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A dish is a prepared food item which is made up of a single or a number of ingredients. The dish is served as a part of a course for eating. Chocolate cake, egg noodles, cheese pasta, pilaf, and fried rice are all dishes. A dish may be served as a main course, an accompaniment (commonly called side dish), a snack, or a dessert. A dish is prepared by following the recipe for it which is a set of instructions, given in a methodical manner along with specifications of the ingredients required, their quantities, their order of usage and the method of preparation.
Dishes are an integral part of all cuisines in which they are made in their own cuisine specific ways with cuisine specific ingredients and methods of cooking; and they are named based on different criteria. For example, some dishes are named on the main ingredient that is used for preparing them, while another is named after its inventor, while another is named after the cuisine in which it originated. Chicken Casserole, Ceaser Salad, and Buffalo wings are examples of the previous statements.

Basic Types of Dishes Based on Course
A dish is basically served for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.

  • Breakfast- This course which was once considered as optional, is gaining tremendous importance in the present times and most of the cuisines across the world are trying to incorporate healthy food preparation in this course. A number of cereal dishes are being consumed these days for breakfast today along with the conventional bread and eggs because they are substantial and healthy. Pancakes, waffles and muffins are other popular breakfast dishes. Huevos rancheros, huevos motuleños and gallo pinto, are popular egg dishes of Central America. Blini and Buckwheat Kasha are popular Russian breakfast dishes. The Indian Khichri, Idli and Aloo Paratha; the Chinese rice dishes, the Japanese asa-gohan are all popular breakfast dishes.

  • Lunch – This course, being the main meal, usually comprises as number of main and accompaniment dishes. In most of the Asian cuisine, rice or noodle dishes are served as main courses along with a number of vegan, vegetarian or meat dishes as accompaniments. The western cuisine has more of pasta or breads for lunch. Soups and other entrees are served as common appetizer dishes. Salads and condiments (like dips or sauces, or solid accompaniments) are served along with the main course items. Macaroni cooked with seafood, eggplant and parmesan, pork or vegetables makes a good dish for lunch.

  • Dinner – though etymologically regarded as the largest meal of the day to be eaten during noon, it is consumed as the last meal of the day and depending upon individual preferences it can be a heavy or a light meal. The pattern of courses served is almost the same as lunch, where appetizers are followed by main and side course dishes. A dessert dish is served at the end of the dinner, and dinner differs from lunch in this very important aspect. Dinner casseroles, pilafs, and lasgna made with meat, vegetables, fish, egg or seafood with herb and spice seasonings are usually a favorite of one and all across the world. The Asians prefer to have noodles or rice dishes along with an array of Asian breads for dinner. The Filipino cake Bibingka, the Canadian Nanaimo bars, the Persian Faloodah (rosewater ice), the citrus and currant British cakes called Eccles cakes, are some popular dessert dishes of the world.

Popular Types of Dishes Based on Interest
A dish may belong to any of the categories mentioned below:

  • Healthy – Dishes belonging to this category are specially prepared from the point of view of the health perspective. A number of Gluten free, high fiber, low carb, low sodium, low fat, sugar-free foods constitute foods of this group along with a number of other healthy foods.

  • Festive- A dish belonging to this category is specially prepared for festivals and special occasions. The American Thanksgiving Turkey, the German Christmas Stollen, the Jewish Challah, and the Indian Diwali Laddu are all festive dishes that are loved by one and all.

  • Gourmet – A dish which belongs to this category is, as the name implies, suited for consumers of refined taste. The dish is made of ingredients which are superior in quality which relates to its taste, texture, nutritional worth, appearance, feel, rarity, uniqueness and technique of cooking. Each and every cuisine has its own gourmet dish. Gourmet Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cedar Planked Salmon, Gourmet Tom Young Koong Soup, Gourmet Roasted Turkey Leg, are all popular dishes belonging to the category of Gourmet dishes.

  • Quick and Easy – A dish belonging to this category is cooked in a very convenient way in a short duration of time. The dish is suited for preparation by people with a lifestyle in which a lot of time cannot be spared for cooking. Quick and easy casserole dishes, shrimp salad, spinach salad and grilled cheese sandwich are some of the most conveniently prepared dishes.