30 Indian Pantry Recipes for Emergencies

Here I am sharing 30 (15 breakfast/snack + 15 Meal) pantry staple Indian recipes for self-isolation or home quarantine. Plus, I am sharing serving suggestions and substitutions whenever needed. 

Also, sharing a shopping list (actually most Indian pantries are stocked with most of the ingredients listed there, but just take a look in case if you need to buy).

Many people are looking for pantry staple recipes right now, mostly due to current situation, or possible shortage in the food supply. Whether this situation gets to that level or not, it is good to have a list of such recipes. This kind of list is also helpful in times when you don’t have time to do grocery shopping for a week or so.

Please note, if you don’t have some ingredients, don’t worry. Be creative. Sometimes you can skip that or substitute that ingredient. 

What ingredients are required for Indian pantry recipes?

  • Lentils, beans, rice, flour (chapati atta & other basic flours like besan, semolina, rice flour)
  • Of course basic Indian spices (every Indian household has their masala Dabba).
  • Salt, oil, ghee, sugar
  • Fresh items that can be stored for longer (potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies, lemon or lime)
  • Frozen items (frozen mixed veggies, frozen peas, paneer, frozen coconut)
  • You can easily skip the cilantro (coriander leaves) wherever a recipe calls for it. It is mainly used as garnishing, so you are not compromising a huge flavor.

>> Download the complete Grocery list <<

Before we jump on the recipes, let me give you the list of basic recipes. It serves as a side to complete the meal.

Indian Pantry Recipes: Breakfast/Snacks:

1) Batata poha: Most Indians will have poha in the pantry and potatoes have a long shelf life. You can quickly make this in just 15-20 minutes. Other variations are kanda batata poha, poha upma.

Batata poha served in a plate with a spoon with side of sev.

2) Chana sundal: this makes a healthy, filling breakfast. This is a mild South Indian style chickpea salad seasoned with coconut. Other variations: rajma sundal, kala chana sundal

Chickpea sundal in 2 black bowls.

3) Rava upma: This one is again most Indian’s favorite and it’s made from semolina, onion, and few spices. If you have quinoa or oats on hand, you can make quinoa upma, oats upma

Upma Recipe (South Indian Rava Upma)

4) Dal vada: A fried fritters are made from split green moong dal. Served with sliced onions. Trust me you won’t miss the fresh ingredients here.

Dal Vada Recipe (Gujarati Moong Dalwada)

5) Rava dosa: Another south Indian recipe that is made from semolina. A thin, crispy dosa tastes too good when served with coconut chutney. If you do not have fresh frozen coconut, you can make this with dried, desiccated coconut as well.

Rava dosa (Instant dosa recipe)

6) Medu vada: to make this you’ll need just urad dal and few seasoning ingredients. Again goes well with coconut chutney or onion sambar. To make onion sambar, I have used shallots, but you can simply use chopped or sliced regular onions.

Medu vada in a bowl lined with parchment paper with sambar and chuteny in the back.

7) Dal paratha – A paratha dough is made using the leftover dal (lentils). Makes the perfect breakfast when served with a pickle or just a cup of tea/coffee.

Dal paratha recipe (How to make dal paratha recipe), Leftover dal paratha

8) Besan cheela: Yet another easy and quick recipe. It is made from besan (chickpea flour). In the recipe I have used fresh veggies, you can skip and make the plain cheela. Or just use onions and green chilies. Also, you can skip the yogurt in the recipe if you don’t have on hand. Serve with ketchup.

2 besan chilla on the plate with green chutney and ketchup on the side.

9) Dhokla: A Gujarati delicacy where a batter is made from soaked rice and split urad dal. Then it is fermented and steamed at the time of serving. Serve with just a cup of tea/coffee or chutney/ketchup.

Khatta Dhokla Recipe | Gujarati white dhokla | Dhokla Recipe

10) Idli (freezer-friendly) : Same as above made from urad dal and rice. But the proportions are different so both taste different. This can be served with coconut chutney or onion sambar. With the same batter you can make dosa, uttapam. So make big batch and freeze.

5 idli served with chutney in an oval plate.

11) Khichu: This is easy to make a traditional Gujarati snack recipe. This is the QUICKEST snack that you have ever made. It is nothing but the cooked rice flour dough with few spices.

Khichu recipe | how to make Gujarati rice khichu recipe

12) Sooji toast: Assuming you have stocked up on bread. Here you can skip the tomatoes and substitute the yogurt with water+lemon juice. It will be perfectly fine.  

Sooji toast recipe (Rava toast), How to make sooji toast recipe

13) Aloo paratha: This makes such a filling meal/brunch. Usually served with yogurt. But it can be enjoyed with pickle or a simple cup of tea/coffee or on its own. 

Aloo paratha recipe (How to make punjabi aloo paratha)

14) Mathri: This is a dry snack that you can make store in airtight container for weeks.

Mathri recipe | How to make mathri | Punjabi mathri recipe

15) Khandvi: Another gujarati snack made from besan. Insteaf of yogurt, just use water and some lemon or line juice. 

Khandvi recipe (How to make khandvi), Gujarati khandvi

Pantry Staple Indian Lunch/dinner:

1) Dal dhokli (freezer-friendly): traditional Gujarati meal is so comforting, healthy and filling. Serve with plain steamed rice. You can make big batch and freeze for later.

Dal dhokli recipe | How to make dal dhokli, Gujarati dal dhokli

2) Sookhi moong dal: This simple dry lentil dish is usually served with kadhi and rice. But in such cases, it tastes good and filling with a phulka roti. Another variation is sookha kala chana

Sookhi Moong Dal Recipe (Dry Moong Dal)

3) Ven pongal: South Indian dish made from yellow moong dal and rice. Served with coconut chutney and sambar. You see, coconut chutney is used as a side dish for many different recipes. I would make a big batch and freeze in small portions.

Ven Pongal Recipe (Khara Pongal)

4) Gujarati khichdi: cozy, comforting and healthy meal. Serve with a side of papad. Other variations of khichdi: vegetable khichdi (use frozen onion tomato masala+frozen veggies), moong dal khichdi, masala khichdi (use frozen masala), oats khichdi, etc.

Gujarati khichdi served in a plate, topped with ghee.

5) Peas pulao: I think we all have a bag of frozen peas in our freezer. So this pulao recipe will be handy. Usually served with raita. But can be paired with simple dal fry or dal tadka. If you have frozen corn, go for sweet corn pulao. If you have frozen veggies, go for instant pot veg pulao.

Close up of peas pulao in an oval white bowl.

6) Tamarind rice or lemon rice: simple, tangy rice flavored with tamarind or lemon. I keep readymade tamarind paste in the fridge which helps in many south Indian dishes like sambar, chutney. 

Tamarind rice recipe - Imli rice - South Indian Pulliodarai

7) Gujarati dal (freezer-friendly): Simple, comforting lentil soup, best served with rice. It can be served with roti or paratha. You can skip the tomatoes in the recipe.

A bowl of gujarati dal with side of papad & rice with napkin and spoons on the side with few cilantro & curry leaves

8) Chawli curry (freezer-friendly): quick, healthy black-eyed peas curry. Best served with roti or paratha.

Black eyed peas curry recipe | Gujarati chawli curry | Lobia recipe

9) Potato curry: easy to make and simple Gujarati style gravy made with potatoes. Serve with paratha or rice.

Rasawala batata nu shaak | Rasawala aloo | Gujarati potato subzi

10) Aloo chana: Adjust the recipe and use frozen onion tomato masala to make the gravy. Best served with puri or paratha. 

Close up of aloo chana in a black bowl with sliced onions and lemon wedge.

11) Instant pot Matar paneer: have frozen paneer, peas and onion tomato masala? Make this yummy, festive dish and serve with paratha or naan.

Instant Pot Matar Paneer Masala Recipe (10 Minutes Mutter Paneer in IP)

12) Masala dosa: Very filling meal when served with onion sambar and coconut chutney.

Masala dosa recipe (how to make masala dosa with potato masala)

13) Dal bati: A traditional Rajasthani dish. For the panchmel dal you can skip tomatoes or use frozen onion tomato masala, and instead of mix dals, use whatever dals available in your pantry.

Dal Bati Recipe (How to make Rajasthani Dal Baati Recipe with Churma)

14) Paneer paratha: Stuffed parathas served as a breakfast as well as lunch or dinner. Simple, easy and doesn’t require any fresh ingredients. You can skip the cilantro

Paneer paratha cut open to show the stuffing.

15) Bedmi aloo w/ bedmi puri: boiled potato curry served with urad dal puri makes a complete meal. Other variations are poori bhaji and poori masala.

Bedmi Aloo Recipe (Bedmi Puri with Aloo ki Sabzi)

I hope you give this Indian pantry staple recipes a try and enjoy! Have some fun in the kitchen to take your mind off things, and stay safe everyone!

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  1. Hi! I’m vegan (animal rights activist) and love Gujarati food, so I’m a big fan of your recipes! I hope you’re holding up well under the current situation. Personally, I’m wondering how to get green chillies:
    – How to get green chillies, now that many stores are closed (I’m in the Bay Area, which is under Shelter-In-Place)
    – How to store green chillies so that they last longer
    – Are there any alternatives, if we run out of green chillies?
    Thanks so much!

    1. In most of the recipes you can skip the green chilies.
      You can increase the amount of red chili powder little bit in the recipe or add red chili flakes.
      If you buy the big batch of green chilies, then remove the stem (not using knife, just snip off using your hands)
      Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. It stays longer.
      Or you can make green chili paste (by grinding it coarsely) along with little bit of salt and turmeric powder. Then store in the refrigerator. It stays even longer