what to serve with chicken tikka masala

What to Serve with Chicken Tikka Masala: 13 Simple Side Dishes

Chicken tikka masala is an Indian delicacy that’s unique in many ways. Firstly, the meat is marinated in yogurt, making it tender and incorporating distinct flavors. Then, unlike most Indian curries and dishes, the sauce isn’t coconut-based. Instead, it has cream, making it thick and decadent.

Thus, although chicken tikka masala resembles many Indian dishes like butter chicken, it stands out for its preparation and taste. Indeed, it comes out rich and flavorful, which is why it isn’t usually eaten alone. Traditionally, it’s served with plain naan, but this article offers other great ideas for what to serve with chicken tikka masala.

1. Butter Naan

Plain, homemade naan is excellent, but many prefer butter naan because it adds flavor to the dishes it is paired with. One such dish that could benefit from that is chicken tikka masala. Butter naan is easy to make, although it is time-consuming because you need to let it leaven, rise, and rest. However, it’s worth it because the rich, buttery flavors are evident in every piece.

2. Basmati Rice

Nothing beats a heartwarming meal of chicken tikka masala on a bed of warm, fluffy basmati rice. Thus, if you haven’t tried this combo, it’s time for you to take both recipes and prepare them at home. Basmati rice is a variant native to India; hence, it’s only fitting for the two to be served together. Moreover, its aromatic fragrance and nutty flavors subtly elevate the whole affair.

3. Indian Cumin/Jeera Rice

You can improve your simple basmati rice by using it to make jeera or Indian cumin rice. It’s also fluffy, warm, and aromatic but with an additional layer of flavor from the spices: bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, jeera or cumin seeds, and chili or serrano peppers. Besides the herbs, there’s also ghee, salt, and coriander. Thus, expect deep flavors with every spoonful of these grains.

4. Coconut Rice

Another way to transform plain rice into a flavorful dish is to follow this coconut rice recipe. However, this one uses jasmine rice, which is similar to basmati but comes from Thailand. Nonetheless, it’s as delicious and aromatic as the Indian variant, especially when coconut milk, sugar, pandan leaves, and kaffir lime leaves are added. Serve with desiccated coconut and, of course, the chicken tikka masala!

5. Cauliflower Rice

The rice and flatbread suggestions may seem out of reach for those on a low-carb diet. However, there’s something for you to enjoy: homemade cauliflower rice. Granted, it isn’t Indian or traditional, but it is healthy and effortless. Like flatbreads and rice, it has a simple flavor and fluffy textures that help accentuate the chicken tikka masala. Hence, it’s as effective as any other side dish here.

6. Roti

Flatbreads are incredible and traditional with chicken tikka masala, but naan isn’t your only option. There’s also roti, which is unleavened; thus, it takes less time to make and feels lighter. In fact, with this recipe, it takes only 20 minutes to complete 12 rotis! The ingredients list is also shorter, as you need only atta or whole wheat flour, water, and ghee. The oil is optional.

7. Paratha

Another Indian flatbread option is paratha, which is unleavened like roti. Furthermore, appearance-wise and even ingredients-wise, it shares many similarities with roti. However, the critical difference is making paratha involves layering. Thus, each piece comes out soft, flaky, and thicker than other flatbreads. Hence, it takes slightly longer to make and cook than roti, but still quicker than naan.

8. Pita Bread

Like naan, roti, and paratha, pita is another flatbread variant. But, unlike those three, it isn’t Indian in origin. Pita is a staple in the Middle East and Mediterranean region. But if you’re more used to making this type than others, you can pair it with your chicken tikka masala. Like naan, it’s leavened, so it’ll take more time to prepare as the dough must rise.

9. Beet Raita

Although not as hot and spicy as other Indian delicacies, chicken tikka masala still has some kick. To combat that, some recommend serving it with raita varieties, like this beet raita. Despite the thick, stew-like consistency, raita is more akin to salad because of its refreshing, soothing effect. It has curd or yogurt, which makes it rich, and the flavoring and coloring are attributed to the grated beetroot.

10. Wilted Baby Spinach

Simple veggie side dishes, like this wilted baby spinach, make healthy, tasty side dishes for chicken tikka masala. That’s because both dishes benefit from each other. For instance, while the chicken coats the veggies with a rich sauce, the spinach contributes freshness, flavor, and texture. However, it would be a great idea to include rice still, so you have a triumvirate of veggies, carbs, and meat.

11. Buttery Peas

You might prefer these buttery peas if you’re not a fan of leafy veggies. Despite using frozen peas, this recipe makes them, so they end up buttery, aromatic, and tender, with no hint of their previous icy life. The addition of butter, spices, and seasoning achieves that effect. Moreover, the fresh pop of green is a bright, exciting contrast to the orange chicken tikka masala.

12. Steamed Broccoli

Imagine your bowl: rich chicken tikka masala on top of rice, surrounded by fresh, steamed broccoli. Did that get you drooling? If it did, it’s time for you to check out this recipe, so you have the perfect side dish for your chicken. Steamed broccoli needs only water and broccoli, nothing else, and you can do it on the stovetop, with a steam basket, or in the microwave.

13. Asparagus

You can re-envision your chicken tikka masala meal by swapping the broccoli florets for delicious asparagus spears. Like the former, these veggies have crisp-tender textures. Although most recipes make their asparagus with a ton of flavorings, like chili peppers, butter, and whatnot, it’s best to keep it simple for a rich dish. The veggies will take the flavors of the chicken tikka masala and emphasize it.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.