How to Reheat Indian Food

Indian cuisine is well known for its array of spices and fragrant dishes, which is why Indian takeaway is so popular in the western world! From a simple chicken korma to crunchy vegetable samosas, there is an Indian dish for everyone. 

It can be hard to recreate the freshness of good Indian food as it is a cuisine best served as soon as it is made. But there are ways you can reheat a range of Indian dishes without losing any of the original flavours. But how?

To reheat Indian food, you first need to consider what it is you are reheating. For example, rice can be reheated in the microwave, curries can be warmed through on the stovetop and samosas can be reheated in the oven.

How To Reheat Indian Food

India is full of rich cuisine, with each dish being made uniquely. It does not make much sense to shove your Indian leftover in the microwave and hope it tastes good. 

There are a few methods you can use to reheat Indian food depending on what type of dish you are reheating and how much of that dish you want to reheat at one time: 

How To Reheat Indian Rice In The Microwave

Some people avoid reheating rice altogether because of how bacteria-prone rice can be. However, there should be no problem so long as you can get the rice hot enough when reheated. The best way to make sure of this is to use a microwave: 

  1. Add Some Extra Water 
    Takeaway rice is quick to dry out if not eaten straight away, so add moisture by adding 1 tablespoon of water to the container you plan to reheat the rice in. Spread the water evenly to avoid soggy rice. 
  2. Avoid Clumpy Rice
    Using a fork, gently break rice that has stuck together, and even out the rice in the reheatable container. 
  3. Use Wet Paper Towel 
    Damp a paper towel or kitchen towel slightly and lay it across the bottom of your microwave. This will create extra moisture when the rice is reheated for the ultimate fluffy rice. 
  4. Reheat 
    Place your rice on top of the damp towel and microwave for 4 minutes, pausing to stir the rice halfway through to prevent it from clumping together. 
Indian Pilau Rice With Vegetables
Is It Safe to Reheat Rice?

Yes, it is safe to reheat rice. There is a misconception that reheating rice is dangerous, but this is not the case because it has not been left out at room temperature for extended periods.

How To Reheat Samosas In The Oven 

Samosas are a great treat that is a must-have on any Indian menu, but they tend to go damp and limp if not eaten in a few hours. To regain their crisp quality, reheat them in an oven: 

  1. Preheat the Oven 
    Your oven will need to be set and heated to 180C (350F) before you can reheat your samosas. If you put your samosas in the oven to heat up before the oven is hot enough, they will remain soggy. 
  2. Arrange Samosas
    Using a wired rack (or a lined baking tray, but a wired rack works best), arrange your samosas so that there is plenty of room between each samosa and none are touching.
  3. Reheat
    Heat the samosas for around 10 minutes or until golden brown for the perfect crispy texture. If you are reheating frozen samosas, cook for up to 20 minutes. 
Crispy Indian Samosas

How To Reheat Indian Curry Dishes On The Stove Top

Indian curry dishes are the most likely to change texture when stored in the fridge, so you will need to put a little extra effort into achieving the same creamy curry consistency when reheating your leftovers: 

  1. Pour Into a Saucepan 
    Using a saucepan that is big enough to fit your curry in, empty in all of your curry. Don’t use an overly big or small saucepan as the curry will not heat up properly. 
  2. Heat Up 
    On a medium heat, allow the curry to warm up for around 5 minutes, occasionally stirring until the curry is steaming hot. Any cooler and any potential bacteria will not be killed. 
  3. Adjust Thickness
    Depending on how you like your curry, you may need to add a little water to thin out the curry as it reheats. Some dishes will become a little thicker, so they will need that extra moisture to become nice and smooth again. 

How to Reheat Indian Food Successfully

No matter your favourite Indian dish, there is at least 1 method you can follow to enjoy the unique blend of herbs and spices several days later. Follow the tips below to ensure that you can successfully reheat Indian food every time:  

  • Cut Up Meat and Large Vegetables – It does not matter as much with vegetable-based dishes, but you must ensure that meat-based Indian food is properly heated to remove any potential bacteria. Try cutting up bigger chunks of meat and vegetables for a quicker and more effective reheat. 
  • Account for Dish Size – Reheating times will vary with the size of the dish you are reheating. Reduce the reheating times above for smaller dish sizes to prevent the food from drying out and longer for larger dishes to ensure that the whole serving is thoroughly heated. 

Is It Safe to Reheat Indian Food?

Indian food is safe to reheat, provided the leftovers have been correctly stored in the fridge and are a maximum of 4 days old. 

For meat-based Indian dishes, do not reheat if they are older than 3 days old. Likewise, avoid reheating rice that is more than 3 days old.

Reheating Indian Food FAQs

Below are a few further questions about reheating different Indian food that might be helpful:

How Do You Reheat Onion Bhajis?

Yes! Onion bhajis can be reheated but they can become soggy. Therefore, the best option for reheating them is under a hot grill to try and retain some of the texture.

How Do You Reheat Chicken Tikka?

Chicken tikka can be reheated in the oven. Place it into an oven-safe dish, cover with foil and then heat for 15 minutes or so until hot through.

Can You Reheat Indian Food in Foil Containers?

Indian food from your local takeaway will often come in those iconic foil trays… But these are not good for reheating food. Instead, tip them out and into oven-safe or microwave-safe dishes.

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