Home Food Guide Quick Indian Dinner Recipes: Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas

Quick Indian Dinner Recipes: Easy Weeknight Meal Ideas

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Indian cuisine is known for its rich and diverse flavours; dinner time is no exception. Whether you’re a vegetarian, a meat lover, or a seafood enthusiast, Indian cuisine offers a wide range of quick and delicious recipes to suit every palate. This article will explore some easy and fast Indian dinner recipes, including the best Indian curry, gravy, stir fry, and rice recipes, that are perfect for busy weeknights. There’s something for everyone, from vegetarian dishes like dal makhani and aloo gobi to non-vegetarian delights like butter chicken and tandoori chicken. We’ll also look at flavorful rice recipes, comforting soups, quick bread recipes, and even some easy dessert fixes. So, let’s dive into the world of quick Indian dinner recipes and make weeknight cooking a breeze!

Indian Dinner Recipes
Indian Dinner Recipes

What Makes Indian Dinners Unique?

When it comes to Indian cuisine, dinner time is a memorable affair. The unique and diverse flavours of Indian dishes, ranging from spicy to mild, offer a delightful experience for the taste buds. The comfort and wholesome nature of Indian food make it an ideal choice for busy weeknights, as it provides a satisfying and nourishing meal. What sets Indian dinners apart is incorporating a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, ensuring a well-balanced dinner for everyone. Using aromatic spices and unique ingredients adds depth and complexity to the dishes, creating a truly delicious dining experience.

Moreover, India is famous for curries of all types, featuring different proteins, veggies, and other ingredients. We’ve got so many simple Indian dinner menu ideas here that you could have them for every meal for at least a week. Indian dinners are an excellent option for quick and flavorful dinner ideas. Indian cuisine also offers a wide range of breakfast foods, such as idlis, dosas, aloo parathas, dhokla, and momos, which showcase the diversity and flavours of the different regions of India.

Quick Indian Vegetarian Recipes

If you’re a vegetarian or simply looking for vegetarian dinner ideas, Indian cuisine has many options for you. These quick and easy vegetarian recipes will satisfy your taste buds and keep you fueled for busy weeknights.

Dal Makhani (Creamy Lentil Soup)

Dal makhani, a creamy and flavorful lentil soup, is a classic vegetarian dish that can be whipped quickly for a delicious dinner. Made with black lentils, kidney beans, and a blend of spices, dal makhani offers a rich and comforting flavour. To make this simple recipe:

  1. Start pressing the lentils and beans until they become soft and tender.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices like cumin, garam masala, turmeric powder, and dal tadka.
  4. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft, and then add the pressure-cooked lentils and beans.
  5. Simmer for a few more minutes, stir in some cream for a creamy texture, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve dal makhani with rice or naan bread for a quick and easy vegetarian dinner.

Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)

Aloo Gobi is a classic vegetarian curry made with cauliflower, potatoes, and green beans. This quick and easy recipe is packed with flavour and can be prepared in minutes. To make aloo gobi:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, ginger, and green chillies for a burst of flavour.
  2. Add diced potatoes, cauliflower florets, and green beans, and stir fry for a few minutes until they are lightly browned.
  3. Then, add spices such as turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder, salt, and a splash of water.
  4. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
  5. Aloo gobi pairs well with rice or naan bread, making it a delicious and quick vegetarian dinner option.
  6. It can be served with Indian roti or chapati, homemade naan, ghee rice, or simple steamed rice.

Paneer Tikka Masala (Cheese Cubes in Spicy Gravy)

Paneer tikka masala is a classic Indian dish with paneer, a type of Indian cheese cooked in a spicy and flavorful tomato-based gravy. This quick and easy recipe is a vegetarian delight and a favourite for dinner recipes. To make paneer tikka masala:

  1. Sstart by marinating paneer cubes in a mixture of yoghurt and spices, and then grill or fry them until they are golden and slightly charred.
  2. In a separate pan, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
  4. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy, and then add the grilled paneer cubes.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes, stir in some cream for a creamy texture, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve paneer tikka masala with jeera rice or naan bread for a delicious and quick vegetarian dinner.

Vegetable Biryani (Spiced Rice Dish)

Vegetable biryani is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that is quick and easy to prepare for a delicious dinner. This veg biryani recipe is a one-pot simple, tasty, and delicious dish that can be made in 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights. This dish combines basmati rice, a variety of vegetables, and a blend of spices for a satisfying meal. To make vegetable biryani:

  1. Start by soaking basmati rice for about 30 minutes and then parboil until it is about 70% cooked.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic, and then add a mix of vegetables like peas, carrots, beans, and bell peppers.
  3. Stir in spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and biryani masala.
  4. Then, cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  5. Layer the parboiled rice over the vegetable mixture, and sprinkle saffron milk and fried onions for added flavour and aroma.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat until the rice is fully cooked and the flavours have melded together.
  7. Serve vegetable biryani with raita, a cucumber and a yoghurt side dish for a delicious and quick vegetarian dinner.

This vegetable biryani recipe comes together in 30 minutes, making it an excellent option for busy weeknights. Combining cinnamon, cilantro, curry, onion, garlic, and ginger creates a beautiful, warming sauce that will make your mouth water. Even newbie home cooks won’t have a hard time whipping this dish.

Flavorful Rice Recipes

Rice is a staple in Indian cuisine, and a variety of quick and easy rice recipes can be prepared for a delicious dinner. These recipes are flavoured and offer a satisfying meal for busy weeknights.

Masala Khichdi (Rice with Lentils and vegetables)

Masala khichdi is a simple and flavorful rice dish that combines rice, lentils, and a medley of spices and vegetables for a quick and delicious dinner. To make masala khichdi:

  1. Start by pressure cooking a mix of rice and lentils until they are soft and mushy.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic, and then add a mixture of vegetables like peas, carrots, and beans.
  3. Stir in spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and coriander powder, including the newly added chana masala.
  4. Then, cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  5. Add the pressure-cooked rice and lentils to the vegetable mixture and stir everything together.
  6. Cook for a few more minutes, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve masala khichdi with raita for a comforting and quick dinner.

Vegetable Pulao (Flavored Rice Dish)

Vegetable pulao is a simple and flavorful rice dish that is quick and easy to prepare for a delicious dinner. This dish combines basmati rice, a variety of vegetables, and a blend of spices for a satisfying meal. To make vegetable pulao:

  1. Start by sautéing onions, ginger, and garlic in a pot until they are golden and fragrant.
  2. Add a mix of vegetables like peas, carrots, and beans, and stir fry for a few minutes until they are slightly tender.
  3. Rinse basmati rice and add it to the pot with spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and cumin powder.
  4. Stir everything together, add water, boil it, and then reduce the heat and cover the pot.
  5. Let the rice cook for 15-20 minutes or until it is fully cooked and fluffy.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve vegetable pulao with raita for a quick and delicious dinner.
  7. If you want a variation, you can also try making South Indian coconut rice, another popular and flavorful dish.

Chitrannam (Lemon Rice)

Chitrannam, or lemon rice, is a simple and quick Indian recipe with tangy and refreshing flavours. To make chitrannam:

  1. Cook basmati rice and let it cool completely.
  2. Heat oil and mustard seeds in a separate pan, and then add curry leaves, green chillies, and a pinch of turmeric powder for a burst of flavour and colour.
  3. Add cooked rice to the pan, lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, and stir everything together until the rice is well coated with the lemony mixture.
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and roasted peanuts for added texture and flavour, and serve chitrannam as a side dish or main course for a quick and delicious dinner.

This recipe is a great way to transform leftover rice into something delicious. Because cooked rice refrigerated overnight dries out a little, it’s better suited to absorb all the flavours in this dish without getting sticky or mushy.

Satisfying Non-Vegetarian Dishes

If you’re a meat lover, Indian cuisine offers a variety of quick and delicious non-vegetarian dishes for a satisfying dinner. From classic butter chicken to flavorful keema matar, these recipes will satisfy your taste buds.

Butter Chicken (Creamy Chicken Curry)

Butter chicken is a classic and delicious Indian restaurant dish that features succulent chicken pieces cooked in a creamy and flavorful sauce. To make butter chicken:

  1. Start by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of yoghurt and spices, and then grill or fry them until they are golden and slightly charred.
  2. In a separate pan, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
  4. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy, and then add the grilled chicken pieces.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes, stir in some cream for a creamy texture, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve butter chicken with rice or naan bread for a delicious, quick, non-vegetarian dinner.

Keema Matar (Minced Meat with Peas)

Keema matar, a delicious minced meat comfort food curry with peas, is a quick and easy recipe for a satisfying weeknight dinner. To make keema matar:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions, ginger, and garlic until golden and fragrant.
  2. Add minced meat, such as chicken, mutton, or beef, and cook until it is browned and cooked.
  3. Stir in spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and coriander powder.
  4. Add a splash of water to create a delicious gravy.
  5. Cook for a few more minutes, add green peas, and simmer until the peas are tender and the flavours have melded together.
  6. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve keema matar with rice or naan bread for a quick and satisfying dinner.

Tandoori Chicken (Barbecued Chicken)

Tandoori chicken, a classic dish in Indian cuisine, is a flavorful and aromatic chicken dish that is quick and easy to prepare for a delicious dinner. To make tandoori chicken:

  1. Start by marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of yoghurt and spices.
  2. Let them marinate for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavour. You can also use a store-bought tandoori masala for convenience.
  3. Grill the chicken pieces until they are cooked and slightly charred.
  4. Then, serve them with mint chutney and lemon wedges for a delicious, quick, non-vegetarian dinner.

Tandoori chicken pairs well with lemon rice, cucumber raita, or naan bread for a complete and satisfying meal.

Indian Seafood Delights

If you’re a seafood enthusiast, Indian cuisine has a variety of quick and delicious seafood recipes for a delightful dinner. From coconut shrimp curry to salmon tikka masala, these recipes will surely please your taste buds and bring a taste of the sea to your dinner table.

Coconut Shrimp Curry (Shrimp in Coconut Gravy)

Coconut shrimp curry is a flavorful and easy-to-make dish that combines succulent shrimp with a creamy coconut gravy flavoured with aromatic spices and herbs. To make coconut shrimp curry:

  1. Start by sautéing onions, ginger, and garlic in a pan, and then add spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
  2. Cook the spices for a few minutes, and then add coconut milk, water, and egg curry to create a delicious and creamy gravy.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook for a few more minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through and tender.
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve coconut shrimp curry with white rice or naan bread for a quick and delicious seafood dinner.

Salmon Tikka Masala (Spiced Salmon)

Salmon tikka masala is a delicious and easy recipe combining spiced salmon and a flavorful tomato-based gravy. To make salmon tikka masala:

  1. Start by marinating salmon fillets in a mixture of yoghurt and spices, and then grill or bake them until they are cooked through and flaky.
  2. In a separate pan, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Add tomatoes and spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder.
  4. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy, and then add the grilled salmon fillets.
  5. Simmer for a few minutes, stir in some cream for a creamy texture, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  6. Serve salmon tikka masala with rice or naan bread for a quick and delicious seafood dinner.

Easy Indian Bread Recipes

No Indian dinner is complete without a side of delicious bread, and these quick and easy bread recipes are perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. From garlic naan to tandoori roti, these recipes will add a touch of comfort and flavour to your dinner table.

Garlic Naan (Garlic Flavored Bread)

Garlic naan is a famous Indian bread that can be made quickly and easily at home for a delicious dinner. To make garlic naan:

  1. Prepare a simple dough using flour, yeast, salt, sugar, garlic, butter, and yoghurt.
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, and let it rest for a few minutes to rise.
  3. Divide the dough into small portions, and roll each piece into a naan bread shape.
  4. Heat a tawa or griddle, and cook the naan bread on both sides until it is golden and slightly charred.
  5. Brush the naan bread with butter and garlic for a delicious and flavorful bread that pairs well with various Indian dishes.
  6. Serve garlic naan bread with curry, dal, or tandoori chicken for a quick and easy dinner.

Tandoori Roti (Clay Oven Baked Bread)

Tandoori roti, a classic Indian bread, can be made at home in a regular oven or stovetop for a delicious dinner accompaniment. To make tandoori roti:

  1. Prepare a simple dough using whole wheat flour, water, and salt.
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, and let it rest for a few minutes to rise.
  3. Divide the dough into small portions, and roll each piece into a thin, circular shape.
  4. Cook the roti on a tawa or griddle, flipping it over and pressing it gently with a cloth to make it puff.

For a more authentic tandoori flavour, cook the roti directly over a gas flame until it is slightly charred and puffed up. Tandoori roti pairs well with various Indian dishes, such as chicken curry, dal, or paneer tikka masala. It will surely be a hit with your family and friends for a quick and delicious dinner.

Aloo Paratha (Potato Stuffed Bread)

Aloo paratha, a delicious and satisfying bread stuffed with a spiced potato filling, is a quick and easy recipe for a delightful dinner. To make aloo paratha:

  1. Prepare a simple dough using whole wheat flour, water, and salt.
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, and let it rest for a few minutes to rise.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash boiled potatoes and mix in spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, and fresh coriander leaves for added flavour.
  4. Divide flour dough into small portions, and roll each piece into a small circle.
  5. Place a spoonful of the potato filling in the centre and fold the edges of the dough over to seal the filling.
  6. Roll out the stuffed dough into a flat, circular shape, and cook it on a tawa or griddle, flipping it over and pressing it gently with a cloth to make it puff up and cook evenly.
  7. Serve aloo paratha with raita, a cucumber and a yoghurt side dish for a quick and delicious dinner. Y
  8. ou can also make this in an air fryer to reduce your oil usage.

Comforting Soup Options

Sometimes, a warm and delicious bowl of soup is all you need for a quick and comforting dinner. Indian cuisine offers a variety of quick and easy soup recipes for busy weeknights, and these options are sure to warm your heart and soul.

Tomato Shorba (Tomato Soup)

Tomato shorba, a classic Indian soup, is a delicious and easy recipe for a quick and comforting dinner. To make tomato shorba:

  1. Start by sautéing onions, ginger, and garlic in a pot until they are golden and fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes, spices like garam masala and turmeric powder, and vegetable stock. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until the flavours have melded together.
  3. Blend the mixture until smooth and creamy, and then return it to the pot and heat it through.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Tomato shorba pairs well with bread or rice for a quick and satisfying dinner.

Dal Shorba (Lentil Soup)

Dal shorba, a hearty and nutritious lentil soup, is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious dinner idea for busy weeknights. To make dal shorba:

  1. Start by pressing a mix of lentils and spices until they are soft and mushy.
  2. In a separate pot, sauté onions, ginger, and garlic, and then add spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, and cumin powder.
  3. Cook for a few minutes, then add the pressure-cooked lentils, vegetable stock, and water.
  4. Let the soup simmer for a few minutes, and then blend it until smooth and creamy.
  5. Return the soup to a pot and heat it, adding more water for the desired consistency.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
  7. Dal shorba pairs well with bread or rice for a quick and satisfying dinner.

Salad Accompaniments

No dinner is complete without a side of refreshing and delicious salads. Indian cuisine offers a variety of quick and easy salad recipes that complement busy weeknight dinners. These side dishes add freshness and flavour to your meal and are quick and easy to prepare.

Kachumber Salad (Cucumber, Onion, Tomato Salad)

Kachumber salad, a simple and refreshing cucumber, onion, and tomato salad, is a quick and easy side dish for a delicious dinner accompaniment. To make kachumber salad:

  1. Start by chopping cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. Toss the vegetables together in a bowl, and then add lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and a sprinkle of chaat masala for a burst of flavour.
  3. Mix everything, and let the salad marinate for a few minutes to allow the flavours to meld together.
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for added freshness, and serve kachumber salad as a side dish for a quick and delicious dinner.

Beetroot Salad (Beetroot with Lemon and Mint)

Beetroot salad, a vibrant and refreshing side dish, is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious dinner accompaniment. To make beetroot salad:

  1. Start by boiling and peeling fresh beetroots and then chopping them into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. Mix lemon juice, salt, and a dash of sugar in a separate bowl for a tangy and refreshing dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the chopped beetroots and toss everything together to coat the beets evenly.
  4. Sprinkle fresh mint leaves and a pinch of black salt for added flavour and freshness. Let the salad marinate for a few minutes to allow the flavours to meld together.
  5. Serve beetroot salad as a side dish for a quick and delicious dinner.

Quick Dessert Fixes

No dinner is complete without a sweet ending, and these quick and easy dessert recipes are perfect for a delicious and satisfying weeknight treat. From milk-based sweets like gulab jamun to rice pudding, these recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you craving more.

Gulab Jamun (Milk-based Sweet)

Gulab jamun, a classic milk-based sweet, is a delicious and quick dessert for busy weeknights. These soft and syrupy dumplings are made from milk powder, flour, and a hint of cardamom and soaked in a sweet, fragrant syrup. To make gulab jamun:

  1. Start by mixing milk powder, flour, and a pinch of baking powder in a bowl, and then add milk and ghee to form a soft and smooth dough.
  2. Divide the dough into small portions and shape them into smooth balls.
  3. Fry the balls until golden brown, then soak them in warm sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom and rose water for a few minutes.
  4. Serve gulab jamun warm or at room temperature for a quick and delicious dessert after dinner.

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Kheer, a delicious and creamy rice pudding, is a quick and easy dessert for busy weeknights. This classic Indian sweet dish is made by cooking rice and milk and flavoured with a hint of cardamom and a sprinkle of nuts and raisins. To make kheer:

  1. Cook rice and milk in a pot and let it simmer until the rice is soft and the milk has thickened and become creamy.
  2. Add sugar, cardamom powder, and a handful of chopped nuts and raisins, and stir everything together.
  3. Let the kheer cool for a few minutes, and then serve it warm or chilled for a quick and delicious dessert after dinner.

What are your favourite recipes for busy weeknights?

Now, we would love to hear from you! What are your favourite quick Indian dinner recipes for busy weeknights? Do you have any go-to recipes that are easy and delicious? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments below, and let’s inspire each other in the kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some staple ingredients to keep on hand for quick Indian dinners?

Having a well-stocked pantry is essential for quick and easy Indian dinner recipes. Some staple ingredients to keep on hand include basmati rice, a variety of lentils, spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, onions, garlic, and ginger for flavouring, and canned tomatoes and coconut milk for creamy and delicious curries.

Fresh vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, and spinach are also commonly used in Indian cuisine and can be incorporated into many dishes. With these simple ingredients, you can quickly whip up a quick and delicious Indian dinner for busy weeknights.

Additionally, a food processor can be a valuable tool in the kitchen for tasks such as kneading dough, slicing, and grating veggies, making meal preparation even more efficient.

What are some tips for meal planning and preparation to make weeknight dinners easier?

Meal planning and preparation are crucial to making weeknight dinners a breeze. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help you stay organized and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients.
  • Prep ingredients in advance, such as chopping vegetables or marinating meat. This will save you time and make it easier to throw together a quick dinner.
  • Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to save time and effort. These appliances can help you cook delicious meals with minimal hands-on time.
  • Make extra portions and freeze leftovers for future meals. This way, you’ll always have a quick and easy dinner option on busy nights.
  • Use meal prep containers to portion out individual servings for easy grab-and-go meals. This can help you stay on track with your busy schedule and ensure you have a nutritious dinner ready.

By implementing these meal planning and preparation tips, weeknight dinners will become a stress-free and enjoyable experience, allowing you more time to relax and savour delicious food with your loved ones.

Can these recipes be adapted for larger groups or meal prep for the week?

Absolutely! These quick Indian dinner recipes can be easily adapted for larger groups or meal prep for the week. If you’re cooking for a larger group, increase the ingredient quantities accordingly, and you’ll have a delicious and satisfying meal for everyone to enjoy.

Consider making a larger batch of your favourite recipe for meal prep and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer in individual portions. This way, you’ll have a quick and easy dinner option for busy weeknights, and you can reheat and serve a delicious and nutritious meal whenever you need.

These versatile recipes can be customized to suit your needs, making them ideal for large groups and meal prep for the week.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Indian dinner recipes offer a unique blend of flavours and spices that can be prepared quickly for busy weeknights.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, plenty of options exist. From creamy lentil soup to spicy cauliflower and potato curry, these dishes are delicious and easy to make. Don’t forget to try the flavorful rice recipes, satisfying non-vegetarian dishes, Indian seafood delights, and easy bread recipes. And if you’re looking for a quick dessert fix, indulge in milk-based sweets like Gulab Jamun or Rice Kheer.

With some simple Indian cooking tips, prepping ahead, and using spice mixes, you can easily create a variety of dishes to suit your taste and preferences. So, gather your ingredients and cook delicious Indian dinners for your busy weeknights.

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