Minty Carrot Chicken, above. There are more onions and carrots than meat in this recipe, and we appreciate that emphasis on plants — but if you were to add more meat (cooking in batches as necessary), you could easily stretch this to feed six to eight hungry people. The big chunks of carrots become earthy and bright thanks to ground turmeric and ginger-garlic paste, and a not insignificant amount of fresh mint stirred in at the end makes this dish extraordinary. A tip: If you can’t find ginger-garlic paste, you can mince/mash a few more cloves of garlic with about a one-inch piece of peeled, fresh ginger to get the same effect.
Butter Chicken. Yep, you can make the restaurant classic, often referred to as murgh makhani, at home. It’s as simple as smothering some cooked chicken in a rich, spiced sauce. (Preferably you’ll use home-cooked Tandoori Chicken, but the butter chicken recipe includes simple instructions if you’re without.) In between bites, read the story of the family that invented both of these iconic dishes.
Paneer and Pea Curry With Sweet Potato Hash. This is a simplified version of the dish matar paneer — with garam masala replacing a longer list of spices and a sweet potato hash taking the place of basmati rice. Fresh or frozen peas add a pop of green, while canned tomatoes deliver a hit of acidity.
Spiced Spring Vegetables and Coconut Polenta. Now that you’ve mastered polenta, give yourself a fluffy upgrade by adding some unsweetened coconut (either dried or grated fresh or frozen). We’re very on board with the mix of spring vegetables suggested here, but those are adaptable to what you’ve got on hand. As to the chana dal (skinned, split black chickpeas), urad dal (split black lentils) and curry leaves — the first two add a nice textured crunch and nuttiness; the latter a lovely fragrance. You can make the dish without them, says Chitra Agrawal, the author of the recipe; but if you do get them, you’ll find plenty of ways to use them up — start with the suggestions listed here.
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