8 Light Indian Dinner Recipes For The Summer Season
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After a long day of having fun and being out in the sun, there may be little time left for cooking elaborate meals in the evening. When dinnertime rolls around, you might want something quick, light, and satisfying that won't weigh you down. Some easy Indian recipes can be a lifesaver for busy weeknights. With fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, and nutritious legumes, Indian cuisine offers a bounty of light dishes perfect for warm weather. Focus on recipes that come together in 30 minutes or less and require minimal ingredients.   

Palak Paneer   

Palak paneer is a classic Indian dish that makes for a light yet satisfying dinner. Creamy paneer cheese cubes are cooked in a spinach-based sauce with onions, garlic, ginger, and spices like coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Spinach is pureed and simmered with paneer for a rich curry with bold flavours. It pairs beautifully with flatbreads like roti, chapathi, naan, kulcha, and more.  

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Sabudana Khichdi   

Sabudana khichdi is a light and nourishing dish that makes for a perfect dinner. It is made from sabudana, or tapioca pearls, that are soaked until soft and then sautéed with roasted peanuts, mild spices like green chillies, curry leaves, and a pinch of sugar. This gluten-free recipe can be made quickly and easily with simple ingredients that are pantry staples for many Indian households. It provides carbohydrates from the sabudana, protein from the nuts, and a medley of flavours and textures in each bite.   

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Kerala-Style Veg Stew  

The Kerala-style vegetable stew offers a light yet satisfying dinner option. This aromatic dish features an assortment of fresh vegetables like carrots, green beans, potatoes, and cauliflower simmered in a coconut milk-based sauce. The sauce is infused with warming spices like curry leaves, mustard seeds, ginger, and garam masala. The vegetables soak up the creamy, slightly spicy broth while retaining their shape and texture. Served over a bed of rice or with a side of warm naan bread, this stew makes for a nourishing meal that won't weigh you down.   

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Oat Idli  

Oat idli is a light and nutritious dinner recipe that is perfect for a quick meal. Made from a batter of soaked oats, yoghurt, and spices, this dish originally hails from South India. The oats are soaked to soften them before being ground into a smooth batter along with yoghurt, which lends a tangy creaminess, and spices like cumin, green chillies, and ginger, which provide flavour. The batter is then steamed to form soft, fluffy cakes. Oats provide complex carbs to energise you, yoghurt adds protein for sustenance, and the spices aid digestion. The steamed cakes can be served with chutneys or sambar on the side for a savoury, satisfying dinner that won't weigh you down.   

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Oil-Less Dal Tadka  

Dal tadka is a light and nutritious Indian lentil dish that makes for the perfect weeknight dinner. It requires no oil or ghee, making it a healthier option that still packs bold flavours. The dish starts with yellow split peas that are gently simmered until soft and creamy. A mixture of aromatics like cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, and chillies are briefly sautéed in a nonstick pan and added to the cooked dal to infuse it with a punch of spice.   

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Besan Chilla  

Besan chilla, a simple yet flavourful Indian crepe, makes for a light yet satisfying dinner. Made with gram flour, also known as chickpea flour or besan, along with spices like cumin, chilli powder, and turmeric, besan chilla has a wonderful savoury aroma and taste. The batter comes together quickly in a blender. Then, the crepes are cooked on a skillet for just a minute or two per side. They end up lacy and crisp on the outside while remaining soft on the inside. Besan chilla can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, like sautéed spinach and paneer or potatoes and peas for a hearty meal.  

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Upma is a popular Indian breakfast and light dinner dish made from semolina and spices. Despite its simplicity, upma is nutritious and satisfying. To make basic upma, dry roast the semolina in a pan until fragrant and lightly browned. Then add water or vegetable stock and stir continuously to avoid lumps.

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Once thickened, season with spices like mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, ginger, green chillies, and salt. Upma has a soft, porridge-like texture and a subtle nutty flavour from the roasted semolina. It can be customised by adding vegetables like peas, carrots, beans, or potatoes while cooking.   

Pumpkin And Chickpea Curry  

Pumpkin and chickpea curry makes for a nutritious yet light dinner recipe. This vegetarian dish features cubed pumpkin simmered with chickpeas in a fragrant curry sauce. The pumpkin provides a sweet, earthy base while the chickpeas add protein and fibre. 

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Traditional curry spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger infuse the sauce with warmth and aromatic flavour. The result is a hearty but not heavy meal, perfect for a weeknight dinner.