7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home

Indian cuisine has a wide spectrum depending on the region. North Indian food is one of the most enjoyed and here are seven popular dishes to make.

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home f

The first thing which hits you is the aroma of the spices

When it comes to food in India, there are two main cuisines: North Indian and South Indian.

While South Indian food features mostly vegetarian dishes, North Indian food has quite a few chicken and meat dishes which are cooked in an intensely flavoured sauce.

It is these flavour combinations which make them so popular throughout the country and across the world.

North Indian dishes offer aromatic sauces, spicy vegetable stir-fries and tender slow-cooked meat.

Compared to other Indian cuisines, North Indian food is richer. This is because a number of dishes are made using ghee or cream.

Some dishes may be time-consuming but that first mouthful will prove that it was worthwhile.

There is a range of delicious North Indian dishes so here is a selection of some of the most popular ones which you can make yourself.

Lamb Rogan Josh

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - rogan

The delicious Rogan Josh is one of the best curries and easiest to try. Originated in Kashmir, this North Indian dish has a unique blend of spices which make it a must-try.

The first thing which hits you is the aroma of the spices used to cook the meat.

When considering the meat, the lamb is extremely tender and it soaks up the rich sauce to give it a burst of flavour.

It is a mouthwatering dish and this authentic recipe will show why it is such a favourite in the North of India.


  • 1kg Lamb shoulder, boneless and diced
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped (keep a little aside to garnish later)
  • 1 or 2 small fresh chillies (more if you want more spice)
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped or ¾ tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2½ tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 300ml water
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices

  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 Cardamoms popped – only seeds required


  1. Heat oil in a large, deep pan. When hot, add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for 10 minutes until golden.
  2. Add the whole spices into the mixture and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Gently add the lamb and cook for two minutes or until the lamb starts to brown.
  4. Sprinkle in the garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and curry powder and stir. Add the tomatoes and puree let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
  5. Mix in the turmeric and lemon juice and continue stirring for a few minutes until the mixture covers the meat nicely
  6. Add the water and bring to the boil. When boiling, put on a lid and turn the gas on a low heat or move the pan to a smaller stove and let it slow cook, occasionally stirring, for at least 30-45 minutes to let the meat tenderise.
  7. Take the lid off and let the water dry a little for about 10 minutes. Occasionally stirring.
  8. Once cooked, discard any large whole spices. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and ginger strips.
  9. Serve with rice or naan bread.

Rajma Chawal (Kidney Bean Curry)

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - rajma

Rajma chawal is a popular vegetarian option within North Indian cuisine, especially in the Punjab region.

It is a wholesome dish which is perfect alongside steamed rice or roti. The kidney beans are slow-cooked in a simmering sauce so that every bean absorbs the flavours.

The meal is also ideal for health-conscious people as it is rich in iron and protein.


  • 1 cup red kidney beans, soaked in water for at least 6 hours
  • 4 Tomatoes, pureed
  • 4 Onions, chopped
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Green chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ garam masala each
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • A bunch of coriander (to garnish)


  1. Place the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies into a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Add the soaked kidney beans to a pot of water and boil until softened.
  3. Add oil to a pan. When heated, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the tomato puree and onion paste. Cook for 15 minutes until the mixture has fully cooked.
  4. Add turmeric powder, some salt and garam masala and stir to combine. Once cooked, add the spice mix to the boiled red kidney beans.
  5. Stir on a low flame for around 20 minutes. Simmer for longer if you prefer a more intense flavour. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and serve with rice, naan or roti.

Tandoori Chicken

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - tandoori

Tandoori chicken is one of the most popular North Indian dishes, having originated in Punjab.

It was traditionally cooked at high temperatures in tandoors. The chicken would come out extremely tender, locking in the intense flavours of the spices. A smoky flavour was also prominent.

However, many homes did not have tandoors but as time went on, creating tandoori chicken in an oven still achieves a similar result.


  • 8 chicken thighs, skinless
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Use a knife to make slits into the chicken in several places.
  2. Meanwhile, place the yoghurt into a large bowl. Add all the spices except for the garlic. Mix well until fully combined.
  3. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat the chicken with the mixture fully. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the bowl and place into a roasting tray.
  5. Peel and cut the garlic cloves into slices and spread them over the chicken pieces.
  6. Cover the tray with foil and cook at 220°C for around 45 minutes, turning over until the chicken is fully cooked. Spread any remaining marinade over the chicken during the cooking process.
  7. Once done, remove from the oven and serve with a fresh salad.

Nihari Gosht

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - gosht

Nihari gosht is a dish fit for royalty. Developed in Old Delhi, this traditional meat dish was typically eaten by Mughal noblemen.

It is a slow-cooked stew where the meat is cooked on low heat for several hours.

The result is tender meat which just falls apart. It is a dish where lamb on the bone and boneless meat can be used.


  • 500g lamb/mutton pieces, on the bone
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 6 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup yoghurt, beaten
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp ghee

For the Spices

  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp mace
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Black cardamom
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash the meat and pat dry. Set aside until completely dry then rub salt, turmeric and red chilli powder on the meat. Leave the meat to rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the dry spice ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  3. Place a large pot on medium heat then add the ghee and oil. Once hot, add the onions and fry until softened.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the raw smell goes away.
  5. Add the meat and fry for 10 minutes or until the pieces have changed colour.
  6. Sprinkle in the spice ingredients from the bowl and also add the bay leaves and tomato puree. Cook for five minutes or until well combined.
  7. Pour in the yoghurt and water and stir. Reduce the heat and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Cook for longer if you prefer the meat to even softer.
  8. Once done, transfer the Nihari gosht to a bowl and garnish with the thinly sliced ginger.

This recipe was inspired by Archana’s Kitchen.

Chole Bhature

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - chole

Originating in the North West of the country, chole bhature is a staple within North Indian cuisine.

It is a spiced chickpea curry served with a soft deep-fried bread, also known as bhature. It is then typically served with onions.

This is a filling dish and its popularity has seen it all over the country. It is even a popular street food option.


  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight (substitute with canned chickpeas if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp garlic, sliced
  • 2 Teabags
  • 1 tbsp ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4 Green chillies, sliced
  • 1 Red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried mango powder
  • 1 tsp pomegranate seeds
  • ¾ cup tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp chana masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices

  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Star anise
  • 2 Black cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

For the Bhature

  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup semolina
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • Warm water if needed
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep-frying


  1. Drain the chickpeas then place into a large pot with the teabags, water, salt, garlic cloves and whole spices on high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and let it gently cook until the chickpeas are soft.
  2. Once done, remove from the heat, discard the spices and teabags then set aside.
  3. In a pan, heat a little oil then add the cumin seeds and turmeric powder. Once sizzling, add the ginger and fry for a minute.
  4. Add the onions and cook until they turn golden brown. Add the mango powder and pomegranate. Cook for a further two minutes. Mix in the tomato puree then add the coriander powder, chana masala and green chilies. Cook for six minutes.
  5. Gently add the cooked chickpeas to the mixture and stir to combine. Add some water if the sauce gets too thick. Cover and cook on low heat for eight minutes. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. To make the bhature, combine the flour, semolina, oil, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. Pour in the yoghurt and mix well.
  7. Kneed into a firm dough. If the dough appears too dry, add a little warm water. Apply a little oil to the dough then cover and leave to rest for two hours.
  8. When ready to use, divide the dough into seven equal portions. Heat oil in a deep pan or wok. Meanwhile, roll the dough out into oval shapes.
  9. When hot, gently place the dough into the oil and deep fry until both sides are slightly golden brown. Lightly press the centre to help it puff up.
  10. Once done, drain on kitchen paper then serve alongside the chickpea curry. Serve with onions and lemon wedges.

This recipe was adapted from My Ginger Garlic Kitchen.

Butter Chicken

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - butter

Butter chicken is hugely popular within Indian cuisine as it is pieces of tender, smoky tandoori chicken cooked in a rich, buttery and spicy sauce.

There are distinct flavours of fenugreek leaves and cream but it is the Kashmiri red chilli powder which gives the sauce it’s recognisable colour.

This recipe calls for the tandoori chicken to be made prior to making butter chicken.


  • 750g cooked tandoori chicken
  • 1½ tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 green cardamom pod, lightly crushed
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 Green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves, chopped (to garnish)


  1. Make tandoori chicken to suit your taste preference then set aside.
  2. To make the sauce, heat a large saucepan and add the butter. Add the green cardamom, cinnamon stick and cloves and fry for 20 seconds.
  3. Add the onions and cook for five minutes or until they start to change colour.
  4. Stir in the ginger and green chillies. Fry for a further minute then add the chilli powder, garam masala powder along with the tomato puree. Stir well.
  5. Gradually pour in the double cream, stirring continuously to ensure everything has fully combined. Reduce the heat and simmer for three minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water.
  6. Stir in the honey and fenugreek powder.
  7. Place the chicken into the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes. Garnish then serve with roti or naan.

This recipe was inspired by Maunika Gowardhan.

Awadhi Biryani

7 popular North Indian Dishes to Make at Home - biryani

Biryani is a hearty meal option within Indian cuisine and there are different variations depending on the region. Awadhi biryani is popular in the north, specifically in Uttar Pradesh.

There is an infusion of spices and condiments combined with layers of rice and tender pieces of meat or vegetables.

With so many elements, it is no wonder that it was traditionally served to royalty. This particular recipe uses lamb but you can substitute it for chicken or vegetables.


  • 500g basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 4 Green cardamoms
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp kewra water
  • 3 Green chillies
  • A few saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp cream

For the Marinade

  • 1 kg chicken or lamb (bone-in)
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 6 Green cardamoms
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ¾ cup plain yoghurt
  • 1½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • A pinch of mace powder
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • ½ tsp kewra water
  • Salt to taste

For the Rice

  • ½ tsp black cumin
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Bay leaves (optional)
  • 3 Cardamoms (optional)
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)


  1. Place the meat into a bowl and add the marinade spices. Mix well to fully coat then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  2. Meanwhile, drain the rice then fill a pot with water and add the oil, salt, cumin and the optional rice ingredients. Place the pot onto medium heat then add the drained rice. Cook until almost done. The rice should feel mostly soft but with a slight bite.
  3. Drain in a colander then set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat the ghee then add the onions. Fry until soft and brown. Remove from the pan and set aside once done.
  5. In the same pan, add the dry ingredients and let them sizzle. Add the marinated meat, green chillies and half of the fried onions. Cook for four minutes.
  6. Continue to cook the meat until tender and cooked through. Increase the heat and cook until a thick gravy remains. There should be a layer of ghee separated from the sauce.
  7. Spoon the rice over, sprinkling some of the fried onions. Add the kewra water. Add the cream to the saffron water and mix well. Pour over the rice and garnish with chopped coriander.
  8. Cover with the lid and seal the edges of the lid with foil. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes then reduce the heat and cook for a further five minutes.
  9. Allow the biryani to rest before serving.

This recipe was adapted from Indian Healthy Recipes.

This selection of popular North Indian dishes will ensure that you will be able to create authentic meals.

All are filled with a plethora of spices which have layers of flavour in every mouthful.

Although these are step-by-step guides, you can adjust the spices so that you can enjoy them to your own taste.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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