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Vegetable and lentils are an essential part of an Indian diet. Vegetable curries are either cooked dry, with the natural juices in the vegetables supplying the moisture, or with a little sauce, or made into a sort of purée (bhurta). A little water can be added to dry-cooked vegetables to prevent them from sticking to the pan during cooking. Very little spice is used in cooking vegetables, and they should never be overcooked.


(serves 2)

50 g/ 1lb fresh spinach

1 small onion finely chopped

2 green chilies, finely chopped

2 tomatoes or 2 tbsp tomato paste

4 tbsp oil

75 g (3 oz) grated fresh or desiccated coconut

salt to taste

  • Wash the spinach, discard any discolored leaves and tough stalks, and shake dry. Chop as finely as possible and leave in colander to drain.

  • Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and green chili until the onion is transparent.

  • Add the spinach and tomato, cover tightly and cook on a low heat for 4 minutes.

  • Stir in the coconut and add salt to taste. Garnish with desiccated coconut.


              (serves 4)

1 cup chana dal

1 small onion finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger finely chopped

1 tbsp mustard seeds

½ tsp red chili powder

¼ tsp asafetida

2 dry red chilies

2 green chilies

10 oz/285 g canned spinach, drained

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp ground cumin

salt to taste

4 tbsp vegetable oil

fresh green chili to garnish

  • Wash and soak dal for 3 hours.

  • Boil the dal in 4 cups of water with salt, turmeric, until the dal is soft.

  • Chop the onions, ginger, green chilies.

  • Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan.

  • Add the mustard seeds, after 30 seconds add dry red chili and onion and cook, stirring until golden brown.

  • Add green chilies, ginger and the drained spinach to the pan.

  • Mix in a chili powder, coriander powder and cumin.

  • Stir - fry the mixture for 7-10 minutes over low heat.

  • Add the dal to the pan and blend into the spinach mixture, stirring gently. so that it does not break up.

  • Transfer the mixture to a serving dish. Garnish with green chili.

  • Serve immediately with rice or bread.

KADHI PAKORA  (serves 4)


1 chopped onion

1 chopped potato

½ cup chopped cauliflower

1 cup chick pea flour/gram flour

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp oregano dry/ajwain

½ tsp baking powder

salt to taste

½ cup water

oil for deep frying


2 cups yogurt

¼ cup chick pea/gram flour

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp turmeric

salt to taste

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt, chili powder, baking powder, cumin, ajwain and blend together well.

  • Pour in the water and beat well to form a smooth batter.

  • Add the prepared vegetable to the mixture, then remove with the tip of a sharp knife or a fork, carefully shaking of any excess batter.

  • Heat the oil in a large pan to 350-375°F/180-190°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 sec.

  • Using a slotted spoon, lower the battered vegetables into the hot oil, a few at a time and deep-fry, turning once.

  • Remove with the slotted spoon and drain thoroughly on paper towels.

  • Beat yogurt and gram flour thick without any lumps.

  • Heat the oil in pan, add mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder and

  • fenugreek seeds. Add yogurt mixture, bring to boil and

  • simmer for about 10 minutes. Keep Stirring to prevent lumps.

  • Add pakoras and simmer for about 5 minutes.

  • Serve hot with rice.

KARELA           (serves 4)

2 lbs Karela

2 onions sliced

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

4 dried red chilies

½ tsp chili powder

salt to taste

1 tsp turmeric

2 fresh green chilies (opt)

5 tbsp vegetable oil


  • Clean karelas. Remove pits from inside.

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a thick bottomed pan.

  • Add chilies, cumin, coriander and salt, and mix together. Fry for 3 minutes. Add turmeric.

  • Add the chopped onions and stir-fry for 10-15 minutes.

  • Add karelas fry for 10-15 minutes.

  • Add salt to taste.

  • Transfer the vegetables to serving plates.

  • Best served with roti.


(serves 4)

2 lbs karela

2 onions finely chopped

1 tsp chili powder

2 tbsp ginger paste

3 tbsp lemon juice

8 tbsp vegetable oil


  • Scrape the gourds and slit them lengthways from the tip, leaving the 2 halves joined at the stalk.

  • Sprinkle salt both inside and out and leave the karelas  in a cool place for 20 minutes.

  • Scrape away the seeds and squeeze the karelas to remove the moisture drawn from them by the salt.

  • In a liquidizer, blend together onions, chili, salt and the ginger, then mix in the lemon juice.

  • Stuff the karelas with onion mixture and tie them together with a thread. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

  • In a meantime heat the oil in a pan.

  • When hot add the karelas and fry over a low heat, turning it gently for 5-10 minutes, until done.


225 g (8oz) green beans, trimmed and cut 2.5 cm (1 in) lengths

2 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp red chili (cut into 4-6 pieces)

4-6 curry leaves

1 small onion (finely chopped)

salt to taste

50-75 g (2-3 oz) grated coconut

  • Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan and when hot add mustard seeds.

  • Sizzle for a few seconds until the seeds have popped.

  • Add  the red chili, curry leaves and onion and fry gently, stirring, until onion is golden.

  • Turn the heat to low and add the beans, 1 tbsp water, salt and the coconut.

  • Cook with the lid firmly on, for about 10 min, until the beans are tender but not soft, stirring occasionally.

  • Adjust salt and let the pot stand for 5 min.

OKRA (LADY FINGERS) IN YOGHURT (Dahi kadhi) (serves 2)

2 cups whole yoghurt

4 tbsp gram flour (besan)

2 tsp fresh ginger (finely chopped)

2 green chilies

½ lb okra

2-3 tbsp sugar,

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

pinch of asafoetida

pinch of salt

10 curry leaves

  • Add the gram flour to the yoghurt and whisk. Add 2 cups of water.

  • Wash the okra and trim the stems.

  • Bring the yoghurt mixture to the boil in a cooking pot. Add the ginger and green chili, sugar, salt to taste (about 1 tsp) and okra.

  • Heat the oil in a ladle and fry the cloves, the fenugreek and cumin seeds, for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and add the asafoetida. Immediately  add the yoghurt mixture with the curry leaves. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until okra is tender.

 This curry has delightful taste, sour -sweet flavor is tinged with a hint of chili. It is thin in consistency and can be eaten as a soup.

aloo palak

PALAK ALOO (serves 6)

1 lb spinach

2 small potatoes

1 inch piece of ginger - grated

2 black cardamoms

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 garlic clove (sliced)

1 big onion - finely chopped

2 tomatoes - chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp red chili powder

½ garam masala

1 tsp salt /or to taste

  • Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Cut away stalks of spinach.

  • Chop leaes finely into thin strips or ribbons.

  • Heat oil. Reduce heat. Add black cardamoms and cinnamon. Add garlic and cook till starts to change color.

  • Add onions and still fry till golden Reduce heat.

  • Add turmeric powder, ground coriander, chili powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well on low heat for a minute.

  • Add ginger. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes and stri fry for 4 minutes till well blended.

  • Add potatoes. Stir  fry for 4 minutes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes (adding a little water) till the potatoes turn soft.

  • Add spinach for 10 minutes, till the spinach gets wilted and well blender with the potatoes.

  • Serve hot with any bread.

PANEER BHURJI (serves 2)

250 g/ ½ lb paneer (grated)

2 onions finely chopped

3 green chilies, finely chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

4 tbsp oil

salt to taste

2 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped)

  • Lightly heat oil in a kadai.

  • Sauté the onions and green chilies on allow flame till transparent.

  • Add grater paneer, salt and turmeric powder. Mix gently. Simmer till oil separates.

  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis and onion slices.


(serves 2-4)

1.1 Ib/ 500 g lotus roots

2 dry red chilies

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

½ cumin powder

½ tsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric

4 tbsp vegetable oil

salt to taste

  • Cut lotus roots.

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a thick bottomed pan.

  • Add cumin seeds and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add red chilies, coriander powder, cumin powder.

  • Add the lotus roots and fry for 10 -15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Add salt to taste.

  • Serve hot with roti.



(serves 2-4)

 ½ Ib/ 250 g lotus stem

2 medium size potatoes

tomato puree made of 4 tomatoes

ginger 1 inch piece

2 green chilies

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ cumin powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp coriander powder

½  tsp turmeric

1 tsp asafoetida

7 leaves of spinach

5 tbsp vegetable oil

salt to taste

sufficient water to cook

  • Wash the lotus stem well and slit diagonally into one inch pieces

  • Boil it for 7-8 minutes.

  • Take a heavy bottomed vessel and pour in the oil. Heat for few minutes before adding the cumin seeds, asafoetida, ginger and green chilies. Fry for few minutes and then add tomato pure, chopped spinach, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Fry well till the oil separates.

  • Now add the vegetables and sufficient water and fry again for  5-7 minutes, till the vegetables are well cooked.

tip: While adding water, care should be taken to see that the gravy remains thick.

Serve with puri and raita.


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