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Chicken tikka masala is probably one of the most popular curries in South Asian cuisine. It’s the kind of dish that’ll have you licking your fingers and heading over to your pot, searching for remnants of this addicting curry. Once you’ve planned that you’re going to make chicken tikka masala during the week, you might wonder what side dish could accompany this traditional Indian cuisine. Do we stick to Indian dishes or create simpler and less savory side dishes? Let’s take a look at some of the best-recommended side dishes to have with chicken tikka masala.
Table of Contents
Side Dishes for Chicken Tikka Masala
- Cucumber Raita
- Pilau Rice
- Mixed Green Salad
- Onion Salad
- Mixed Vegetable Pakora
- Tandoori Roti
- Aloo Gobi
- Plain Rice
Cucumber raita is commonly eaten alongside many spicy, savory meals like chicken tikka masala. It’s a simple side dish consisting of cucumbers, yogurt, and spices. It’s a quick and delicious side dish to serve with a variety of spicy curries. The refreshing cucumbers are enhanced with the creamy mix of yogurt, cumin, and green chilies. The coolness of the yogurt is an effective way to cool your taste buds, especially if you’re not accustomed to the intense spiciness of this curry. You can opt for a thicker or thinner consistency depending on your personal preference.
If you’re looking for a plain side dish that’ll allow the impeccable flavors of your curry to sink into the simplicity of your side, then pilau rice is the one to go for. This is another dish that is pretty common in Indian cuisine. Pilau can be enjoyed as a complete meal because of its flavors, though it happens to effectively balance the spicy richness of chicken tikka masala. While there are many methods of cooking pilau rice, here is a simpler one for you to try:
Heat oil in a pan, and add spices such as garam masala, cardamom, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Add tomato paste if you wish, then cook for a few minutes until the spices release an aroma. Add your rice, along with salt and water, then cook over medium heat. Once most of the water has evaporated, cover the pan and let it simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with a creamy sauce or chicken tikka masala.
Mixed Green Salad
Salad is an easy choice for most spicy, savory dishes like chicken tikka masala, especially when you’re in a hurry. The key to an addicting salad is to use a combination of contrasting colors, flavors, and textures for your salad. Leafy greens are great for creamy, meaty curries like chicken tikka masala. You can create a green salad using lettuce leaves with tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion. Depending on your preference, you can opt for a salad dressing such as Italian or French dressing. Additionally, you can chop up some mint leaves and sprinkle them over your green salad for an extra punchy flavor.
Another brilliant side dish to pair with your chicken tikka masala recipe is onion salad. A simple and versatile salad that is best served with rice or bread on the side. This side dish consists of thinly sliced onions seasoned with some of your favorite Indian spices. The potency of the onions plays a key role in most Indian dishes, mainly due to their bitterness and intensity, which makes them the perfect candidate to serve, along with the spicy richness of chicken tikka masala.
Additionally, you can make a unique version of onion salad by adding other ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, or even carrots. These varieties create a nice crunch and a more balanced meal which is a bonus!
Mixed Vegetable Pakora
Vegetables are always the option to reach for when devouring a delicious meal of chicken tikka masala consisting of chicken thighs drowning in a creamy sauce. Though choosing suitable vegetables for pakora is quite important, especially since they’ll be battered and deep fried, so soft, moist, and flavourful vegetables are the ones to opt for. The best choice is either onion or spinach, or both.
You can try to combine a few vegetables in the pakora by mixing thinly sliced onions with potatoes and spinach leaves. The spices added to this mix play an important role because this is where the flavors come from. Coat this mixture in chickpea flour, and add in some garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes for a little heat. Add water, mix, and drop into some oil, frying until crisp and golden brown.
Moreover, you can use vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, or sweet potatoes to create the perfect accompaniment for your main dish.
Tandoori roti is a popular bread to have alongside chicken tikka masala. Rip a piece of this soft, chewy bread, and dip it into the creamy tikka masala for terrific flavors. Tandoori roti is commonly made using whole wheat flour and plain flour along with other ingredients such as yogurt, baking powder, salt, and ghee. The dough is kneaded until it’s flexible to work with before being cooked in a tandoor oven. It emerges with a wonderful charred flavor that contrasts perfectly with the spiciness of chicken tikka masala.
One particular side that is commonly eaten as a complete meal is aloo gobi. With cauliflower florets, coupled with cubed potatoes, come together to form a wonderful curry sprinkled with a mixture of aromatic spices and flavors that add a delightful kick to this traditional side dish.
Finally, the simpler side dish to have made the list is plain rice. You can opt for jasmine rice or basmati rice, as they are wonderfully fragrant and pair well with Indian spices. Cook your rice in a mixture of boiling water and lemon juice, allowing the citrusy flavors to blend and create a more subtle taste. Additionally, you can add some vegetables like peas, carrots, or beans during the cooking process, making it an overall nutritious dish.
How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala?
Many Indian curries acquire a flavourful depth, extracted through the use of spices and incredible aromatics, that’ll taste impeccable when poured over plain rice or eaten with naan bread. For this chicken tikka masala recipe, you’ll need:
- Coconut oil: you can use vegetable oil for cooking chicken thighs
- Unsalted butter: helps create a rich, creamy sauce
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: can use chicken breasts instead
- Greek yogurt: binds the spices to the chicken thighs
- Lemon: bright and springy flavors
- Cumin, coriander, paprika, garam masala, salt, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper: this is where the flavors of tikka masala come from
- Garlic: enhances the flavors of the sauce
- Ginger: packs a slightly spicy taste
- White onion: sweetens the curry
- Jalapeno: a touch of extra spice
- Tomato paste: gives a richer tomato flavor
- Tomato sauce: an initial base for the masala sauce
- Heavy cream: adds creaminess to the spicy curry
- Cilantro: a little freshness that goes a long way
Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
- Place your cut chicken into a large bowl, then add yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, salt, garlic, and ginger to your chicken, combining thoroughly. Cover the chicken and let it marinate for at least an hour
- Heat coconut in a large pan over medium-high heat, then add the chicken in batches of 2 or 3 so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook until browned on each side, or 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes, then add garlic and jalapeno and cook for a minute.
- Stir in your spices, salt, and tomato paste, cooking for another minute
- Stir in tomato sauce with water, add your chicken and simmer for 15 minutes
- Once the water has slightly reduced, stir in the cream, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to thicken. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and aloo gobi.
Choose some of these terrific side dishes to have with your chicken tikka masala for a pleasant end to your evening meal.
Do You Eat Tikka Masala With Naan?
Eating chicken tikka masala with naan is probably the most popular way of enjoying this delicious Indian food. If you’re making naan bread from home, then this can be a little time-consuming but so worth it.
What Does Tikka Masala Come With?
Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular dishes and commonly comes with naan, mango chutney, yogurt, steamed basmati rice, and naan bread.
Does Tikka Masala Come With Rice?
Tikka masala is commonly served with naan but can come with rice if you wish. The buttery flavors sink beautifully when paired with long-grained plain rice.