We've picked our favorite Indian-inspired recipes perfect for entertaining and sharing with family and friends. 

By Antara Sinha
October 18, 2017
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Diwali is a holiday for entertaining and sharing good food with loved ones, and we’ve got the sweets, beverages, mains, and sides to make it a memorable one. Try your hand at Indian cooking with a few of our favorite recipes—both traditional, and modern riffs on classic dishes.  

Tofu Saag

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

This recipe racks up a long spice list—but it’s so worth it. Make sure to seek out ghee (clarified, toasted butter) for that authentic, nutty, rich aroma. While our Tofu Saag uses browned tofu, cubes of fresh paneer would work just as well.


This isn’t the cloyingly sweet, creamy chai you get at your local coffee shop. Ours is delicately sweetened, letting quality black tea, ginger, and cardamom take starring roles. If you aren’t familiar with black cardamom, definitely make a point to seek it out—it gives this Chai a smoky, earthy boost.

Tahiree Vegetable and Rice Casserole

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Quality basmati rice is key here. Tahiree Vegetable and Rice Casserole is a dish where spices get to shine: Lightly toasting cumin, peppercorns, coriander, and cloves before adding the vegetables ensures the entire dish is flavorful and fragrant.

Grape Raita

Blooming spices like cumin, mustard seeds, and curry leaves in hot oil is the secret to perfecting this creamy, cooling condiment. It wakes up flavors and adds a nutty, earthy note that makes Grape Raita a standout addition to your table.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

While many observing Diwali choose to go vegetarian, this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is a must if you’re craving a hearty Indian-inspired chicken dish. Assembly takes less than 20 minutes before moving to the slow cooker, making this an ideal hands-off recipe for entertaining.

Pistachio Kulfi Pops

Photo: Erin Kunkel; Styling: Emma Star Jensen

Kulfi is a beloved Indian ice cream dessert, and these Pistachio Kulfi Pops are a fun, portable way to serve it up for a crowd. We use cardamom and pistachios, but feel free to dress it up with fresh or frozen fruit like mango. 

Indian Chopped Salad

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

On a table laden with stews and sauces, fresh vegetables are essential. Cilantro, mint, and a spritz of fresh lime bring some much-needed brightness and fresh flavore to your dinner spread in this Indian Chopped Salad


Mango Lassi Smoothie

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

If you're already a fan of Indian food, you're likely familiar with mango lassi from your favorite restaurant. Our recipe cuts the tartness of yogurt with a little bit of honey. With all of the ingredients on hand, this Mango Lassi Smoothie comes together in a flash and is the perfect cooling drink to serve after a spicy meal.

Cashew Fudge (Kaju Katli)

Distributing desserts and sweets is part of the holiday, and Kaju Katli was made for sharing. While cashews are traditional, you could certainly try your hand at adapting this recipe for your favorite nut and spice combo.

Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Fried fritters, known as pakora, are appetizers usually eaten with chai, and these Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters offer a tasty twist on the traditional onion or potato renditions. The addition of panko breadcrumbs and eggs makes these fritters crisp up nicely.