We’ve got to the weekend, and it’s curry night. While you may have something spicy bubbling away on the hob, you might be stuck wondering what to serve with chicken curry. Well, we’ve got all the answers. By the time you’ve finished cooking our suggestions, the smells wafting from your kitchen will have the neighbors knocking on the door asking for dinner! Most are pretty traditional too and are really easy to make. Read on to find out more.
Chicken Curry Side Dishes
Ever heard of daal before? If not, no big deal, it’s straight out of our Indian recipes playbook. Daal is the Punjabi name for red split lentils. It has also been described as the ‘fuel of India’. While originally classed as rustic peasant food, it has made its way to all corners of the globe as a firm favorite. One taste, and you’ll know why. As daal cooks, it softens and breaks down into a sort of thick Indian spiced soup with a little texture. It is delicately spiced, so you won’t be blown away by the heat.
If you want to make this dish all authentic, don’t forget to include a Tarka. What’s a Tarka? Essentially it is a few spoonfuls of butter, heavily seasoned with toasted cumin seeds, golden garlic, and a little Kashmiri chili. This one is filling and supremely tasty. Save some for a cold winter night.
2. Naan Bread
Fluffy, pillowy naan bread is absolutely perfect for dunking into a delicious curry sauce. Some people use yeast, and some use baking powder. We find yeast gives a better flavor and more rise. The downside is that it takes a little longer to prepare. You can oven bake naan bread, but we find the best way to get those signature brown dots is to fry the flattened pieces of bread in a red hot skillet.
You can add a few other ingredients to spice your naan bread up. Try adding a few jeera seeds or chopped chillis to the dough before cooking for a slightly different taste.
3. White Rice
Sometimes you want to keep it simple. White rice is very easy to cook and surprisingly filling. If you want perfect fluffy rice every single time, pay attention to this tip. Start the rice off in cold water. As soon as it boils, turn it down to its lowest setting and keep the lid on. Cook until you see little pits appear on the top of the rice, then cool slightly before fluffing it up.
If you’d prefer something slightly more colorful, then put a couple of spoonfuls of rice aside and mix with red and green food dye before adding back to the pan. This is how Indian takeaways do it.
Roti is a little like the naan bread’s depressed cousin. It doesn’t rise and is pretty flat. The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t have to mess about with yeast and waiting for it to work. You can whip a batch up of dough in under 10 minutes. It contains little else aside from flour and water. The best way to cook roti is to flash fry them on either side for no more than a minute. These are great to freeze after cooking. We love to use them as an alternative for bread when making sandwiches..
5. Aloo Paratha
Ok, let’s be honest. Paratha can be a little bit faffy but the extra effort is well worth it. They are made using a dough that is formed using baking powder and yogurt. You incorporate chilled butter into the dough just before baking which creates a really nice flaky effect. Consider them a cross between a naan bread and a dough ball, and you’ll have roughly the right idea.
One great thing we love about this recipe is that you get extra points for presentation if your parathas are really messy. The uglier, the better. All of those buttery folds make for a chewy bread that is a great side dish for chicken curry.
6. Bombay Aloo
For those of you not familiar with Hindi, ‘aloo’ means potato. Bombay… Well, that’s where this dish originated from. Suppose we were going to describe it to someone who’d never tried Indian food before. In that case, we’d probably say it’s like patatas bravas, with Indian spices. Essentially this dish is roasted and crispy potatoes combined with a rich tomato sauce laden with curry spices.
This one can be a little heavy and can fill you up easily, so don’t waste curry by overloading your plate. A medium-sized portion goes a very long way.
Samosas are an absolute joy. If you want to save time, there are store-bought versions available. Yeah right! Where’s the fun in that. If you want to make these in the authentic Indian style, you are supposed to use a roti. If you haven’t made roti, just mix flour and water into a basic dough. Here’s a top tip, if you are making them, be sure to deep fry them. Otherwise, they turn all dry and brittle. How you fill them is entirely up to you. Our favorite filling is keema, a mix of spicy ground lamb and peas. You could also fill them with potatoes and cumin seeds.
If you’ve never eaten a poppadom, you are missing out! If you aren’t familiar, poppadoms are small round discs of compressed gram flour. When they are deep-fried, they puff out and become really crispy. They are great for dipping into Indian sauces and curries. We love serving these piled high in a huge stack in the middle of the table that everyone can dig into!
In Pakistan, the traditional method of serving poppadoms is to break them up into tiny shards to add texture to the top of curries. Us, we’d prefer just to give them a dip into a chutney or two! If you want to keep a few aside, save them and have masala papad, a traditional Indian lunchtime snack.
One thing that foes super well with both curry and poppadoms is a nice chutney. The most traditional you’ll see throughout the Indian subcontinent is mango chutney. You can easily make this by combining sugar, a little water, and ripe mango in a pan. Add a few cumin seeds and a finely chopped chili. Then gently heating until the water evaporates and the sugar dissolves. Allow it to thicken, and then let it cool before serving in tiny bowls. It’s sickeningly sweet, and we love it!
10. Mint Sauce
No, this isn’t what you’d serve with roast lamb. When we talk about the mint sauce as a side dish for chicken curry, we mean raita. This is a mixture of yogurt, garlic, and mint. This one is great as dairy really helps to cool down a hot curry. Here’s a top tip if you are going to make it yourself at home. Use store-bought mint sauce instead of fresh mint. Yes, it’s a cheat, yes it tastes better, yes, you are welcome.
11. Cucumber Salad
Different types of curry vary in their level of richness. Chicken curry can be pretty filling, so perhaps you want to go for something light. Cucumber salad takes minutes to prepare and won’t leave you too full to enjoy your madras!
Cucumber is a great candidate for pickling. We slice a cucumber using a peeler and then give it a little bath in a splash of white wine vinegar along with a little pinch of sugar. The end result is fresh and vibrant. It also looks pretty swish when piled on a plate next to a chicken curry.
12. Mango Lassi
This has nothing to do with a dog. Lassi is a popular drink in India that is made from fruit and yogurt. If you tend to suffer from indigestion after eating spicy food, this is great for helping to settle your stomach. If you are worried about it tasting too sweet, there is actually very little sugar in a lassi. It isn’t strictly a dessert either.
You’ll tend to find lassi’s in various flavors, the most popular of which is mango. If you’ve got many mangoes that are about to go ‘too ripe’, why not make a batch of mango chutney and a nice mango lassi simultaneously?
Pakoda means ‘fried’ in Hindi. This should give you a clue about what this recipe is all about. Pakoda (also spelled pakora) are tiny fritters made with chickpea flour, spices, and other elements. You can have chicken pakoda or vegetable pakoda. For a really delicious treat, our favorite is mushroom pakora.
The mushrooms cook really quickly, and they keep the fritters nice and juicy. If you want o spice it up a bit, feel free to add a little chili powder along with some cumin seeds and a pinch of garam masala. While you can bake pakodas in the oven, our favorite method is to deep fry them
14. Onion Bhajis
No Indian dish (such as chicken curry) is complete without a few onion bhajis served alongside. Onion bhajis are deep-fried dumplings of sliced onions surrounded by a rough chickpea batter. The key to making them taste authentic is to add plenty of cumin. The thinner you slice the onions, the quicker your bhajis will cook.
Here’s our top tip of the day. Deep fry your bhajis, and once you have finished, don’t throw away the oil! This seasoned oil is great to use when you cook your next batch of curry and gives any dish containing onions a real depth of flavor.
15. Beetroot Salad
If you will spill something brightly colored down the front of your shirt, why stop at chicken curry? Beetroot is bright red, sweet, and delicious. Making this dish couldn’t be simpler. Skin and finely chop the beetroot into rough chunks. Combine with a handful of peppery rocket a few sliced red onions and lashings of oil before serving alongside your curry.
16. Cauliflower Rice
We all know that curry isn’t exactly diet food, but there are ways to make your dinner a little healthier. Here’s a great example. Cauliflower rice has about 10% of the calories of normal rice. After you’ve cooked it, we guarantee that you’ll be a lifelong convert. To make it, simply give a head of cauliflower a quick pulse in a blender, then fry it in a dry pan with a pinch of salt and pepper until it softens and sizzles. Serve and eat as you would regular rice.
17. Coconut Rice
Coconut rice can be a welcome change if you’ve had enough of boring old white rice. The good news is that you only need to add a couple of extra ingredients to your usual to transform it into something special.
In this instance, we like to add a tablespoon of coconut cream, a small pinch of sugar, and a tablespoon of desiccated coconut to the rice, before getting it on the boil. See? Easy!
In the same vein as coconut rice, this is another variation that is zesty and fresh. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the zest of an entire lemon before cooking your rice. The flavor is really delicate and far from overwhelming, allowing your curry to shine through.
19. A Cool Glass of Milk
Been a bit ambitious with the chili? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. There is a solution. Why not serve your extremely spicy curry with a glass of cool milk. Milk contains fat that binds to the chemicals in chili. This works to carry them away, cooling your mouth. Go on, have a second glass. We don’t blame you.
If you asked us what to serve with chicken curry, we’d be hard-pressed to pick our favorite from the above list. Try and stay with the theme and pick something vaguely Indian in nature. If you like a few, why not make smaller dishes with several of the above? Indian tapas? Yum!