17 Best Indian Side Dishes

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Indian food is packed with color, spices, and flavor. Chutneys, Curries, and dals are all part of Indian cuisine and come standard with a laundry list of spices.

Some of the most common spices used in Indian dishes include chili peppers, cumin, cinnamon, mustard seeds, turmeric, and fennel. But many others can come into play.

The cuisine differs between north and south India. No matter what Indian-style dish you decide to make, you’re going to need a killer side dish to go with it.


17 Best Indian Side Dishes

Here you’ll find a list of amazing side dishes to pair with Indian cuisine, as well as a recipe so you can make it yourself!

1. Naan Bread

Naan bread is a popular Indian side dish that is typically served with Curry. The bread is used to mop up the leftover sauce if there is any.

Naan bread is different than pita because it is made with yogurt, giving it a different texture and slightly different taste. You can find an easy recipe here.

2. Bombay Potatoes

Easy to make and full of flavor, Bombay potatoes pair with curry dishes. They are made with black mustard seeds, oil, turmeric, and curry paste.

Bombay potatoes are also known as Bombay Aloo. They’re best made with Charlotte or Yukon Gold potatoes. Try this recipe for delicious at-home Bombay Potatoes.

3. Achaar

Achaar is a broad term for a number of side dishes that use the Indian Pickle. One of the more popular Achaar recipes is the Aam Ka Achaar.

Achaar can be made from fruit or vegetable, and pairs best with rice meals and dals. It adds a sweet and sour flavor to meals.

4. Basmati Rice

Because Indian foods tend to be strong in flavor, a simple rice side dish can bring the heat under control. Basmati rice also has the benefit of being aromatic.

If you like the flavor, you can add turmeric to your rice to keep things spicy. It can be served with most Indian dishes. Find the recipe here.

5. Upma

Upma is a side dish best served with breakfast. It can also be the main course of your breakfast. Upma is similar to oatmeal or porridge.

It’s popular in South India and is made from Rava (ground wheat) or cream of wheat. Try this recipe for your own Indian-style breakfast.

6. Modak

Modak is actually a desert, but we put it on the list because it still makes a great side dish or a sweet treat after your flavorful Indian meal.

It is a type of dumpling that is filled with any sweet you want, but popular choices are coconut, cane sugar, bananas, saffron, and nutmeg.

7. Pakora

Pakora can be served as a side, but it is common street fare food in India. It is a deep-fried fritter made with a variety of vegetables.

You can pick whichever vegetables you like, which makes this recipe especially easy for families that have picky eaters. Or, add them all into one!

8. Aloo Masala

A South Indian side dish, Aloo Masala is made with potatoes and some of India’s favorite flavorful spices: mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, and ginger.

Aloo Masala is similar to mashed potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes are going to be your best bet for an authentic Indian side dish. Get the recipe here.

9. Dhal

Also known as dal or daal, this Indian side dish is a soup. There are hundreds of varieties, but the main ingredient is legumes like beans, peas, or lentils.

Dhal is typically eaten with some type of bread such as naan or chapati, which is used to dip in the soup or mop up any leftovers.

10. Pulao

Pulao is common comfort food in India. It is a pilaf made with rice, vegetables, and of course India’s most delicious herbs and spices.

When making pulao, try to cook the rice until it is soft, rather than al dente. This is how it is served in restaurants and is closer to authenticity.

11. Chutney

There are plenty of ways to make chutney. When it comes down to it, it’s used as a dipping sauce, spread, or even a marinade.

You can make mango chutney and spread it on bread, dip your favorite veggies in it, add it to curry, or even marinate some chicken in it.

12. Puri

Puri is a type of fry bread that goes great with almost any Indian dish. It can be served with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack.

Once cooked, it resembles a pancake due to its fluffiness and puffiness. All you need are a few ingredients to make your own puri at home.

13. Malai Kofta

Made with potatoes and paneer (a type of cheese), malai kofta is a delicious side dish best paired with smooth curry and naan bread.

The potatoes and paneer are rolled into balls and deep-fried, resembling hush puppies or fried meatballs. Here is a great recipe to try at home.

14. Raita

Raita is typically paired with meals that pack a lot of heat. The condiment is used to cool down the meal and make it more enjoyable and flavorful.

Made with mint, cilantro, and cucumbers, you can really taste the cooling effect. If you’re planning a spicy Indian dinner, try pairing it with this raita recipe.

15. Chapati

Indian food consists of plenty of saucy dinners such as curry and dhals. Because of this, bread is a common side dish served in India.

Chapati is another type of fried bread that is an excellent pairing partner to Indian cuisine. It’s made with a few simple ingredients: wheat flour, salt, and water.

16. Samosa

Samosas are a triangle-shaped, flaky pastry filled with vegetables or meat. The most popular samosa recipes call for a spicy potato filling, but you can use anything.

They take a little more time and effort to make, but it’s worth the extra time. Here’s a step-by-step recipe you can try at home

17. Rasam

Rasam is a type of soup that makes for a great side dish or appetizer. It’s made with tamarind juice and flavorful Indian herbs and spices.

Traditionally made with only tamarind and pepper, rasam has taken on a new flavor with the addition of cumin, lemon, tomatoes, and chili powder seasonings.

Wrap Up

From fried bread to palette-cooling yogurts, you can make all sorts of Indian-style side dishes with your favorite meals, whether it’s an Indian dishes or not.

Try to pair your side dishes with meals that match, such as bread with saucier or soup-based dishes, and yogurts with spicier meals to cool down the mouth.

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