Cuisines Around the World: Quick and Easy Indian Recipes

We've all had cravings for our favorite local Indian food, whether it's curry, tikka masala, paneer, samosas, or tandoori naan. There are frozen food aisle options for Indian cuisine, but attempting to make Indian food recipes at home can be intimidating at first. Keep calm and 'curry on' because there are many healthy Indian food recipes, including vegan meals, that are great for beginners.

Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala

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Laccha Paratha/Shutterstock

Traditionally made with chicken, tikka masala has an enticing aroma and spicy, slightly charred flavor. Make it vegan by preparing tofu in the same style. While it calls for quite a few spices, don’t sweat it if you don’t have one or two. It will still taste delicious. White or basmati rice complements it perfectly.



  • 1 (14-ounce) package of tofu, firm or extra firm, well-pressed
  • 4 ounces soy yogurt, vanilla, plain, or lemon-flavored
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spices)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or other neutral oil such as canola or safflower
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 ounces soy yogurt
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Cooked rice or naan, for serving.


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Cut the pressed tofu into bite-sized cubes and arrange them in a wide shallow pan in a single layer. Set aside while making the marinade.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together four ounces of soy yogurt with the oil, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, and salt until well-blended.
  4. Cover the pieces of tofu with the marinade. (You also can place the marinade and the tofu cubes in a plastic zip-top bag and very gently shake it to make sure the tofu is covered with marinade on all sides.) Allow the tofu to marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Bake the tofu in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.
  6. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, and the four ounces of soy yogurt for the tikka sauce, and if you have any extra marinade from the tofu, you also can add that to the sauce mixture. Heat until the sauce is well combined and slightly thickened, about eight minutes.
  7. Add the tofu, stirring just until heated through and the tofu is well coated in tikka masala sauce. Serve oversteamed rice or naan, if desired.


Lemon Rice

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SAM THOMAS A/Shutterstock

South Indian lemon rice makes a great weekday meal because it comes together quickly. It often appears solo or alongside raita, yogurt, chutney, or kosambari (a type of salad).



  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, canola, sunflower, or sesame cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3 to 4 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies, split lengthwise
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice, or leftover rice
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Gently roast and then coarsely grind the coriander seeds into powder. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies. Fry the mixture until the splattering stops.
  4. Add the ginger and peanuts. Fry the mixture for another minute.
  5. Add the turmeric powder and turn off the burner.
  6. Add the lemon juice and mix well.
  7. Add the rice, roasted coriander powder, and salt to taste and mix thoroughly. Enjoy!


Lachha Paratha

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AALA IMAGES/Shutterstock

With lots of tender layers, lachha paratha comes out delightfully crispy with only a few ingredients. Its light texture makes it the perfect accompaniment to heavier mains. Try it with vegan tofu tikka masala or your favorite curry.



  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour, divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup water, more as needed
  • 1 cup ghee (Indian butter)


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Mix two cups of flour and a hearty pinch of salt and add water, a little at a time, while kneading into a soft dough. Set aside.
  3. Mix three tablespoons of the ghee with the remaining one tablespoon of flour, and set aside.
  4. Divide the dough into equally sized balls. Divide each ball into two portions.
  5. Take each portion and roll it into a long, finger-thick noodle shape.
  6. Coil the first shape into a spiral.
  7. Flour a rolling surface lightly and very gently roll out the spiral into a flat circle about five inches in diameter (1/3 inch thick).
  8. Grease the top surface with the ghee-flour mix.
  9. Roll the next shape in the same way, and place it over the first circle. This makes one lachha paratha. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  10. Heat a flat pan on medium heat.
  11. Fry each paratha as follows: After placing it on the pan the first time, turn after 30 seconds. Using the remaining ghee, spread some ghee on the top surface and turn again. Grease the side now on top. Turn often and fry until crisp and golden.


Photo: Natalia Lisovskaya/Shutterstock


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