The Most Popular Indian Takeaway Dishes

Indian cuisine is renowned for its variety and flavor, making it difficult to try every dish in a lifetime. But here are some of the most popular dishes that you can find at your local Indian restaurant. We suggest ordering a variety of main courses and side dishes, plenty of rice (which is often included) and a dessert to share around the table. One of the most beloved dishes is naan, a type of flatbread with a spongy texture thanks to the addition of eggs and yogurt to the dough.

There are many varieties, such as round ones covered with garlic or stuffed with tandoori chicken. For those who like spicy Indian dishes, don't forget to order raita, a cooling effect that is a welcome respite between bites of spicy main courses. Another favorite is paneer, a soft, unaged cheese that you will have to fish impatiently to get all the cubes before the others. Saag, which can be prepared with other leafy vegetables besides spinach, such as mustard greens, is also delicious when accompanied with naan.

Vindaloo is one of the spiciest curries out there, but it has more than meets the eye. Goa's specialty probably comes from the Portuguese, who introduced a preparation of meat marinated with vinegar and garlic to India in the 15th century. The dish quickly adopted Indian elements, replacing vinegar with palm wine, adding tamarind and mixing spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and chili peppers. Vindaloo originally consisted of pork cooked with a subtle balance of aromas, but when it arrived in England a couple of centuries later, it was transformed into a hot curry that you eat on the face.

For those who find it difficult to eat vegetables, palak paneer is the best way to get your fill. Palak translates to spinach and paneer is a freshly pressed semi-firm cheese. The result is a delicious combination that may make you consider combining the two all the time. The paneer does not melt when heated, but rather retains its cubed shape while cooking in the spinach, providing a textural contrast.

In addition to the spinach puree and fresh cheese, a little cream, onion, ginger, garlic and garam masala contribute to the flavor and rich consistency. The spice profile can vary from kitchen to cuisine, making each palak paneer preparation different. It has rural origins and is generally prepared to feed people who work in labor-intensive agricultural jobs. Thanks to the paneer, this dish is a solid vegetarian main course, especially with its typical side dishes such as rice or bread.

It's also the perfect green garnish for a meat main course or as part of a wider selection. If you're looking for an aromatic rice dish that will stimulate all your senses, biryani is the best option. It comes from Iran where Birinj biriyan translates to fried rice in Persian. While it became a different meal in Iran, Indian biryani became a variety of rice-based dishes unique to each region.

The city most associated with this dish has to be Hyderabad where it includes extra tender meat and hot spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and saffron. Variations are abundant and popular fillings include onion, potato, chutney, coconut and fresh cilantro. Another popular dish is masala dosa, which is commonly eaten in Mysore. It's perfect for temporarily satisfying your appetite at any time of the day and it's even gluten-free due to the fermentation process which contains bacteria that are beneficial to the intestine. It's usually stuffed with curried potatoes and butter or with a variety of hot sauces including tomato, mint and coconut. For those looking for something rich and smooth stew-like dish that isn't usually spicy but can have a special touch in South India versions, korma is perfect for you.

The word korma goes back to Urdu language which means to stew - part of the method that leads to tender and tasty meat. The savory stew is commonly served with flatbreads such as chapati, naan or paratha. Finally we have tandoori chicken, an iconic dish easy to recognize due its bright red color. The flavor comes from both the yogurt marinade and spices as well as from cooking method - chicken (usually bone-in) cooked in a tandoor oven made of clay which imparts smoky aromas and infuses flavor to the meat. No matter what you end up ordering from an Indian restaurant - naan, paneer, palak paneer, vindaloo, biryani masala dosa or korma - it's sure to be delicious in its own right when used as a sauce with naan or served as part of wider selection.

Cassie Vandivort
Cassie Vandivort

Typical music practitioner. Unapologetic web junkie. Amateur music maven. Bacon maven. Total tv fanatic.