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Butter chicken is one of the most loved dishes in traditional Indian cuisine. This curry has a rich and creamy sauce that pairs well with the golden, aromatic meat.
As the name implies, you will primarily use butter or cream in the liquid. Tomatoes are also present in the mix.
As delicious as butter chicken is, you need a side dish that will help to elevate your meal. Options that are traditional to Indian culture are some of the best. Find 14 side dishes for the next time you serve butter chicken in the list below.
Table of Contents
- What to Serve with Butter Chicken
- Butter Chicken Side Dishes
What to Serve with Butter Chicken
1. Basmati Rice
Basmati Rice is a grain that comes from India. It comes from the Hindi religion, translating to “fragrant rice.” This side dish has a naturally nutty flavor that will pair well with the sweetness of the butter chicken.
If you want to take your Basmati rice to the next level, consider making a pilaf or pulao. The latter option is a casserole-like dish that uses vegetables in the mixture.
Pilaf is cooked rice that only has chopped onion in it. You will use flavorful oil in the mixture when cooking it.
2. Naan Bread
Naan is the most traditional bread that comes from India. You will find families and restaurants serving this option with curries of any kind, including butter chicken.
Naan bread has a crispy exterior texture, and the interior is light and fluffy. Many chefs choose to spread garlic, butter, and other seasonings all over the flatbread.
Turn your naan bread into a dessert by topping it with cinnamon, adding a necessary nutty flavor. Make this dish even sweeter by adding honey or brown sugar to the top of the flatbread. You will not add garlic or spices when turning naan bread into dessert.
If you want to serve another curry with your butter chicken, consider making saag. This side dish uses leafy green vegetables rather than meats.
Most individuals make saag from mustard or collard greens, spinach, or broccoli. Sometimes, families mix these vegetables with paneer, a traditional Indian cheese.
If you do not know what saag is, you can think about creamed spinach. It has plenty of spices and flavors like the American version, and the bright green color will stand out. It will pair nicely with the tomatoes and butter used in the main dish.
4. Aloo Gobi
Aloo Gobi is another vegetable-based side dish, allowing you to have options available for vegetarians in your family. You will use potatoes and cauliflower to form the base.
Aloo gobi uses a wide variety of spices in the mixture. When seeing a picture of this side dish, you will immediately recognize the presence of turmeric by the bright yellow color.
The yellow color of the aloo gobi will pair nicely with the orange look in the butter chicken. Your bright foods will appeal to anyone in your family, as they will bring some fun to your table.
Samosa is a common appetizer in India, but you can serve it as a side dish for butter chicken. This option is a small baked pastry filled with meats, cheeses, or lentils.
Some individuals like to fill the samosas with potatoes and onions for a flavorful dish. Many individuals add spicy seasonings to the vegetable mixture to make the food pack a punch.
Samoas are delicious with butter chicken as the sweetness of the main dish will cool down the spiciness. Pair your meal with an ice-cold drink to bring every flavor together.
6. Kachumber Salad
If you want to serve butter chicken on a warm day, consider preparing a kachumber salad as your side dish. No matter the time of year, this option is a lighter option that will help you manage the heavier curry. The bright colors used in the salad will pair well with the orange of the butter chicken.
The ingredients in the base of the kachumber salad, as you may assume, are cucumbers. You will mix this vegetable with tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Flavor the salad with lemon juice, which gives the right level of tartness.
Daal is the Indian word for split peas, which most refer to like lentils. Technically, this term refers to the dried version of this food group. In Indian cuisine, lentils are essential ingredients for several side dishes.
When cooking daal as your side dish, you can make a stew or a soup. The broth will be thick and creamy, pairing well with the buttery taste of the chicken.
If you want to serve daal as a side for your butter chicken, you should wait until the winter. A massive serving of lentils next to the curry will warm you right up.
You can eat raita by itself. You can also consider using this dish as a dip or condiment. It is full of fresh ingredients, including cucumbers and green onions, that will brighten your day.
Raita is a creamy yogurt-like option that contains chopped-up onions and cucumbers. The cream is tangy, which is in direct contrast to the sweet flavors in the butter chicken.
The coolness of the raita will help to bring down the spice levels of any of your other side dishes. Plus, you can dip your naan in the mixture if you using it as a condiment.
Papadum is another type of flatbread served in traditional Indian cuisine. Most individuals put it in a fryer. You can also cook it over a small heat source.
Papadum is similar to a cracker, as it has a crispy texture and is naturally thin. If you do not want to use grains, you can start your recipe with rice, chickpeas, lentils, or potatoes.
You are sure to hear a snap when breaking apart your papdum. After, dip it in the curry to soak up all the flavors.
Chutney is another sauce-like side dish that you can use as a dip or condiment. There are so many types of chutney available, so you will never run out of options.
You can make chutney into a dessert or use more savory flavors. Use tomatoes to correlate the side dish with the butter chicken. Consider coconut if you want a sweet and nutty flavor.
Add chunks of vegetables, spices, or fruits in your chutney if you want the side dish to act more like a salad. If you want the flavors to align more closely with the butter chicken, add the ingredients used in the entree.
Chapati is another type of bread that goes well with curries and other Indian dishes. This unleavened option is much thinner, which looks more like a tortilla.
There is a difference in the texture of chapati and a tortilla. The former falls apart with no problem, and you will enjoy how flaky it is.
When considering how easily chapati breaks, you do not want to use the bread as a wrap. You can dip small pieces of it in your curry to soak up the liquid and flavors.
12. Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower is a delicious side dish that you can serve with butter chicken. The two foods will look attractive next to each other, making anyone want to try them.
The cauliflower will offer a contrast in texture to the butter chicken. The vegetable has a noticeable crunch, while the meat will melt in your mouth when eating it.
There are two ways you can make roasted cauliflower. Cut the vegetable into small florets, spreading them out on a baking sheet. You can also roast the entire cauliflower, but make sure you remove the leaves before beginning.
13. Roasted Asparagus
Another simple side dish you can make for butter chicken is roasted asparagus. Cut off the ends of the vegetable and spread them apart on a baking sheet. You can sprinkle olive juice, chopped garlic, olive oil, and any other spices over them.
You will need to keep it in the oven until the asparagus has a light brown color. The mild flavor will appeal to the sweetness of the butter chicken.
When you add lemon juice, you will build a tartness that will enhance the flavor profile. This ingredient also helps to make the vegetable aromatic and attractive.
14. Ginger Carrot Salad
Finally, consider making ginger carrot salad as your side dish for butter chicken. You may think that this option would contradict too much, but you have to try it!
This side dish is easy to make, and it will be ready in just a few minutes. You will need to slice a carrot and ginger into thin slices to prepare the mixture.
After you slice your vegetables, you will need to make the sauce. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper to finalize the results. If you want the mixture to be spicier, add red pepper flakes.
Butter Chicken Side Dishes
Butter chicken is one of the most delicious Indian entrees you can make for yourself and your family. The meat will melt in your mouth, and the sauce will leave behind a sweetness you can’t ignore.
There are several side dishes you can make to elevate butter chicken. Consider a bread-like option like naan or chapati to dip in the sauce.
There are traditional Indian side dishes you can make for your butter chicken. These include samosas, chutney, and Basmati rice.
If you want something simple to serve with this meal, make a roasted vegetable. Chop up cauliflower or asparagus. You could also make a cucumber or ginger carrot salad for a light side dish.
Why is Butter Chicken Bad for You?
Lovers of Indian food know that it is full of flavors and spices. Butter chicken is no exception, and it includes chili powder, garlic, coriander, ginger, tomatoes, and more.
Butter chicken also contains, as the name implies, a decent amount of butter and cream. It is a high-fat meal, including 28 grams total in one serving.
Butter naturally has high amounts of saturated fat. Eating large amounts of this ingredient can lead to high cholesterol, heart disease, and many other conditions.
Thankfully, you can eat butter chicken sparingly and stay healthy. The meal is rich in protein, offering you up to 30 grams in one serving.
Is Butter Chicken Considered a Curry?
Most agree that butter chicken is a curry in Indian cuisine. It is similar to tikka masala, for example.
Butter chicken has a creamy sauce made from butter and cream. The tomato helps to add some flair to the dish. It is traditionally orange or tan, making anyone immediately attracted to the meal.
Butter chicken has a strong aroma, as most curries do. Thankfully, this meal is one of the simplest Indian cuisines to make. You will easily find every ingredient required in any recipe for butter chicken.
What’s a Good Side for Butter Chicken?
If you want to serve butter chicken, it is best to create a traditional Indian side. If you need to keep it simple, steam vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
Naan bread is one of the most beloved side dishes for any Indian meal. It has the perfect blend of texture as it is crispy on the outside, while the interior melts in your mouth.
Other traditional Indian side dishes you can make include saag and samosa. The former is a vegetable curry that contains greens, spinach, broccoli, and paneer. Samosa is a fried pastry that you fill with cheeses, meats, or lentils.
What Goes with Buttermilk Chicken?
When you initially saw the words “butter chicken,” you likely assumed this article would talk about “buttermilk chicken.” Buttermilk chicken is a different dish that is traditional to America.
Buttermilk chicken is another title for the fried variety. When you think of side dishes for this meal, you likely imagine traditional southern comfort foods.
If you want to consider the best side dishes for buttermilk chicken, look into macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and mashed potatoes. When considering bread, you can serve biscuits, cornbread, or hushpuppies. Finally, healthy options include corn on the cob, okra, green beans, and squash.
What is Traditionally Served with Curry?
Butter chicken is a type of curry served in traditional Indian cuisine. When considering side dishes, there are several that families from this culture will almost always create with these meals.
Naan bread is one of the most common sides. Cooks cover this flatbread in garlic, butter, or other flavors that someone may enjoy.
Chutney is another popular side dish served with curries. It will come in a separate bowl. It has fresh ingredients, including mint, green chiles, lemon juice, or coriander.
Finally, aloo gobi is a traditional Indian side dish that takes the place of rice. It utilizes potatoes and cauliflowers, bringing a light option that will fit most dietary restrictions.
Can I Eat Butter Chicken Every Day?
It is best to eat butter chicken sparingly. This dish is high in saturated fat due to the butter and cream you have to put in it. Both ingredients can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease when eaten in excess.
Butter chicken contains a significant amount of sodium, including if you use canned tomatoes. There are 763 milligrams of salt in one serving.
If you have a history of heart disease or diabetes, you should only eat 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. If you are in this situation, you definitely should not eat butter chicken every day. It has almost half of your daily sodium intake!