When we think of Indian cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is the explosion of flavors and spices that tantalize our taste buds. Turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder—the list goes on. But did you know that there are several Indian dishes that are equally delicious yet devoid of spice? These dishes offer a different perspective on Indian cuisine, showcasing the diversity and versatility of flavors that go beyond just heat. Join us as we unmask the flavor and discover 10 Indian dishes sans the spice.
Hailing from Kashmir, Rogan Josh is a rich and aromatic lamb curry that is traditionally prepared using a variety of spices. However, for those who prefer milder flavors, it can also be made without any spice at all. The dish features succulent pieces of tender lamb cooked in a luscious gravy made with yogurt, tomatoes, onions, and a blend of fragrant herbs like fennel seeds and black cardamom. The result is a hearty dish bursting with flavor but devoid of any overpowering spice.
Pani Puri is a popular street food snack across India known for its explosive combination of flavors. While it usually comes with a spicy tamarind chutney and tangy mint water filled with spices, you can easily opt for a non-spicy version by omitting or reducing the amount of chili powder in these condiments. The crispy puris filled with a mixture of potatoes, chickpeas, and sweet chutney provide a delightful crunch, while the refreshing mint water adds a burst of freshness to this beloved snack.
If you crave creamy indulgence without the heat, look no further than Malai Kofta. This vegetarian delight consists of soft cottage cheese and potato dumplings served in a velvety tomato-based gravy. While the gravy traditionally incorporates spices like cardamom and cinnamon, it can be prepared without spicy elements for those who prefer a milder taste. The dish is typically garnished with cream and nuts, adding richness and texture to every bite.
Samosas are iconic Indian snacks that are loved for their crispy exterior and flavorful filling. While most samosas feature a spicy potato and pea filling seasoned with various spices, you can easily enjoy a non-spicy version by omitting or reducing the amount of chili powder. The triangular pastry stuffed with potatoes, peas, onions, and aromatic herbs remains just as delicious even without the added kick of spice.
A classic Punjabi dish adored worldwide, Dal Makhani is a creamy lentil preparation that can be enjoyed without the heat. Made with black lentils, kidney beans, tomatoes, and cream, this dish is slow-cooked to perfection and pairs beautifully with rice or naan. The flavors of ginger, garlic, and other aromatic spices shine through even in the absence of chili, making it a comforting and wholesome option for those seeking a mild yet flavorful Indian dish.
End your meal on a sweet note with Rasmalai—a beloved Indian dessert made from soft cottage cheese dumplings soaked in sweetened milk infused with cardamom and saffron. This delectable treat is served chilled and garnished with pistachios or almonds for added crunch. Although some versions may include spices such as cloves or cinnamon in the milk syrup, a spice-free Rasmalai still offers an indulgent burst of flavors that will leave you wanting more.
Biryani needs no introduction—it’s a fragrant rice dish celebrated for its layers of aromatic flavors. While most biryanis incorporate robust spices like cloves, cardamom, and star anise, you can enjoy a spice-free version by removing these elements from the recipe. The succulent meat (or vegetables) cooked with fragrant basmati rice creates an explosion of textures and tastes that make biryani irresistible even without its customary spiciness.
A staple in South Indian cuisine, Masala Dosa is a crispy fermented crepe filled with a lightly spiced potato filling known as “masala.” However, you can opt for a non-spicy version by reducing or omitting the chili powder and green chilies from the masala. The golden-brown dosa is accompanied by coconut chutney and sambar, both of which can be adjusted to suit your spice preferences. This iconic dish showcases an array of flavors from tangy to savory, making it a must-try for anyone exploring Indian cuisine.
No meal is complete without a touch of sweetness, and Gulab Jamun fits the bill perfectly. These syrup-soaked dumplings are made using khoya (reduced milk), deep-fried until golden brown, and served warm. While some versions may infuse saffron or cardamom into the sugar syrup, you can still relish this dessert without any added spice. Each bite of these soft and spongy treats offers pure indulgence, making them an all-time favorite among dessert lovers.
Indian cuisine transcends beyond its renowned love affair with spices. By unmasking the flavors hidden beneath layers of heat, these 10 dishes provide a glimpse into India’s culinary diversity. Whether you prefer mild flavors or simply want to explore different facets of Indian food, these spice-free options are sure to leave you satiated and craving for more.