Soul foods are basically comfort foods that warm your soul. It’s that one dish that instantly makes you feel better, even on the worst days! That being said, India has a varied culture of preparing food that comes from the heart. The cuisine, the heady aroma, the rich colors and flavors, and the diversity of dishes make Indian food totally irresistible. The exceptional combination of spices, textures, and ingredients compels you to come back for more!
After thorough brainstorming and research, we have rounded up the top five recipes of India that will make your taste buds swoon with delight!
Finding mention in notes and memoirs of medieval Indian history, Naan is literally a piece of royalty on your plate! Over the years, this unique flatbread has evolved in styles and preparations. You can dip it in sauces, gravies, and curries or use it in place of pita bread or quesadillas. Conventionally, naan is cooked on an earthen stove or tandoor, but you can easily make it at home by using an iron skillet.
- 2 ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ cup of warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter (melted)
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- Add sugar, warm water, and yeast to a bowl. Mix it well and when it starts to get foamy, it is a sign that the yeast is activated.
- Now mix the yeast mixture with flour, yogurt, salt, and oil. Knead into a smooth dough.
- Cover the dough with a muslin cloth and leave it in a warm place or at room temperature (for around one hour) and let it rise.
- Divide the dough into eight parts; roll them flat by using a rolling pin.
- Heat a skillet over the high flame of the stove. Apply some oil to the surface to avoid the dough from sticking. Place the rolled-out dough on the skillet and let it cook until bubbles are formed on the surface and the base is golden. Then flip it over and cook the other side. Brush some plain butter on top and serve fresh.
Dal Tadka is a traditional Indian vegetarian lentil dish made with the most common dal in the Indian kitchen-Toor Dal or Arhar Dal. It is a delicacy that includes lots of spices, ingredients, and a generous amount of ghee, or clarified butter. However, you can also cook it with olive oil, mustard oil, and other cooking oils. Serve this dish with roti, chapatti, and various rice-based recipes.
- 1 cup or 200 grams of Toor dal (also known as Arhar dal/ split pigeon peas lentil)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 3 ½ cups of water
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 large crushed garlic cloves
- 1-inch ginger
- 1 green chili
- 5 tbsp ghee or 22 ml, also known as clarified butter or cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds (crushed)
- 2 cloves
- 1 medium red onion 150 grams, finely chopped
- 2 chopped medium tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/8 tsp red chili powder or adjust to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp Kasuri methi crushed (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tbsp ghee 10 ml
- 2 large chopped garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp hing/asafoetida
- 2 dried red chilies
- 1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- Wash and soak the toor dal in a bowl for some time. Add it to a pressure cooker with turmeric, 1 tsp of salt, and 3 cups of water. Cook on high heat for four whistles and then lower the heat to cook for 3-4 minutes and switch off the flame.
- Heat ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once it is hot, add cumin seeds, crushed garlic cloves, and coriander seeds, and sauté for a few seconds. Then add the chopped onions.
- Once the onions start changing color, add the crushed ginger, and green chilli. Then add chopped tomatoes with ½ tsp of salt and mix. Cover the pan for 8-10 minutes.
- When the tomatoes become soft, add all the spices like coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, cilantro, and kasuri methi one by one. Stir them well.
- Add the boiled dal to the pan and mix. If the consistency seems too thick, you can add some water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- For the tadka, heat 2 tsp of oil or ghee in a pan, and once it is hot, add chopped garlic, hing, and dried red chillis.
- Once the garlic starts to change color, add the Kashmiri red chilli and pour the tempering over the dal. Serve hot.
Whichever part of India you visit, the love for spicy chicken biryani is constant. No one can resist the burst of flavors from the succulent chicken wrapped in a potent mix of rice, spices, herbs, and aromas. With its scrumptious flavors and layers of ingredients, it is truly soul food.
For Chicken –
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 10 grams of grated garlic
- 10 grams of grated ginger
- 5 grams of finely chopped mint leaves
- 10 grams of finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tsp of grounded cinnamon
- 1 tsp of salt
- 900 grams bone-in-skin-on chicken thighs
For Rice –
- 2 cups of rice
- 6 cups of water
- 2 ½ tsp salt
- 5 pods of green cardamom
- 1 tsp of cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
For Biryani –
- 2 tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp saffron
- 2 onions (medium size)
- 1 cup reserved rice liquid
- For marinating the chicken, mix the vegetable oil with garlic, chilli peppers, mint, cilantro, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and garam masala in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces to the blend and toss them well so they are nicely wrapped in the mixture. Allow it to marinate for at least one hour.
- Add ghee to a wide pot and sauté the onions for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.
- Now wash the rice thoroughly and strain it. Add water, salt, cardamom, bay leaf, and cumin seeds, and bring the mixture to a boil. Save one cup of the rice liquid and drain the rest.
- Add a layer of chicken in the same pot in which you cooked the onions with the skin side facing downwards. Fry one side for 5 minutes until it turns golden brown. Flip the chicken over and cook the other side. Put it back in the marination bowl once cooked.
- Add saffron to the rice and add half of it to a wide pot. On top of that, add a layer of chicken. Then top it with a layer of cooked onions. Finish it off by putting in the final layer of rice.
- Once the biryani is assembled, cover the pot and cook it on medium heat for 20 minutes. Once the steam starts coming out, put it on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Mix the biryani nicely, garnish it with cilantro, and serve.
This North Indian one-pot meal is a delicious and healthy dish that’s great for one’s gut. Mainly known as the perfect meal for the sick, khichdi can be the best comfort food for a vegetarian. With a small list of ingredients and spices, it’s cooked in just a few minutes!
- 1 cup of Rice
- ½ cup of Moong Dal (Split green gram)
- 2 tbsp of ghee or cooking oil
- A pinch of hing/asafoetida
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp powdered coriander
- 2 tsp salt
- Wash the dal and rice thoroughly and soak in water for at least half an hour. Drain the water and keep it aside.
- Take a saucepan and heat ghee in it. Add cumin seeds and hing/asafoetida.
- When the seeds start spluttering, add the mixture of dal and rice and sauté on a high flame until all the water is dried up.
- Add coriander powder, salt, and 2 ¼ cups of water. Mix well and cover the saucepan. Bring it to a boil.
- Once boiled, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Veg Navratan Korma
Featuring a spectacular assortment of vegetables and fruits in a spicy and intense gravy of cashew paste and cream, Navratan Korma is as luxurious as its name suggests. If you have not guessed already, the literal meaning of its name is “nine gems” and it contains at least nine variants of veggies in it. Packed with dry fruits and nuts, this rich delicacy was served to kings and royalty in the Mughal era.
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- ½ cup finely chopped or grated onions
- 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup of chopped cashews
- ½ cup cottage cheese cubes
- A pinch of garam masala
- A pinch of sugar
- 2 tbsp of fresh cream
- ¼ cup pineapple pieces
- 2 tbsp pineapple syrup
- 1 ½ cups of finely chopped veggies (carrots, beans, green peas, or veggies of your choice)
- 2 tsp cornflour mixed in ½ cup of milk
- Heat ghee in a pan and sauté chopped onions for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste, mix well, and cook for one minute on medium heat.
- Add spices – coriander powder and chilli powder. Mix well.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now take some chopped cashews and add them to the mixture with 2 tbsp of water.
- While the flame is still on medium, pour in all the chopped veggies and cottage cheese cubes. Cook for 3-4 minutes and stir occasionally.
- Add salt and milk and cornflour mixture. Stir continuously to avoid lumps.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes and pour the pineapple syrup and garam masala. Keep stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with pineapple pieces and cream, and serve hot.
These are just a few amidst the hundreds of other luscious and finger-licking Indian recipes. Now put on your chef’s hat and try them to relish the mesmerizing and diverse flavors of India.