from India! What is your favourite dish in Indian cuisine? Let us know in the comments below.

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Visit India’s top 5 food cities to indulge in the country’s best cuisine!

Travel Tips for Asia

We have many travel guides and tips for Asia— a fascinating continent!

Delicious cuisine can be enjoyed across Asia, and our food map of Asia will inspire your food journey.

These top 5 best street foods in Asia are unmissable! We explain Central Asian food, including seven popular foods in this region.

Our Southeast Asia packing list will be helpful if you’re travelling here.

Furthermore, if you plan to travel long-term (or at least until the money runs out), these 21 cheapest countries to visit will help you make your hard-earned dollars stretch a bit further.

Not surprisingly, our top 10 best countries for food lovers include a few Asian countries.

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Asia. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual Asian countries, or consider a regional eSIM for Asia (which covers 18 countries).

If your travels in Asia are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text eSIM. The Global eSIM has been a game-changer; we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Asia.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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