Best Indian Cookbook For Beginners

Most people on this earth enjoy Indian cuisine. There’s absolutely no denying that it’s delicious, filling, and full of unique and tasty flavors. Indian cuisine introduces people from other cultures to a whole new world of tastes and combinations they didn’t even know existed.

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Even if you grew up eating this food, Indian cookbooks are a great resource if you simply want to know how to make more foods from your culture. If you’ve only had Indian food at restaurants and you enjoyed yourself, you absolutely need an Indian cookbook in your home. It’s incredible to know how to cook these foods in your own kitchen too – and they’ll taste better.

best indian cookbooks

Indian cuisine is very inclusive of everyone, even those with dietary restrictions. There are meat-based dishes, vegetarian dishes, naturally vegan dishes, and more. They are gluten-free dishes, and ones with gluten as well. There are dishes for those obsessed with spicy, and those who can’t handle spicy foods at all. No matter what your dietary preferences, there are sure to be recipes included in Indian cookbooks that are perfect for you.

If you do a quick google search of “Indian Cookbooks” you’ll see that there are millions of searches. We know how overwhelming it can be trying to figure out what’s the best one to invest in. What cookbook has the best recipes? What if you buy a cookbook only to realize that there aren’t any photographs? This could be a huge disappointment for people who don’t enjoy reading 100% text cookbooks.

To make things easier for anyone browsing Indian cookbooks, we wanted to create a guide outlining the best Indian cookbooks we’ve come across. Our goal is that this list helps you with your search and journey to cooking more Indian cuisine. Let’s begin!

10 Best Indian Cookbooks Reviewed

Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes


Winner—International Cookbook of the Year, International Association of Culinary Professionals, New York

This illustrated paperback cookbook was written by Christine Manfield. It’s an extremely thorough book, containing 400 pages. In case you weren’t aware, there’s a major difference between traditional Indian cooking and modern western Indian cooking. For example, chicken tikka masala is a western Indian food that isn’t traditional.

Traditional Indian foods are healthier than their counterpart, more unique, and most importantly, more delicious. This cookbook truly teaches you everything you need to know about traditional Indian cooking. In additional to being an incredible recipe book, it can also count as a travel guide.

Throughout the book, Manfield tells stories about her experience travelling around India. She gives tips that she’s learned from talented Indian chefs. She spent twenty years in this country soaking up all the knowledge and gaining all the experiences that she could.

There are 250 recipes in this book, which is an extremely impressive number. Manfield doesn’t just include any recipe though – they’re all of the highest quality. Tasting India has ten different chapters in the book. Each chapter highlights a different region of India. Two examples would be the Indian Himalaya and Goa.

Remember when we said this book was a travel guide as well? At the beginning of each chapter, Manfield gives readers a list of her personal recommendations of the best restaurants to go to, the best accommodations, the most amazing tourist spots and the greatest souvenir stores. She truly wants readers to feel like they’re in India when reading the book. Two delicious examples out of the 250 recipes in this book are Beetroot Curry and Coconut Chutney.

Get the look: Tasting India: Heirloom Family Recipes

The Dal Cookbook


Winner – 2015 Gourmand Awards Best Indian Cuisine

Do you enjoy authentic Dal? If so, this cookbook is a must-have. It’s 224 pages long, hardcover, and written by Krishna Dutta. Dal is one of the staple and signature dishes of India. Just like how you connect pasta to Italy, Dal is connected to India. The reason dal is such a popular dish all throughout India is because it’s affordable, nutritious, and delicious.

All of the ingredients can be purchased in bulk and they can be stored for long periods of time. The dish is easy to cook with water over an open fire. Nutrition-wise, it’s full of protein from the lentils and other important vitamins and minerals. It’s sugar-free and naturally gluten-free. In India, Dal is referred to as the “poor man’s meat.” If you are diabetic, you can greatly benefit from including Dal in your diet regularly.

Anyone who thinks that dal is plain or boring hasn’t tried true Indian dal. There are so many delicious variations of this dish that you can make. Any home cook who is on a budget and conscious of their health needs this recipe book. Also, if you have a big family or are feeding any large group of people, this is such a great dish to make. If you feed them this for dinner, everyone will be full and satisfied until breakfast the next morning.

This recipe book contains over 50 unique and tasty dal dishes. The main ingredients are always pulses, but the recipes also include meat, fish and seafood, and vegetables. It doesn’t matter if you love lentils or hate them – these recipes don’t disappoint. One of our favorite recipes from this cookbook is the Sweet Potato Dal, it’s especially delicious in the cooler months of the year.

Get the look: The Dal Cookbook

How to Cook Indian: More Than 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Kitchen


This hardcover cookbook by Sanjeev Kapoor is 608 pages long, making it one of the most thorough Indian recipe books we’ve come across. As you can see by the title, this cookbook contains an astounding 500 classic Indian recipes. Wow! What an accomplishment.

Kapoor strives to provide many easy and no-fuss recipes. If you have this cookbook, it’s likely the only Indian cookbook you’ll ever need. Within these 500 recipes, you’ll find dishes from all the different regions of India. The recipes are all diverse and delicious. He provides recipes for all the basic Indian dishes we all know like palak paneer, samosas and butter chicken. The author does a great job at providing as many suggested substitutions throughout this book as possible, which makes easy recipes even simpler.

A bit of backstory about Sanjeev Kapoor and how he got experienced with Indian cooking: he’s one of the largest culinary stars ever. CNN has referred to him as the “Rachael Ray of India.” He has a daily cooking show where he lives in Mumbai. Even though these recipes are Indian, they were specifically created and written for people living in North America. Our only complaint about this cookbook is that there are no photographs, just written recipes. Thankfully, we get an immense amount of recipes to make up for the lack of photos.

Get the look: How to Cook Indian: More Than 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Kitchen

Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen


The best Indian food you’ll ever have are those dishes that are both cooked and eaten at home. With this cookbook, you’ll be able to experience this for yourself. This 230-page hardcover book was written by Meera Sodha. It’s a must-have for anyone who is passionate about Indian cuisine.

If you regularly eat authentic Indian food, you’ll know that it’s delicious, fresh, and extremely flavorful. Sodha grew up eating Indian food every day, so she’s an expert at recreating her delicious dishes from childhood. Her recipes are all vibrant and simple enough to make that even beginner cooks will have no issue.

This recipe book contains more than 130 recipes. The recipes are all original ones from her family, going back three generations to collect a variety of them. Some of the recipes you’ll find in this book will be street food, others will be curries, and there are side dishes as well. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the dessert section of this book. Just a few of the many dishes in this book include Pistachio and Saffron Kulfi, Pomegranate and Mint Raita and Beet and Feta Samosas. Is your mouth watering yet?

Get the look: Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen

Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for Home


Something very beautiful about Indian cuisine is that there is a great mixture of meat-based dishes and vegetarian ones. To go above and beyond, there are even delicious vegan Indian recipes that you can make. This cookbook by Vegan Richa proves exactly that.

Whether you have dietary restrictions or allergies to dairy and eggs, or you choose not to eat animal-based foods for religious or moral choices, this book is for you. Even if you aren’t vegan yourself, you can still make and enjoy any of the recipes in here. This paperback cookbook is 256 pages long and written by Richa Hingle. It’s the most thorough and well-created plant-based Indian cookbook out there.

All of the recipes in this book are inspired by regional and traditional dishes. You will find recipes for curries, dals, breads, snacks, desserts, and savory breakfasts in here. Most of the recipes in this book are high in protein due to all the legumes and lentils used.

Have you ever wondered what the secrets of Indian cooking are? How does the food taste so good? What spices are used? Every question you ever had should be covered in this book. Hingle goes through all the secrets of creating specific Indian flavors and textures. She gives homemade recipes for creating mixes and flavor profiles in your own kitchen.

Some examples of recipes included in this Indian cookbook include Mango Curry Tofu, Baked Lentil Kachori Pastries, Avocado Naan, Fudgy Cardamom Squares, and Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Makhani Gravy. Vegan food doesn’t have to be boring, and the author doesn’t give into that myth one bit. If you don’t think you have access to all the spices Indian cooking requires, don’t worry. Hingle always provides replacement spices whenever she can.

Whether you’re vegan or not, you’ll learn a lot from this cookbook and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the recipes just as much.

Get the look: Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for Home

An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book

This 160-page paperback recipe book was written by Laxmi Khurana. Khurana took her personal experience with being an Indian housewife in the UK and decided to create a recipe book for those who could relate to her position or just anyone who enjoys delicious Indian food in general. All of these recipes have been handed down to her from generation to generation.

This Indian cookbook contains more than 100 traditional recipes that everyone is sure to love. She covers everything in this cookbook, from making chutneys to curries and raitas. She offers simple and easy cooking techniques that make for a no-fuss cooking experience. Since the recipe included in this book are traditional, they’re different from the dishes that you’d typically find in North American Indian restaurants. These dishes are affordable and contain ingredients that everyone should be able to find easily.

Whether you’re a housewife or not, you are going to love creating and eating these authentic Indian dishes.

Get the look: An Indian Housewife’s Recipe Book

The Incredible Spice Men: Todiwala and Singh


This 256-page hardcover cookbook was written by Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh. These men have created more than 80 recipes packed full of flavorful spices. They’re both acclaimed chefs that work hard to introduce the world to the many versatile spices that exist.

Too many of us have a limited amount of spices that we just let gather dust in our cupboards. Why do we do this? Perhaps we don’t know the true power of spices, and how the smallest amounts can take dishes to the next level. We’re sure your spice rack will have a complete revamp after making some of the recipes in this book.

These men both live and work in Britain, so they made it their goal to take classic British dishes and create an Indian version out of them with spices. A few examples of recipes included in this book are Sunday Roast Lamb with Cardamom Rub and Welsh Rarebit with Cumin. The Cockles with Smoked Paprika & Coriander is a very popular one!

Get the look: The Incredible Spice Men: Todiwala and Singh

Prashad At Home: Everyday Indian Cooking from our Vegetarian Kitchen

This 272-page hardcover cookbook was written by Kaushy Patel. The book is truly a work of art. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the dishes you create will also look gorgeous. This is the first vegetarian cookbook that is included in this list. It differs from the vegan one included above greatly. Unlike that one, this vegetarian cookbook contains recipes that include animal-based ingredients such as eggs, dairy, and honey.

Patel grew up on her grandmother’s farm in India, which is where she got her passion for cooking from. Her grandma loved to create delicious and nutritious dishes to share with everyone. Patel basically followed in her path, appearing on famous TV shows and writing two successful cookbooks.

In this Indian cookbook, you’ll find over 100 recipes. They range from snacks and sides to extravagant but easy-to-make family dinners. A few recipes that stand out from this cookbook include Spicy Sweetcorn, Green Banana Satay, and Cinnamon-Spice Chickpea Curry.

Get the look: Prashad At Home: Everyday Indian Cooking from our Vegetarian Kitchen

The Indian Cooking Course


This is an extremely thorough hardcover Indian cookbook, with 496 pages packed full of knowledge. The author of this book is Monisha Bharadwaj. Bharadwaj actually runs her own cooking school, hence why this cookbook is referred to as a “course.” She has lots of experience with teaching how to cook authentic Indian dishes. Her cooking school is very successful, which lets us know that all the recipes in here should be delicious.

Being nearly 500 pages long, you might have assumed there’s more than just recipes in here. If you did, you’re right! Bharadwaj takes the time to provide insight and more information on ingredients and different cooking techniques. She has thorough step-by-step masterclasses for beginners to follow. Many of the recipes in this cookbook aren’t as well-known, which is very appealing.

The chapters in this cookbook include:

  • Rice
  • Breads
  • Meat
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Lentils & Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Snacks & Sides
  • Grills
  • Salads & Raitas
  • Chutneys & Relishes
  • Deserts and Drinks

No matter what your taste preferences are, there are going to be so many recipes in the different chapters that you love. You’re going to experience many coconut-based curries and earthy lentil dishes. If you don’t know how to make the perfect rice, you’re going to be taught how. If you are interested in Ayurveda, the author also touches on the principles and values of this. This Indian cookbook truly contains information about everything you ever wanted to know about Indian cooking.

Get the look: The Indian Cooking Course

At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka


This 320 paged hardcover cookbook was written by Madhur Jaffrey, as the title indicates. She tries to teach others how to cook delectable Indian dishes in a simple and quick way. Therefore, this recipe book is more on the basic side. The recipes aren’t basic at all, but you won’t find many full-color photographs or personal stories in this cookbook.

Jaffrey is known for reducing the number of steps in recipes which makes this book great for beginner cooks. Indian dishes that once seemed exotic and impossible to make can easily become a part of your weekly dinners after going through the recipes in this book.

There are recipes for bite-sized snacks, soups, egg dishes, chicken dishes, seafood dishes, curries, vegetable dishes, lamb dishes, pork and beef dishes, and finally, rice dishes. Some outstanding recipes from this cookbook include Spinach and Ginger Soup with Cloves and Simple Poached Eggs over Vegetables. You’ll find recipes in here with okra, apricots, eggplants, and more. You will also be taught how to make delicious salads and chutneys.

Jaffrey grew up in India, so she has really perfected these recipes. Now people all over the world can enjoy Indian cuisine along with all the benefits it comes with in their own homes, with family and friends. The author was kind enough to provide a few excerpts of her recipes included in the book online. We will include one of the dessert recipes here that we hope you try out:

Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Raisins

Pilafs may be served at everyday meals but are grand enough for entertaining as well. If you like, you could add a generous pinch of saffron threads to the rice just before you cover it and let it simmer. You could also use chicken stock instead of the 22 cup water. serves 4–6.

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil or ghee
  • One 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced into fine half Rings
  • 2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Put the rice in a bowl. Wash in several changes of water. Drain. Let the rice soak in water that covers it generously for 30 minutes. Drain through a sieve and leave in the sieve suspended over a bowl to drip. Pour the oil into a heavy, medium pan (that has a tight-fitting lid) and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon. Let it sizzle for 10 seconds. Put in the onions. Stir and fry the onions until they start to brown. Add the almonds. Stir until they are golden. Add the raisins. Stir until they are plump, just a few seconds. Add the drained rice and salt. Stir very gently to mix. Add 2 2/3 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to very, very low, and simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Get the look: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

You may also like: Best Vietnamese Cookbooks, Best Thai CookBooks, Best Ramen Cookbooks


Hungry yet? Writing about all these incredible Indian cookbooks sure got our appetite going. This is a cuisine that should be experienced by every person on earth. We truly hope you will be able to become someone that specializes in Indian cooking in your own home. We hope our list of the best Indian cookbooks helped narrow down your searches.

Hopefully, at least one of the Indian books on this list stood out to you and pulled you in. No matter what book you decide on, just know you won’t be let down with the contents. Enjoy your Indian cooking!

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