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Then these dishes are especially for you.
Not all Indian food is spicy, and that certainly doesn't mean that any flavor is sacrificed on dishes that aren't, such as these.
With a population of over 1.3 billion people and 28 states, one article is not sufficient to cover the vast history and richness of Indian cuisine.
Indian food is globally recognized for its rich flavor, aromatic ingredients, and vivid colors. However, people who aren’t fans of spicy food may be intimidated by dining at their local Indian restaurant. Fortunately for these foodies, India’s extensive cuisine offers fare that is also friendly for palettes who can’t tolerate excessive levels of spice.
Non-spicy food lovers rejoice: here’s some cooler—yet still highly delicious— options to try next time your Indian food craving kicks in!
Being a vast country, different regions in India enjoy their breakfasts in different ways. Common food items include things like poori, poha, porridge, roti, paratha, aapam, pongal, and idiyaapam. Take a look at some popular South Indian breakfast items that aren’t too spicy for your tastebuds!
Idlis are a savory rice cake that is widely popular in South India and Sri Lanka. While you can enjoy an idly dinner, it’s popular breakfast food. Served steaming hot, these rice cakes are served with various chutneys and sambar, a comforting soup made from vegetables, lentils, and pigeon peas.
A dosa is a crepe or thin pancake made using lentils and rice. There are many variations of dosa throughout India, but a popular variety is the humble masala dosa or potato-stuffed dosa. The potato filling is made from boiled potatoes mashed with onions, chilies, curry leaves, and other seasonings such as cumin, turmeric, or even garnishes of coconut. The result is a crispy, savory crepe stuffed with a satisfying potato filling.
Another South Indian staple, medu vada are the savory equivalent to North American doughnuts! Also known as lentil fritters, medu vada is made from ground black lentils and other ingredients, such as fenugreek (known as methi seeds) or curry leaves, forming a batter that is shaped into doughnuts before being deep-fried. The fritters are served alongside coconut chutney, sambar, and idlis. This breakfast dish is perfect for foodies with a low spice tolerance, and can even be eaten as a snack!
A typical lunch or dinner meal in India may be made up of side dishes including dal (a lentil-based soup), pickled vegetables, and a vegetable-based (or meat-based) stew. The meal is served with either rice or flatbreads such as oven-baked naan or a round, unleavened flatbread called roti (or chapati).
Spice lovers can enjoy a hearty Goan vindaloo or Rajasthani laal maas, but there are much milder dishes for foodies with a low spice tolerance.
Butter chicken is a universally known dish and can be found on almost any Indian restaurant menu. This dish was first created in the 1950s by three chefs in Delhi. Traditionally, butter chicken is prepared using yogurt, lemon juice, and other spices and cooked inside a tandoor oven before being added to a rich tomato gravy. With the heavy use of cream, butter chicken is a deliciously mild alternative to its spicier counterparts.
Another popular dish, the gravy in palak paneer is made using spinach that is pureed spinach, tomatoes, onions, cumin, garlic, turmeric, and garam masala. Then, paneer—a soft cottage cheese—is cut into cubes and added to the gravy. This North Indian dish is delectably creamy and goes well with freshly-made naan or a bed of plain basmati rice.
Do deep-fried balls of potatoes and cheese, smothered in a rich tomato sound sinfully delicious to you? That’s exactly what malai kofta is. To other cultures, kofta may refer to actual meatballs, but in India, they are usually made using vegetables. The base of this dish is a rich curry made up of tomatoes, along with ginger, garlic, onions, and cashews. Although making it requires a bit of time (and lots of love), this dish is perfect to have on special occasions.
Made with a melange of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, this luxuriously creamy dates back to its Mughlai origins. In Hindi, navratan translates to “nine jewels” in English, and refers to the nine courtiers (or navaratnas) of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. As the name suggests, this curry is made using 9 different vegetables or garnishes (the “jewels”), such as peppers, corn, peas, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, raisins, pomegranate seeds, pineapple pieces, cashews…the options are really endless.
With a combination of various fresh vegetables, crunchy legumes, and fresh fruit, the first bite of navratan korma will be sweet, creamy, and savory (with a very mild hint of spice, if at all)!
From the streets of Delhi to the coast of Goa, snack time—or tea time—in India is often enjoyed with family and friendly company. Tea time doesn’t have to stop at a simple biscuit with a piping hot glass of tea—or chai; India has a ton of snack items—without being overly spicy—that can be prepared at home or bought from busy street vendors.
Bread pakora can be enjoyed at breakfast but is also a popular afternoon snack. Stuffing two slices of bread with seasoned potatoes and other condiments (chutneys, herbs, and seasonings), this sandwich is dipped in chickpea batter before being deep-fried. You can usually find street vendors selling this crunchy, savory sandwich in Mumbai. This sandwich is enjoyed with a side of various chutneys (or even ketchup).
This Gujarati snack is a spongy treat made of semolina and chickpea flour, along with other ingredients including spices (i.e. mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds), coriander, lemon juice, and yogurt. This dish is perfect for people with a sour tongue and is also perfectly sweet.