Strong flavors blended with spicy, sweet, smokey, and savory, Indian food has a complex taste with endless spices. No wonder it is a favorite cuisine for many.
There are a variety of spice ingredients to choose from, with each having a distinct flavor including cumin, tamarind, pepper, turmeric, and garam masala. As a result, each Indian dish is treated differently when it comes to food and drink pairings.
What to eat with Indian food? In order to enjoy Indian food, choose the main dishes and then pair vegetables, sides, and beverages to serve alongside.
Traditionally, Indian meals consist of a main dish, rice or flatbread and dal, and lentil stew. The main entree includes meat, chicken, seafood, or vegetables.
Indian curry pairs wonderfully with flatbread, rice, samosas, chutney, simple salad, and Syrah.
Tandoori chicken and tikka masala taste good with salad, dips, green chutney, yogurt, and Riesling.
Flavorful, rich and primarily spicy, some people find the flavors in Indian food to be pretty overpowering. Depending on the dish, adding different vegetables or contrasting flavors such as drinks with Indian food goes a long way.
But what specific dishes should be paired with Indian food? Well, let’s find out!
What should I serve with Indian dinner?
Indian dinner has a variety of options that can be shared among the table. When pairing, it is important to maximize the complex flavors by recognizing the strongest flavored entrees.
Not only beverage and side dishes, here are classic food to serve during an Indian dinner:
- Appetizer: samosas, chicken tikka kebab, mint cilantro chutney
- Drinks: shikanji nimbu pani, cider, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay
- Main entree: rajma, palak paneer, chicken tikka masala
- Rice dish: jeera rice, pilaf
- Bread: naan, flatbread
- Dessert: kheer, gulab jamun
What do you serve with curry?
Most popular and beloved dish, curry is aromatic, soul-warming and the perfect evening dish for any season. But what should this bundle of joy be served with?
Here are classic sides to serve with Indian curry:
- Flatbread or Naan: Nothing compares to mopping a delicious curry with soft, delightful flatbread or naan. The bread is typically flavored or plain, making a perfect accompaniment for different curries to soak up any sauce left on the plate.
- Salads: Kachumber is the most common Indian style salad served with curry. It consist of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion and garnished with lemon juice and sprinkled with red pepper flakes that blend well with curries.
- Rice: Curry and rice are inseparable. Just like flatbread, rice can be flavored or served plain as well. Several spiced rice preparations are easy and delicious to pair with curry, including pulav, jeera, chitranna and ghee.
- Chutney: Traditionally, chutney is derived from anything, from a dahi to coconut dip. Recently, they have included tart fruit sauces that are perfect with curry as the acidity cuts through the fattiness.
- Samosas: Known as a starter for any Indian meal. Samosas are a crunchy fried or baked savory pastry with filling that includes potatoes, onions, peas, and lentils. If serving meat-based curry, consider vegan or vegetarian samosas.
Top 20 Indian dishes
Indian cuisine is a blend of spice and sweetness, making the combination irresistible. Other than curry, if you are looking for popular Indian dishes to explore, here are some top twenty mouthwatering Indian dishes to try:
- daab chingri
- makki roti
- itachi ishtu
- aloo Gobi
- gajar halwa
- tandoori chicken
- palak paneer
- malai kofta
- masor Tenga
- rogan Josh
- litti Chokha
- pork with dried bamboo strips
Vegetable Indian side dishes
For those who love an assortment of vegetable, there plenty of veggie side dishes to choose from. Because of the heavy use of sauce and spices, it’s also a great way to make use of the veggies that have been sitting in the refrigerator idle for a long time.
Chop up some spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli, then season with spices before serving. The flavor of these veggies compliments the taste of Indian cuisine.
Here are delicious Indian vegetable side dishes to complement a main course:
- sautéed green beans with coconut
- Indian spiced potatoes
- roasted cauliflower with turmeric
- aloo gobi matar
- celeriac bhaji
- creamed spinach
- baked cabbage
What flavor goes well with Indian food?
Indian food usually has intense flavors and is primarily sweet, smokey, spicy and savory. These flavors are derived from the thoughtful combination of herbs and spices.
For instance, turmeric, when added to Indian food, gives a rich earthy flavor. On the other hand, cardamom lends the dish some citrusy smell with mild eucalyptus notes.
Not forgetting, the powerhouse, black pepper which gives the dish that extra kick. Don’t forget to add parsley to garnish the dish and give it an earthy herbaceous flavor.
Here are classic flavor combination that goes well with Indian food:
- basmati rice + garam masala + butter + cinnamon + peas
- chicken + naan + heavy cream
- curry powder + lemon + cream + tomato paste + chicken
- potatoes + green peas + fennel + garam masala + ginger
- cottage cheese + palak + cream + garam masala + butter
Eat with Indian Cuisine: Conclusion
Indian cuisine is complex in flavor, and require lots of different spices and cooking time. Therefore, the cuisine is not something that can be quickly whipped up with little effort and food pairings become slightly challenging.
Look for spices and ingredients to pair with the right vegetables side dishes, entrees and beverages.
Indian dinners are typically prepared with a main entree, rice, or flatbread and naan served to dip in the stew or soup. From vegetarian to meat-lovers, there are dishes with various meats like beef, pork, chicken, and seafood or vegetables used to complement the unique flavor.
Indian curry is popular among southeast Asia and can be served with naan, side of salad, kachumber or cucumber salad, rice pilaf, chutney, and samosas for appetizer.
With the right food and drink pairing, Indian dinners have a wide range of options to make the meal wholesome.
Whether you are looking to explore popular Indian dishes or vegetarian side dish to pair with your favorite entrees, be sure to try the foods in our top twenty list for an unbeatable culinary experience.