Craving Indian Food In the USA? Try These Easy to Cook Indian Recipes for Beginners

Indian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors, vibrant colors, and the exquisite blend of spices that tantalize the taste buds. From the hearty biryanis of the North to the light dosas of the South, Indian food offers a variety that is unmatched. For beginners who are looking to delve into the world of Indian cooking, sourcing the right ingredients can make a huge difference. Thanks to Indian groceries online delivery services, getting those authentic ingredients has become easier in the USA. It might seem like a daunting task given the plethora of ingredients and methods involved, but with a bit of guidance and a sprinkle of enthusiasm, anyone can master the art of Indian cooking. For Indian students and expatriates in the USA, the craving for a taste of home often leads to culinary adventures in the kitchen. This article will guide beginners through creating simple yet delicious Indian recipes, ensuring that even those new to cooking can produce delightful meals.

Tips for Beginners in Indian Cooking

  1. Start Simple: Begin with basic recipes and gradually move to complex ones as you get comfortable.
  2. Spice Tolerance: Adjust the level of spices according to your tolerance. Indian food can be made mild while retaining its flavor.
  3. Preparation is Key: Ensure all ingredients are chopped and spices are measured before you start cooking.
  4. Use Authentic Ingredients: Try to use authentic spices and ingredients to get the traditional taste.
  5. Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and ingredients. Indian cooking allows for flexibility and innovation.

Essential Ingredients in Indian Cooking


Turmeric: Known for its vibrant yellow color and is a staple in Indian curries.

Cumin: Used in seed form or ground, cumin adds a warm and earthy flavor.

Coriander: Available as seeds, ground, or fresh leaves (cilantro), it’s widely used in various dishes.

Mustard Seeds: Often used for tempering dishes and in pickles.

Cardamom: Adds a sweet and aromatic flavor to both savory and sweet dishes.

Cloves: Known for their warm and sweet flavor.


Coriander Leaves: Widely used for garnishing and enhancing flavors.

Mint: Used in chutneys, raitas, and certain curries.

Dairy and Oil:

Ghee: Clarified butter used for cooking and enhancing flavors.

Paneer: A fresh cheese that’s a staple in various vegetarian dishes.


Rice: A staple in meals, used in dishes like Biryani and Pulao.

Various Lentils: Such as chickpeas, pigeon peas, and mung beans, used in dals and curries.

Recipe 1: Basic Dal Tadka (Lentil Soup)


1 cup yellow lentils (Toor Dal)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 green chilies, slit

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chili powder

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-inch ginger, grated


Preparation: Rinse the lentils thoroughly in water until the water runs clear.

Cooking Lentils: In a pressure cooker or pot, add the lentils, 3 cups of water, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook until the lentils are soft and mushy.

Preparing Tadka: In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add cumin seeds, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté until aromatic.

Adding Vegetables: Add chopped onions and green chilies to the pan. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown. Then, add tomatoes and cook until they become soft.

Mixing Dal: Add the cooked lentils to the pan. Add red chili powder and adjust salt. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Garnish: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve: Serve hot with rice or Indian bread (roti).

Recipe 2: Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice)


1 cup Basmati rice

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 bay leaf

2 cloves

1-inch cinnamon stick

2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

Salt to taste

2 cups water

Fresh coriander for garnish


Rinsing Rice: Wash the Basmati rice under running water until clear and soak it for 20 minutes.

Cooking Rice: In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add soaked rice, salt, and cook until the rice is fluffy and separate.

Preparing Tempering: In another pan, heat ghee, add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon. Sauté until the cumin seeds crackle and release their aroma.

Mixing Rice: Add the cooked rice to the tempered spices. Gently mix to ensure the rice grains are coated with the spices.

Garnish and Serve: Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with dal or any curry.

Recipe 3: Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower Curry)


1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, pureed

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander for garnish


Sautéing Vegetables: In a pan, heat oil and sauté cauliflower florets and diced potatoes until slightly golden. Remove and set aside.

Tempering: In the same pan, add cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.

Cooking Onions: Add chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent.

Adding Spices: Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and sauté for a minute.

Adding Tomatoes: Add pureed tomatoes and cook until the oil separates.

Cooking Vegetables: Add sautéed cauliflower and potatoes to the pan. Add garam masala and salt. Mix well and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Garnish and Serve: Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Jeera Rice or roti.


Creating Indian recipes can be a delightful culinary journey, even for beginners. With simple ingredients and step-by-step instructions, anyone can bring the authentic flavors of India to their table. And to ensure the authenticity of your dishes, it might be helpful to know where to buy Indian spices online. Remember, the key to perfecting Indian cooking lies in practice and the gradual understanding of how spices blend to create unique flavors. So, embark on this flavorful journey and enjoy the essence of Indian cooking right in your USA home.

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