Indian food is very popular in the US because it has many different dishes with many different flavours. Rich in spices and aromatic herbs, Indian food has found a special place in Americans’ hearts and taste buds. This article explores the top 10 Indian foods that have captivated the American palate.
We categorize the top 10 Indian Foods into 4 categories, from Appetizers to Desserts.
Top 10 Indian Foods: Category-wise
Appetizers are an essential part of Indian cuisine, as they set the stage for the main course and help to stimulate the appetite. Indian appetizers come in various forms, ranging from deep-fried snacks to flavorful chaats. Here are some popular Indian appetizers that are commonly enjoyed in the United States:
Samosas are deep-fried, triangular-shaped pastries filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes minced meat. This crispy, delicious appetizer is a favourite at Indian restaurants and is often served with mint chutney or tamarind sauce.
“I recently visited an Indian restaurant in downtown Chicago, and the samosas were divine! The pastry was crispy and golden, while the potato filling was seasoned perfectly. The mint chutney served on the side was a refreshing complement to the dish.”Alex H., Yelp.
Pakoras are Indian-style fritters made with various vegetables, such as onions, cauliflower, and spinach, deep-fried in a spicy gramme flour batter till golden brown. These scrumptious snacks are typically enjoyed with tangy tamarind chutney or mint-coriander chutney.
“I was at a friend’s house for a dinner party, and they served vegetable pakoras as an appetizer. The crispy, golden exterior and the flavorful, spiced vegetable filling immediately hooked me. I have since tried pakoras at several Indian restaurants in Miami, and they have quickly become one of my favourite appetizers.”Carlos G., Yelp.
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Indian main courses are diverse, featuring a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian options that cater to different tastes and preferences. They are often accompanied by rice or Indian bread, such as naan or roti. Here are some popular Indian main courses that are well-loved in the United States:
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala, one of America’s most famous Indian meals, comprises marinated, grilled chicken pieces served in a creamy tomato-based sauce. The dish boasts a delightful balance of flavours, with the chicken’s smokiness complemented by the sauce’s richness. Chicken tikka masala is often served with basmati rice or warm naan bread, making it a satisfying and hearty meal. This dish people usually prefer as the main course most of the time, so we include it in our top 10 Indian foods list.
“I have tried chicken tikka masala at several Indian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of my all-time favourite dishes. The tender chicken pieces, combined with the creamy and flavorful sauce, never fail to satisfy my cravings. I love to pair it with some garlic naan for the ultimate Indian food experience.”Stephanie T., TripAdvisor.
Biryani is a one-pot rice dish that combines fragrant basmati rice with marinated meat (chicken, lamb, or goat) or vegetables and a blend of spices. The ingredients are layered and slow-cooked, allowing the flavours to meld beautifully. This flavorful and aromatic dish is popular at Indian celebrations and family gatherings and has captured American food lovers’ hearts.
“I went to an Indian wedding in New Jersey last summer, and the biryani served there was the best I have ever had. The fragrant rice and tender chicken were perfectly cooked, and the dish was beautifully presented with a garnish of fried onions and fresh cilantro. I have been a fan of Indian food ever since!”Mike R., Google Reviews.
Saag paneer is a popular vegetarian dish with soft paneer cheese cubes cooked in a creamy, spiced spinach sauce. This dish showcases the versatility of Indian cuisine with its subtle yet complex flavours and textures. Enjoy saag paneer with warm naan or steamed basmati rice for a satisfying meal.
Saag Paneer “I am a vegetarian and love trying new vegetarian dishes at different restaurants. My local Indian place in Austin, Texas, has the most fantastic saag paneer. The paneer is always soft and fresh, and the spinach sauce is creamy and flavoured. It’s the perfect dish to enjoy with basmati rice or warm naan bread.”Jessica K., Yelp.
Murgh makhani, or butter chicken, is a classic North Indian dish with tender chicken pieces cooked in a thick, velvety tomato and cream sauce. Infused with a medley of spices and a hint of sweetness, butter chicken has won over the taste buds of Americans seeking a delectable and comforting Indian dish.
“I visited an Indian restaurant in New York City with my family, and we decided to try butter chicken based on the server’s recommendation. It was an excellent choice! The chicken was tender, and the sauce had a rich, velvety texture that was comforting and delicious. We will order butter chicken again.”Brian M., TripAdvisor.
A popular Punjabi dish, chole bhature consists of spicy chickpea curry (chole) served with deep-fried, puffed bread called bhature. This flavorful and indulgent dish is a favourite among both Indian and American food enthusiasts, often enjoyed at breakfast or lunch with a side of tangy yoghurt or pickles.
“I first tried chole bhature during an Indian cuisine festival in Los Angeles and fell in love with the meal. The spicy chickpea curry paired perfectly with the puffy, deep-fried bread. It was a delightful combination of flavours and textures that left me craving more.”Linda S., Google Reviews.
Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of breads used to scoop up curries, soak up sauces, and complement various dishes. These breads can be leavened or unleavened and are made from different types of flour. Here are some famous Indian bread enjoyed in the United States:
Naan is a soft, leavened flatbread cooked in a tandoor oven, giving it a smokey flavour and chewy texture. This versatile bread is a staple in Indian cuisine and can be enjoyed plain or stuffed with fillings like garlic, onion, or paneer. Naan has become a beloved accompaniment to Indian meals in the United States, perfect for scooping up delicious curries and dipping in flavorful sauces.
“I have been a fan of Indian cuisine for years, and naan is always a must-have for me. I have tried various types, from plain to garlic-stuffed, and I cannot get enough of the soft, chewy texture. It is perfect for scooping up every last bit of curry and sauce from my plate.”Anthony D., Yelp.
Paratha is a layered Indian flatbread made with whole wheat flour, ghee or butter, and a pinch of salt. The dough is rolled and folded several times to form delicate layers that crisp up and flake when fried on a griddle. Parathas can be enjoyed plain or stuffed with various fillings, such as spiced potatoes, cauliflower, or paneer. This versatile bread has become popular among Americans who appreciate its delicious taste and satisfying texture.
“My coworker brought some homemade parathas to our office potluck in Seattle, and they were a huge hit. The flaky, buttery layers were satisfying, and the potato filling was seasoned just right. I have since tried parathas at local Indian restaurants, which have become one of my favourite types of bread.”Karen W., TripAdvisor.
Indian desserts are known for their rich flavours, often featuring sugar, milk, and nuts. These sweets are a delicious way to end a meal or enjoy them as a treat.
Gulab jamun is a classic Indian dessert featuring soft, doughnut-like balls made from milk solids, flour, and a leavening agent. Deep-fried and soaked in a sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom and rose water, these delicious delicacies have an extraordinary floral aroma. Gulab jamun is a favourite dessert among Americans with a sweet tooth for Indian cuisine.
“I have a major sweet tooth, and I can honestly say that gulab jamun is one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. The soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture and the sweet, fragrant syrup completely blew me away when I first tried it at an Indian restaurant in Boston. It is now my go-to dessert whenever I visit an Indian restaurant.”Emily P., Google Reviews.
Indian cuisine has successfully captivated the taste buds of Americans with its vast array of flavours, textures, and colours. From crispy appetizers to mouth-watering main courses and decadent desserts, Indian food has proven to be a true culinary delight.
The top 10 Indian foods that have won Americans’ hearts showcase this vibrant cuisine’s incredible diversity and richness. These dishes have not only become staples at Indian restaurants across the United States, but they have also inspired fusion cuisine and home cooking as more and more people seek to recreate these beloved flavours in their kitchens.
The continued popularity of Indian cuisine in America speaks to the universal appeal of its bold, complex, and satisfying flavours.