Indian picnic food ideas

by | Jan 17, 2024 | picnic recipes

Indian cuisine is perfect for outdoor picnics, offering flavors and vibrant colors. With its diverse range of spices and regional specialties, Indian food caters to various tastes and dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan options.

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Let’s explore these delicious options for your Indian picnic!

Indian picnic snacks

Picnics are a time for relaxation and enjoyment, and what better way to enhance the experience than with a selection of delightful Indian snacks? These treats are easy to prepare and transport and offer a flavor that can elevate any outdoor gathering. Here, we present a variety of Indian snacks, ranging from traditional favorites to some lesser-known gems. Each snack has its name, a brief description, a list of ingredients, and step-by-step cooking instructions.

1. Samosa

A popular Indian snack, samosas are crispy pastries filled with spicy potatoes and peas.

Samosa

  • Ingredients: All-purpose flour, potatoes, peas, cumin seeds, garam masala, chili powder, salt, and oil for frying.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Prepare the dough using flour, water, and a bit of oil. Let it rest.
    2. Cook the filling by sautéing boiled potatoes and peas with spices.
    3. Roll out the dough and cut it into circles.
    4. Fill each circle with the potato mixture, fold it into a triangle, and seal the edges.
    5. Deep fry the samosas until golden brown.
  • Preparation time: Total preparation and cooking time is approximately 1 hour.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with mint chutney or tamarind sauce for dipping. Samosas are perfect as a snack or as part of a larger meal.
  • Storage tips: Samosas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven or on a pan for best results. They can also be frozen before frying, thawed, and fried.

2. Bhel Puri

A light and tangy snack, Bhel Puri is a mix of puffed rice, vegetables, and chutneys.

Bhel Puri

  • Ingredients: Puffed rice, chopped onions, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, green chutney, tamarind chutney, sev, chaat masala.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Mix puffed rice with chopped onions, tomatoes, and boiled potatoes in a large bowl.
    2. Add green chutney and tamarind chutney as per taste.
    3. Sprinkle chaat masala and mix well.
    4. Garnish with sev before serving.
  • Preparation time: Approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Best served immediately to maintain the crispness of the puffed rice. It’s a great appetizer or a light snack.
  • Storage tips: It’s recommended to store the dry and wet ingredients separately and mix them just before serving to avoid sogginess.

3. Aloo Tikki

Aloo Tikki is a popular North Indian snack made of spiced, mashed potatoes formed into patties and fried.

Aloo Tikki

  • Ingredients: Potatoes, coriander leaves, green chilies, garam masala, chaat masala, cornflour, oil for frying.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Boil and mash the potatoes. Mix in the spices, chopped coriander, and green chilies.
    2. Form the mixture into small patties.
    3. Coat the patties lightly with cornflour.
    4. Shallow fry until they are golden on both sides.
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with mint chutney or tamarind sauce. Can be served as a snack or a side dish.
  • Storage tips: Aloo Tikki can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in a pan or oven for best results.

4. Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka is a delicious grilled snack consisting of chunks of paneer marinated in spices and grilled to perfection.

Paneer Tikka

  • Ingredients: Paneer, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, lemon juice, and oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Cut paneer into cubes. Prepare a marinade with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, and lemon juice.
    2. Coat the paneer cubes with the marinade and let them sit for at least an hour.
    3. Skewer the marinated paneer and grill until charred on the edges.
    4. Brush with oil occasionally during grilling for extra flavor.
  • Preparation time: 1 hour for marinating, plus 20-30 minutes for grilling.
  • Serving suggestion: Accompany with mint chutney and sliced onions. Great as a starter or as a main course when paired with naan or paratha.
  • Storage tips: Marinated paneer can be refrigerated overnight. Cooked Paneer Tikka is best consumed fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

5. Masala Corn

Masala Corn is a simple yet flavorful snack with boiled corn kernels mixed with spices and lime juice.

Masala Corn

  • Ingredients: Sweet corn, butter, chaat masala, red chili powder, lemon juice, salt.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Boil the corn kernels until tender.
    2. Drain and mix with butter, chaat masala, red chili powder, and salt while still hot.
    3. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and serve warm.
  • Preparation time: About 20 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve as a quick snack or appetizer. It’s also a great side dish for picnics and barbecues.
  • Storage tips: Best enjoyed fresh. However, boiled corn can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and spiced before serving.

Find more picnic appetizers recipes in our article

6. Dhokla

A Gujarati specialty, Dhokla is a steamed savory cake made from fermented rice and chickpea batter.

Dhokla

  • Ingredients: Rice, urad dal (split black gram), yogurt, green chilies, ginger, turmeric, fruit salt (like Eno), mustard seeds, curry leaves.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Soak rice and urad dal overnight, then grind into a batter. Mix with yogurt and ferment for a few hours.
    2. Add finely chopped green chilies, ginger, turmeric, and salt to the batter.
    3. Just before steaming, add fruit salt to the batter and pour it into a greased pan.
    4. Steam for about 15-20 minutes. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Preparation time: Total preparation, including fermenting, takes 8-10 hours.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve warm with green chutney or tamarind sauce. Dhokla can be garnished with grated coconut and chopped coriander for added flavor.
  • Storage tips: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or steam briefly before serving. Dhokla can also be frozen for up to a month and thawed before reheating.

These Indian snacks are a feast for the taste buds, adding a touch of tradition and cultural richness to your picnic experience. Whether you’re craving something spicy, tangy, or sweet, these snacks cater to all preferences and will surely be a hit at any outdoor gathering.

Main dishes for an Indian picnic

Picnics are an ideal occasion to indulge in heartier fare, and Indian cuisine offers many satisfying and flavorful options. From rich curries to grilled delights, these main dishes are perfect for a filling meal under the open sky. We provide a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, each with a unique taste profile. Like the snacks, we include each dish’s name, description, ingredients, and cooking instructions.

1. Chicken Biryani

A classic Indian dish, Chicken Biryani is a flavorful blend of rice, chicken, and aromatic spices cooked to perfection.

Chicken Biryani

  • Ingredients: Basmati rice, chicken pieces, onions, tomatoes, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, biryani masala, saffron, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and ghee.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Marinate chicken with yogurt, biryani masala, ginger-garlic paste, and salt.
    2. Cook basmati rice until it’s 70% done.
    3. Fry onions until golden, add tomatoes, and cook until soft.
    4. Layer the marinated chicken, half-cooked rice, fried onions, mint, and coriander leaves in a pot. Drizzle with saffron-infused milk and ghee.
    5. Seal the pot and cook on a low flame until the chicken is tender and the rice is fully cooked.
  • Preparation time: Total preparation and cooking time is about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  • Serving suggestion: Garnish with fried onions, nuts, and raisins. Serve with raita or mirchi ka salan.
  • Storage tips: Chicken biryani can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in a microwave or oven for the best flavor.

2. Paneer Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka Masala is a vegetarian delight featuring grilled paneer cubes in a creamy, spiced tomato gravy.

Paneer Tikka Masala

  • Ingredients: Paneer, yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree, cream, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), garam masala, turmeric, red chili powder, oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Marinate paneer cubes in a mixture of yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, and spices, then grill them until golden.
    2. For the gravy, cook tomato puree with ginger-garlic paste and spices until it thickens.
    3. Add cream and kasuri methi to the gravy.
    4. Finally, add the grilled paneer cubes to the gravy and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Preparation time: Total preparation and cooking time is about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with naan or rice. Garnish with cream and fresh coriander.
  • Storage tips: Paneer Tikka Masala can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It’s best to store the paneer and gravy separately and combine when reheating.

3. Chole (Chickpea Curry)

Chole is a hearty and flavorful North Indian curry made with chickpeas simmered in a tangy tomato-based sauce.

Chole (Chickpea Curry)

  • Ingredients: Chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, amchur (dry mango powder), oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Soak chickpeas overnight and then boil until tender.
    2. Sauté cumin seeds, chopped onions, ginger, and garlic until golden.
    3. Add chopped tomatoes, coriander powder, garam masala, and amchur. Cook until the oil separates.
    4. Add boiled chickpeas and some water, and simmer for a while.
  • Preparation time: Total preparation time, including soaking, is about 8-10 hours.
  • Serving suggestion: Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with bhature or rice. A side of sliced onions and lemon wedges complements the dish.
  • Storage tips: Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The flavors often enhance when the curry is reheated.

4. Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken is a popular Indian dish featuring chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, then roasted to perfection.

Tandoori Chicken

  • Ingredients: Chicken legs/thighs, yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala, paprika, turmeric, oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Make deep cuts on the chicken pieces. Marinate with lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala, paprika, turmeric, and yogurt for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
    2. Preheat your grill or oven.
    3. Place the chicken on the grill or in the oven, and cook until it’s charred and cooked through, turning occasionally.
    4. Brush with oil during the final minutes of cooking.
  • Preparation time: Including marination, the preparation time is around 4-8 hours.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve with mint chutney and sliced onions. Accompany with lemon wedges for added zest.
  • Storage tips: Marinated chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Cooked chicken can be stored for up to 2 days.

5. Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian staple in Indian cuisine, a simple yet flavorful dish of potatoes and cauliflower cooked with spices.

Aloo Gobi

  • Ingredients: Cauliflower, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, ginger, cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Heat oil and sauté cumin seeds until they sputter.
    2. Add finely chopped onions and ginger, and fry until golden.
    3. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, coriander powder, and sauté.
    4. Add cauliflower and potatoes, mix well, cover, and cook on low heat until tender.
    5. Sprinkle garam masala and mix well before serving.
  • Preparation time: Approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Best served hot, garnished with coriander leaves. Pairs well with roti or naan.
  • Storage tips: Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stove or in a microwave before serving.

6. Fish Curry

Fish Curry is a flavorful dish with tender fish pieces simmered in a tangy and spicy sauce.

Fish Curry

  • Ingredients: Fish fillets, onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, tamarind extract, turmeric, red chili powder, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Marinate fish fillets in turmeric and salt for a few minutes.
    2. Fry mustard seeds and curry leaves in oil, add onions, and cook until translucent.
    3. Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, and red chili powder, and cook until the tomatoes are mushy.
    4. Add tamarind extract and water, and bring to a boil.
    5. Gently add the fish fillets to the sauce and simmer until the fish is cooked, taking care not to break the fillets.
  • Preparation time: Around 30-45 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with steamed rice or bread for a complete meal.
  • Storage tips: Best consumed fresh. If necessary, refrigerate for no more than one day, as fish dishes are best eaten when fresh.

These main dishes, diverse in flavor and texture, are perfect for a sumptuous Indian picnic. Whether you’re in the mood for the smoky taste of tandoori chicken or the comforting flavors of aloo gobi, these recipes will surely make your picnic a memorable culinary journey. Easy to prepare in advance and delicious when enjoyed outdoors, these dishes satisfy hunger and bring the essence of Indian cuisine to your picnic spread.

Indian vegetarian picnic food ideas

Indian cuisine is renowned for its diverse and rich vegetarian offerings. These flavorful dishes cater to various dietary preferences and restrictions, making them perfect for picnics. Here, we present a selection of vegetarian dishes that will be crowd-pleasers at any outdoor gathering. We provide a detailed description, ingredients list, and cooking instructions for each.

1. Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao is a one-pot rice dish mixed with various vegetables and aromatic spices.

Vegetable Pulao

  • Ingredients: Basmati rice, mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans), onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, garam masala, oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Wash and soak basmati rice for 30 minutes.
    2. In a pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
    3. Add finely chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté until golden.
    4. Add chopped vegetables and tomatoes, and sauté for a few minutes.
    5. Add rice, water, garam masala, and salt. Cook until the rice is done.
  • Preparation time: Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander leaves. Complements raita or plain yogurt.
  • Storage tips: Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stove with a bit of water to prevent drying out.

2. Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a smooth spinach curry with paneer cubes, rich in flavors and nutrients.

Palak Paneer

  • Ingredients: Spinach, paneer, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, garam masala, cream, oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Blanch spinach and grind it to a puree.
    2. Fry paneer cubes until golden and set aside.
    3. Add cumin seeds, chopped onions, ginger, and garlic in the same pan. Cook until onions are soft.
    4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until soft.
    5. Add spinach puree and garam masala, and cook for a few minutes.
    6. Add fried paneer and cream, and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Preparation time: Around 30-40 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with naan or rice. Garnish with cream or butter for richness.
  • Storage tips: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat gently, adding a little water or cream if it becomes too thick.

3. Masala Dosa

A popular South Indian dish, Masala Dosa is a thin, crispy crepe filled with a spiced potato mixture.

Masala Dosa

  • Ingredients: Dosa batter, potatoes, onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric, green chilies, and oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Cook diced potatoes until soft.
    2. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, finely chopped onions, and green chilies. Sauté until onions are translucent.
    3. Add cooked potatoes, turmeric, and salt, and mix well.
    4. Prepare dosas on a hot griddle, place a portion of the potato filling inside, and fold.
  • Preparation time: About 1 hour (excluding batter fermentation time).
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar. A dollop of ghee on top enhances the flavor.
  • Storage tips: Best enjoyed fresh. However, the potato filling can be refrigerated for up to 2 days and used as needed. The dosa batter can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

4. Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Curry)

Rajma is a comforting North Indian curry made with red kidney beans and a blend of spices.

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Curry)

  • Ingredients: Kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, chili powder, and oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Soak kidney beans overnight and boil until tender.
    2. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, then add finely chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste. Cook until onions are golden.
    3. Add pureed tomatoes, coriander powder, and chili powder, and cook until oil separates.
    4. Add boiled beans and water, and simmer for a while.
    5. Finish with garam masala and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Preparation time: Around 8-10 hours, including soaking time, and 1-2 hours for cooking.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with rice or roti. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Storage tips: Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Flavors often deepen when reheated.

Explore more vegan options in our post about vegetarian picnic food ideas

5. Aloo Paratha

Aloo Paratha is a filling and flavorful flatbread stuffed with a spiced potato mixture, a staple in many Indian households.

Aloo Paratha

  • Ingredients: Wheat flour, boiled potatoes, green chilies, garam masala, amchur (dry mango powder), coriander leaves, salt, ghee, or butter.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Prepare dough with wheat flour, water, and a pinch of salt.
    2. Mash the boiled potatoes and mix in chopped green chilies, garam masala, amchur, coriander leaves, and salt.
    3. Roll out a portion of the dough, place some potato filling in the center, and seal it by gathering the edges.
    4. Roll it again to flatten and cook on a hot tawa (griddle), applying ghee or butter on both sides until golden brown.
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot with yogurt, pickle, or butter. A side of fresh salad can also complement the dish.
  • Storage tips: Parathas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and reheated on a tawa or in a microwave.

6. Kachori

Kachori is a deep-fried pastry filled with a spicy mixture of lentils or peas, a perfect snack or a light meal.

Kachori

  • Ingredients: All-purpose flour, moong dal (split green gram) or peas, cumin seeds, asafoetida (hing), garam masala, chili powder, and oil.
  • Cooking instructions:
    1. Prepare a stiff dough from flour and water.
    2. Cook soaked moong dal or peas with spices until dry.
    3. Roll out small portions of the dough, fill with the lentil or pea mixture, and seal.
    4. Deep fry in oil until the kachori turns golden and crisp.
  • Preparation time: About 1-2 hours, including dough preparation and frying.
  • Serving suggestion: Kachoris are best served hot with tamarind chutney or green chutney. A side of potato curry can accompany them for a fuller meal.
  • Storage tips: Kachoris can be stored at room temperature for a day. For longer storage, refrigerate and reheat in an oven or on a pan for the best taste.

These vegetarian dishes demonstrate the richness and diversity of Indian cuisine. They are delicious and provide nutritious options for those following a vegetarian diet. Each dish has a unique flavor and texture, making your picnic menu vibrant and satisfying.

Indian drinks and dessert ideas

After enjoying the savory delights of Indian cuisine, it’s time to explore the refreshing beverages and sweet treats that round off a perfect picnic. Indian drinks and desserts are known for their unique flavors and aromas, providing a delightful end to any meal. Here are some traditional options with preparation details to add a sweet and refreshing touch to your picnic.

Drinks

Drinks are a crucial part of any cuisine, offering a range of flavors and experiences that complement the dishes. From the aromatic Masala Chai, a beloved Indian spiced tea, to the refreshing Nimbu Pani, each beverage has its unique appeal.

These drinks not only quench thirst but also provide a glimpse into the rich culinary traditions of India. Whether you are looking for something to warm you up or cool you down, these Indian beverages are sure to enhance your dining experience.

1. Masala Chai

A staple in Indian households, Masala Chai is a spiced tea brewed with a blend of aromatic spices and herbs.

Masala Chai

  • Ingredients: Black tea leaves, milk, water, sugar, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger.
  • Preparation:
    1. Boil water with crushed spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon) and ginger.
    2. Add black tea leaves and simmer for a few minutes.
    3. Add milk and sugar according to taste and bring it to a boil.
    4. Strain and serve hot or chilled.
  • Preparation time: Approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve hot as a morning or evening tea. For a summer twist, chill the chai and serve it over ice.
  • Storage tips: Best enjoyed fresh. However, chai can be stored in the refrigerator for a day and reheated or served chilled.

2. Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi is a creamy, fruity yogurt-based drink, perfect for hot days.

Mango Lassi

  • Ingredients: Ripe mangoes, yogurt, milk, sugar, cardamom, and a pinch of saffron (optional).
  • Preparation:
    1. Peel and chop mangoes.
    2. Blend mangoes with yogurt, milk, sugar, and cardamom until smooth.
    3. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve with a pinch of saffron on top for an extra touch.
  • Preparation time: 10-15 minutes, plus chilling time.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve chilled as a refreshing drink or dessert. Garnish with chopped nuts or mint leaves for added flavor.
  • Storage tips: Store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Stir well before serving, as it may separate over time.

3. Nimbu Pani (Indian Lemonade)

Nimbu Pani is a refreshing Indian lemonade, perfect for quenching thirst on a warm day.

Nimbu Pani (Indian Lemonade)

  • Ingredients: Lemons, sugar, water, black salt, roasted cumin powder, mint leaves.
  • Preparation:
    1. Squeeze fresh lemons to extract the juice.
    2. Mix lemon juice, water, sugar, black salt, and cumin powder in a jug. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
    3. Add ice and garnish with mint leaves. Serve chilled.
  • Preparation time: About 5-10 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Ideal for picnics or outdoor gatherings. Serve in glasses with ice and a sprig of mint for a refreshing touch.
  • Storage tips: Nimbu Pani is best enjoyed fresh. However, the lemon-sugar mixture can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a day. Add water and ice just before serving.

4. Jal Jeera

Jal Jeera is a popular spiced beverage in India, known for its cooling properties and unique flavor.

Jal Jeera drink

  • Ingredients: Cumin seeds, mint leaves, tamarind pulp, black salt, sugar, water, lemon juice, ginger.
  • Preparation:
    1. Roast cumin seeds and grind them into a fine powder.
    2. Blend mint leaves, tamarind pulp, black salt, sugar, and water to make a concentrate.
    3. Mix the concentrate with chilled water, add lemon juice, and grated ginger.
    4. Serve cold with boondi (fried chickpea flour balls) sprinkled on top.
  • Preparation time: About 15-20 minutes.
  • Serving suggestion: Ideal as an appetizer or a refreshing drink on hot days. Can be served in glasses with ice cubes.
  • Storage tips: The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Mix with water and other ingredients just before serving to maintain freshness.

5. Sweet Lassi

Sweet Lassi is a smooth, creamy yogurt-based drink popular for its sweetness and cooling effect.

Sweet Lassi

  • Ingredients: Yogurt, sugar, cardamom powder, rose water, saffron (optional).
  • Preparation:
    1. Blend yogurt with sugar, cardamom powder, and a little water until smooth.
    2. Add rose water for flavor and blend again.
    3. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve with a pinch of saffron for garnish.
  • Preparation time: About 10 minutes, plus chilling time.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve in tall glasses garnished with saffron strands or chopped nuts. It’s perfect as a dessert or a cooling drink during meals.
  • Storage tips: Sweet Lassi is best consumed fresh. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day. Stir well before serving, as it may separate slightly over time.

Look at our TOP 10+1 best picnic drinks

Desserts

Desserts in Indian cuisine are an integral part of celebrations and everyday life, offering a sweet finale to any meal. Each dessert’s unique ingredients and preparation methods tell a story of regional flavors and culinary artistry. So, whether you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth or want to explore the rich tapestry of Indian sweets, these desserts will leave a lasting impression.

1. Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is a classic Indian dessert of fried dough balls soaked in sweet, fragrant syrup.

Gulab Jamun

  • Ingredients: Milk powder, flour, baking powder, ghee, milk, sugar, cardamom, rose water, oil for frying.
  • Preparation:
    1. Mix milk powder, flour, and baking powder. Add ghee and milk to form a dough.
    2. Roll into small balls and deep fry until golden.
    3. Prepare syrup with sugar, water, cardamom, and a splash of rose water.
    4. Soak the fried balls in the syrup for a few hours.
  • Preparation time: About 1 hour, including frying and soaking time.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with silver leaf or chopped nuts for a festive look.
  • Storage tips: Store the syrup in a refrigerated environment for up to 5 days. Reheat gently before serving if desired.

2. Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Description: Kheer is a creamy rice pudding flavored with cardamom and often garnished with nuts.

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

  • Ingredients: Basmati rice, milk, sugar, cardamom, almonds, pistachios, raisins.
  • Preparation:
    1. Wash and soak basmati rice for 30 minutes.
    2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, boil milk. Add drained rice and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally.
    3. Add sugar and cardamom once the rice is cooked and the mixture thickens.
    4. Garnish with chopped almonds, pistachios, and raisins.
  • Preparation time: Approximately 1-2 hours.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve warm or chilled, as preferred. A sprinkle of saffron strands can enhance the flavor and aroma.
  • Storage tips: Kheer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It may thicken when chilled, so adding a little milk when reheating can help regain the desired consistency.

3. Jalebi

Jalebi is a popular Indian dessert consisting of spirals of deep-fried batter soaked in saffron-scented sugar syrup.

Jalebi

  • Ingredients: All-purpose flour, yogurt, baking powder, sugar, saffron, cardamom, oil for frying.
  • Preparation:
    1. Make a batter with flour, yogurt, and baking powder, and let it ferment.
    2. Prepare sugar syrup with water, sugar, saffron, and cardamom.
    3. Pipe the batter in hot oil in spiral shapes and fry until crisp.
    4. Soak the fried spirals in the sugar syrup for a few minutes before serving.
  • Preparation time: About 2-3 hours, including fermentation and frying time.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve warm for the best taste. Jalebi can be garnished with silver leaf or crushed pistachios.
  • Storage tips: Jalebi is best enjoyed fresh. However, it can be stored at room temperature for a day, refrigerated for up to 2 days, and reheated in an oven or microwave before serving.

4. Rasgulla

Description: Rasgulla is a soft, spongy ball of cottage cheese (chenna) soaked in light, sweet syrup.

Rasgulla

  • Ingredients: Milk, lemon juice, sugar, water, cardamom, rose water (optional).
  • Preparation:
    1. Boil milk and curdle it with lemon juice to separate the whey and form chenna (cottage cheese).
    2. Drain the chenna and knead it to make a smooth dough.
    3. Form small balls from the dough.
    4. Prepare syrup with sugar, water, cardamom, and a touch of rose water.
    5. Cook the chenna balls in the syrup until they expand and become spongy.
  • Preparation time: About 2 hours, including making chenna and cooking the rasgullas.
  • Serving suggestion: Serve chilled, garnished with pistachios or saffron strands for a festive presentation.
  • Storage tips: Rasgullas can be stored in their syrup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Avoid freezing, as it may alter the texture.

Opt for more best picnic dessert ideas.

5. Carrot Halwa (Gajar Ka Halwa)

Description: Gajar Ka Halwa is a sweet, rich pudding made from grated carrots, milk, sugar, and nuts.

Carrot Halwa (Gajar Ka Halwa)

  • Ingredients: Carrots, full-fat milk, sugar, ghee, cardamom powder, almonds, and raisins.
  • Preparation:
    1. Grate carrots and cook them in a pan with milk until fully absorbed.
    2. Add ghee, sugar, and cardamom powder, and cook until the mixture thickens.
    3. Garnish with chopped almonds and raisins.
  • Preparation time: About 1 to 1.5 hours, including cooking and thickening the mixture.
  • Serving suggestion: Best served warm but also delicious when chilled. Ideal as a dessert after meals or a sweet treat at any time of the day.
  • Storage tips: Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Gently reheat in a microwave or on the stove before serving if desired.

These additional drinks and desserts further showcase the diversity and richness of Indian cuisine. Each drink offers unique flavors, from the tangy and spicy Jaljeera to the sweet and creamy Lassi, while the desserts range from the syrupy Rasgulla to the warm and comforting Gajar Ka Halwa. Including these in your picnic will provide a refreshing and sweet conclusion to your meal and introduce your guests to the wide array of flavors found in Indian culinary traditions.

Choosing Indian cuisine for your picnic? Elevate the experience with a Luxury Boho-style picnic setup from Picnic Makers. Whether in your backyard, a park, or by the beach, our team specializes in creating stunning, relaxed Bohemian settings that perfectly complement the vibrant flavors and colors of Indian dishes. Immerse yourself in a luxurious, artistically curated picnic environment, where every detail, from plush cushions to elegant decor, enhances your outdoor dining.

Check these best picnic food ideas for your next outrood gathering.

In summary, Indian cuisine is a vibrant and diverse option for picnics, offering a range of flavors to suit various tastes and dietary needs. Its blend of spices and ingredients creates an enjoyable and visually appealing dining experience.

Proper planning for storage and transportation of food enhances the picnic experience. Indian food, with its vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, provides an inclusive and delightful exploration of rich culinary traditions suitable for any outdoor gathering.

FAQs

How do I balance flavors in an Indian picnic menu?

To balance flavors, include spicy, tangy, sweet, and savory items. Pair rich curries with mild bread or rice, and balance heavy dishes with light salads or yogurt-based drinks.

What are some essential utensils and accessories for an Indian picnic?

Essential utensils include portable grills for dishes like tandoori, insulated containers for hot foods, coolers for cold items, spill-proof containers for sauces, and disposable plates and cutlery for convenience.

Can Indian picnic foods be tailored to specific dietary needs?

Absolutely! Many Indian dishes can be adapted for gluten-free, vegan, or nut-free diets. Use gluten-free flour and dairy alternatives, and skip nuts or specific allergens as needed.

How long can Indian picnic foods be safely stored?

Most cooked Indian dishes can be safely stored in a refrigerator for 1-2 days. For picnics, use insulated containers to keep foods at safe temperatures, and avoid leaving perishable items out for more than 2 hours.

What are some tips for serving Indian food at a picnic?

Serve hot dishes like curries in insulated containers. Cold dishes like salads and desserts can be kept in a cooler. Use serving utensils to avoid contamination, and provide various options to cater to different tastes.

Are there any quick-to-prepare Indian dishes suitable for picnics?

Quick dishes include sandwiches with Indian fillings, pre-made savory snacks like chivda, or simple salads like kachumber (cucumber, tomato, and onion salad).

What’s the best way to introduce Indian cuisine to someone who’s never tried it?

Start with universally appealing dishes like samosas, tandoori chicken, or biryani, which offer familiar flavors in a new context.

Olga and Vlad Picnic Makers

Vlad and Olga

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