Chana Masala To Poha: 7 Easy Indian Delights For Students In USA
Image Credit: Chana masala is an easy and comforting dish to make | Unsplash

Student life is one of the best phases of your career. You get to learn so much, figure out where you want to go with your life, and get experiences that will last you a lifetime. Many students move out of their hometowns for better education and opportunities. 

Going away from the comfort of your home to a new place is a huge challenge, and it becomes tougher when you move to a foreign country. Studying abroad is an exciting adventure, but one challenge that many Indian students face is adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle. And amongst all of this, familiar food can help the student settle down.

While it's essential to explore local cuisines, knowing how to cook some simple Indian dishes in your own little kitchen can give you a taste of home and save you from ordering takeout every day. If you are living abroad or going soon, we have some easy dishes for you to try out using easily available, common ingredients. Here are some tips that might come in handy while cooking:

Tips for Cooking Abroad

  • Keep it simple: Stick to recipes with a shorter ingredient list and fewer steps. You'll be less likely to get overwhelmed.
  • Plan Ahead: Pre-chop vegetables or marinate proteins in advance to save time on busy days.
  • Use Local Ingredients: Adapt recipes to use locally available ingredients. For example, use Greek yoghurt if regular yoghurt is hard to find.
  • One-Pot Meals: Dishes like biryani or poha are convenient as they require minimal cooking equipment and less cleanup.
  • Master the Basics: Learning a few essential Indian spices and techniques can open up a world of culinary possibilities.
  • Cook in Batches: Prepare larger quantities of dishes like chana masala or dal tadka and freeze them for quick meals.

7 Dishes To Cook Abroad

Cooking is an essential life skill, so to survive happily and focus on education instead of worrying about expenses on take-out or DoorDash, here are seven easy Indian dishes that students going abroad can prepare with minimal fuss.

Dal Tadka:

Recipe -Rajshri Food

Another homely, simple dish, dal tadka is a deliciously easy dish to prepare. Split yellow lentils, or toor dal, cumin and mustard seeds, garlic, tomatoes, ghee, or oil are the basic ingredients that you need. Boil the lentils until soft. Then, in a separate pan, heat ghee and add spices, garlic, and tomatoes. Mix with cooked lentils and enjoy the meal with rice.

Chana Masala:

Canned chickpeas are easily available in grocery stores. You can assemble all the basic ingredients and make simple chana masala to remind you of the comfort of your home. All that you need are chickpeas (canned or cooked), onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala), and oil. Sauté onions, ginger, and garlic in oil. Add spices and tomatoes, then chickpeas. Simmer until the flavours meld and the gravy thickens.

Aloo Paratha:

Missing home-made breakfast is not an option abroad, as you go there to study and make a better life. So, try the next best option: learn how to make ghar ke aloo parathe. Take wheat dough, mashed potatoes, cumin, coriander, and chilli powder along with oil or ghee. Roll out the dough into thick pockets, stuff with spiced potatoes, and cook on a tawa with oil or ghee until both sides are golden brown.

Vegetable Biryani:

Recipe - Kunal Kapur

Craving biryani in a land far away from India, where it is a common dish? Worry not; making vegetarian biryani is super easy. All you need is basmati rice, vegetables you like from your nearest grocery store, biryani mix easily available in many American shops, ghee or oil, and yoghurt. To make this quick-fix biryani, sauté the veggies in ghee and then add the biryani mix with some yoghurt. Add washed rice and cook the dish in a rice boiler or a saucepan with a lid.

Egg Curry:

Bored of all the sunny side ups and egg benedicts those cafes abroad serve? It's time to make some Desi style egg curry. Buy some eggs, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, spices (turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala), and oil, and you are good to go. Hard-boil your eggs and peel them. Sauté onions, ginger, and garlic. Add spices and tomatoes. Simmer with the halved eggs until the gravy thickens. Enjoy with rice or chapati.


Another breakfast dish that will remind you of home, poha is easy to make and lasts a couple of days too. You can also carry flattened rice from India to make poha. Ingredients required are flattened rice, onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, spices like cumin, turmeric, and red chilli powder, peanuts, and oil. Start by washing the poha and setting it aside. Sauté mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, and peanuts. Add poha and spices and cook until it is heated through.

Cucumber Raita:

You can instantly add value to your otherwise boring meal by making cucumber raita in minutes. All the ingredients that you need, like yoghurt, cucumber, mint leaves, cumin powder, and salt, are easily available. All you have to do is grate the cucumber or finely chop it if you do not have a grater. Mix the cucumber with the yoghurt. Add mint leaves, cumin powder, and salt. Have it chilled for extra fun. 

These quick dishes will help you feel at home in a foreign place. Cooking these dishes can also be a fun and fulfilling way to connect with your host country, share your culture with others, and make friends through food. So, don't hesitate to try your hand at these recipes, and do not just survive; enjoy your stay abroad.