June 14, 2021

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20 popular indian dinner recipes | lunch recipes

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Wondering what to cook for lunch or dinner? This collection will come in handy to plan your next meal. This post covers 20 most popular and often made Indian main course recipes from the blog.

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Main course meals are had during lunch and dinners. Though we can have a light dinner, but one should always have a proper breakfast and a good lunch. I am sharing a collection of some recipes that can be made for either lunch or dinner.

The idea is not just to share the recipe, but you will also get ideas based on the collection and can try or make some other recipe not posted here.

I have included both North Indian and South Indian dinner recipes. In North India usually different types of sabzi or gravy recipes are made for dinner and served with roti or phulka. However rajma chawal and kadhi chawal are two popular rice recipes that are made for dinner.

For some recipes like rajma masala or chana masala, you do need to do some prep work beforehand like soaking the kidney beans or chickpeas. For making dishes like kadhi or curd rice, you need to set the curd overnight before preparing. If you plan to make South Indian Recipes like Idli, Dosa or Uttapam then you need to prepare the batter previous night. So do plan accordingly.

In south India apart from chapathi, various rice dishes are also made for lunch and dinner. There are a variety of rice recipes popular in south India like:

These rice recipes can be had alone as a dinner or lunch or they can also be served in small quantities along with other dishes. E.g when I make steamed rice with Rasam then I also make some dry sabzi like Carrot poriyal or Vendakkai poriyal or Kovakkai Poriyal or a simple potato fry or bhindi sabzi to go along with it. 

Make sure your meal is healthy, wholesome and is prepared fresh and had hot. Do try to include a veggie salad, raita, veggie side dish or chutney along with it whenever possible.

Top 20 lunch or dinner recipes

1. Veg biryani – there are many varieties of biryani made in India. An authentic veg biryani is always slow cooked on dum. This cooking on dum gives the biriyani its uniqueness and originality. This is how the biryani has the beautiful medley of the aromas, flavors and tastes caused by the blending of the ingredients used in making it. I have shared some popular vegetarian biryani variations and these too have been liked by the readers.

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2. Rajma chawal – It is one of the regulars at any Punjabi house for lunch or dinner. Mostly it’s made on weekends and the combo of kidney beans curry with steamed rice is quite famous. This Rajma recipe is a lightly spiced, creamy and a delicious Punjabi curry made with kidney beans, onions, tomatoes and spices. This is my mom’s recipe of making this famous and truly restaurant style Punjabi Rajma Masala.

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3. Bisi bele bath – It is a delicious and healthy complete meal of rice, lentils and vegetables. Bisi bele bath is one of the popular recipes from Karnataka cuisine which you can make for dinner or lunch. 

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4. Chana masala – there are many ways chickpeas curries are made in regional Indian cuisine. this chana masala is made with freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes, herbs making the chana taste like the ones you get on the streets of Delhi. Chana masala is relished with poori or rice or roti or paratha or Naan or Kulcha.

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5. Paneer butter masala – an easy, quick and delicious recipe of paneer butter masala. This is one of the most popular cottage cheese curry served in most Indian restaurants and is also made for special occasions. With my video and step-by-step guide you can easily make this restaurant style dish at home!

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6. Kadhi chawal – This is a very popular North Indian dinner recipe of Punjabi kadhi pakora. Each state and region have their own ways of making dahi kadhi. So we have Maharashtrian KadhiRajasthani Kadhi, Gujarati Kadhi, Sindhi Kadhi and so on.

The Punjabi Kadhi is thicker and creamier than other variations that have a slight thinner consistency. The main ingredients used to make the kadhi are more or less the same. The kadhi is either served with rice or with roti or phulka and usually made for lunch or dinner. 

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7. Masala dosa – there are many popular varieties of dosa made in south India like Rava dosa, Neer dosa and Set dosa. they are usually had with Coconut chutney and sambar. You can have dosa any time of the day. From breakfast to lunch to dinner. They are healthy and taste very good. this masala dosa recipe will give you a restaurant style masala dosa, where the dosa is crisp and served with a delicious potato masala.

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8. Dal makhani – this is one of the most popular lentil recipe made in North India with whole urad dal and rajma. This dal makhani recipe is restaurant style and tastes awesome. If you love authentic Punjabi food then you are going to love this dal makhani even more.

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9. Vangi bath – delicious recipe of spiced brinjal rice from the Karnataka cuisine. vangi bath is popular both in the Maharashtrian and Karnataka cuisine. Both the regional recipes taste different as some of the ingredients and the spices that go into preparing them are different.

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10. Palak paneer – This delicious creamy dish is made with fresh spinach leaves, paneer (firm cottage cheese), onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices. This delicious palak paneer recipe is the way my mom has always made it for our family. She has been making this recipe for years, has passed it onto me and now I am so happy to share it here.

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11. Veg pulao – Trying to get more vegetables in your diet? Try this vegetarian one pot meal of pulao. Use the vegetables that you like most, like peas, potatoes, and green beans. Make this simple veg pulao that packs a punch of flavor! There are many varieties of pulao made in regional Indian cuisine like:

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12. Veg Kuzhambu – Kuzhambu is a South Indian curry-based dish from the Tamil Nadu cuisine. There are quite a number of varieties and variations in preparing kuzhambu. The kuzhambu gravy may have lentils or entirely skip them. This mix veg kuzhambu does not have lentils. Few other kuzhambu varieties which are posted on blog are:

  1. Mor kulambu
  2. Vathal kuzhambu
  3. Poritha kuzhambu
  4. Ennai kathirikai kulambu

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13. Tamarind rice – popular South Indian recipe of a tangy, sour & spiced rice. The recipe dish is also known as puliyodharai in Tamil language. In most South Indian temples, tamarind rice is also served as prasadam along with Sweet Pongal and Curd rice.

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14. Chana dal – there are many recipes made with chana dal all over India. In bengal the combo of Cholar dal with Luchi is very popular. In south India chana dal is used in making many delicious recipes like Dal vada or Chana dal payasam. this is a Punjabi style chana dal recipe which is tempered & flavored with Indian spices.

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15. Bhindi masala – This is a semi dry lightly spiced Punjabi bhindi masala made with okra, onions and tomatoes. It goes very well with some soft phulkas or rotis. It is made in an onion-tomato base with the regular masalas (spice powders) – a combination that is often used in Punjabi recipes. Gluten-free and vegan. 

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16. Sambar recipe – sambar is a South Indian lentil and vegetable stew made with lentils, tamarind and a unique spice blend called sambar powder. Sambar is served with steamed rice, Idli, dosa or Medu vada or Uttapam. You can vary the consistency of sambhar and serve it with whatever dish you are making like idli or dosa or rice.  some well known sambar varieties are:

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17. Veg kurma – delicious South Indian style kurma recipe made with mixed veggies, coconut and spices. Korma or kurma is a gravy based dish and is served with chapatis, pooris or steamed rice. Few more popular kurma recipes you can make for main course are:

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18. Matar paneer – spiced and creamy curry made with peas and cottage cheese. Matar paneer is one of the popular paneer recipe made in North India for lunch or dinner.

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19. Dal fry – popular Indian dal recipe made with pigeon pea lentils. Dal fry is usually prepared with arhar dal also known as tur, toovar or yellow lentils. You can also use masoor dal or moong dal to make this recipe. both dal fry and Dal tadka are two popular dal dishes served in Indian restaurants.

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20. Parippu Curry – This Kerala Parippu Curry is a delicious moong dal curry made with coconut and spices. Makes for a comforting meal when served with rice. Accompany a side veggie thoran like beetroot thoran or beans thoran, a few pickle and papaddums by the side. Few more similar recipes you can make are:

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