This post will answer - What do you serve with Chicken Tikka Masala. How do you serve it as part of a regular family mean. How do you create a Indian menu around it.
If you do not want to get into the whole discussion, then here is the short answer on what goes with Chicken Tikka Masala
I mean making Tikka masala is all well and good but how do you serve it? What else goes on the plate?
Today I am going to solve that for you.
There are two possible scenarios -
1. If you are serving a regular meal for 2-4 people
2. If you are making a whole party or celebration and the main dish is Chicken Tikka Masala. This is for 10-12 people.
Before everything, here is an easy instant pot Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe for you.
Indian food is usually divided into 4 parts- there is the main curry that's the chicken tikka masala here, then there is a carb - Naan/Roti or parathas or Rice, then there is a vegetable side- ladies finger fry or say the not so good looking but can't get enough of Baigan Bharta and then lastly are the condiments & extras, sort of finishers, which take a meal from meh to Epic- Pickles, Papads and Chutneys.
Oh and There are drinks, raitas(yogurt sauce) and Desserts.
We will talk about all of these in detail.
But at the outset, understand that chicken tikka masala is a Punjabi dish from the northern region of india. So the accompaniments will also be from the same region.
If you are only making a regular meal then you can choose between rice and breads. Maybe add a salad or a vegetable stir fry.
If you are making a celebration Indian Menu, You can pick and choose and add as per your preference, number of guests & the occasion.
Bread - Naan, Roti, Paratha
The staple in North India is flatbreads Breads like Naan(also called Naan Bread) , rotis, fulkas(or Phulka) , kulchas and parathas. Roti, phulka and parathas are everyday things- that are made at home almost every meal.(My dad eats roti 3 times a day- breakfast, lunch and dinner).
These need technique, skill and patience!
Though for most cooks, if you have made enough of it, it comes very naturally. I mean my mom made 40 rotis for 1 meal with zero sweat(Long long time ago)
Coming back! These are served hot, fresh, straight from the griddle(Tawa) or in the case of naan- from the Tandoor or indian oven.
Here is an easy recipe for Butter Garlic Naan.
Now what to do if you don't want to get into these things? Buy Naans- fresh, frozen or straight from the restaurant ! Gently warm them up and serve.
The other easier option, at least in my mind is to serve the chicken tikka masala with rice.
It's a one pot thing, no slaving on top of a hot griddle and you can make this for the whole family( however big the family is!)
Keeping the North Indian flavors in mind- you can go with a plain Basmati Rice, or it's softer cousin - Short grain or Sona Masoori Rice. Or you could upgrade a bit with a Cumin flavored pulav or peas pulav.
Here is an easy way to make Basmati rice in the instant pot.
These are crispy chips kind of indian "sides".I traditional house holds, they are served with almost every meal.
There are a zillion versions of it. The most popular being - pre packed, roasted , fried or a quick microwave. My husband loves papad. Infact he is quite specific about it and wants only something called Pappadam(The kerala version of papad).We usually keep about 3 boxes of these, fried and ready to eat.
Based on where you live, you can find papads that you can quickly fry, roast or microwave. Or you can buy packaged versions if available near you.Here are some amazon options
Lijjat Papad- can be cooked straight on the flame-These are quite popular in north india though they can be spicy.
Pappadam - These will need to be microwaved or fried and are more popular in South india.
Ready to eat Papad - These can be eaten straight out of the box and are super convenient!
The other option is also a vegetable pakora like palak(Spinach ) or onion pakoras. They are a sure shot way to impress your guests!
Vegetable Stir Fry
More then salads, Vegetable stir fries are huge in india. If you are creating an Indian Menu, you will possibly serve 2-3 vegetables for sure.
Another great option is this quick air fryer turmeric roasted cauliflower.
Though there are not many popular salads, Indian food is usually served with sliced red onions, slivers of cucumbers and a green chili.
You could make a kachumber salad or this coconut peanut cucumber salad. You can also combine the salad with yogurt and make a raitaish-salad.
Raita or spiced yogurt is also a great side for Indian dishes. Especially if the dishes are spicy or the people eating them have varying spice tolerance.
Pickles & Chutneys
Fun fact- Indians love pickles..to the point that they are fanatic about it. Every region , heck every household has a different pickle recipe. You could say that pickle is the reason they can survive anywhere.
As chicken tikka masala is from the northern region of india, I would suggest a mango pr stuffed chili pickle along with it.
Pickles can last a long time. And you eat very little with each bite.
You can buy Indian sweets like Gulab Jamoon or Jalebi from an Indian sweet shop.Or you could make an authentic indian dessert like - Rice Pudding also called Kheer in india.You can make Kheer in instant pot or make a chilled version of this called Phirni, which is more like a cold, set pudding.
Or you can make Halwa. Halwa is a little bit more work but this Whole wheat halwa or aate ka halwa is just so so good!
If you are making Tikka masala for a regular meal, I would frankly just serve water. At max a salty beverage like spiced buttermilk.
Besides all this, there is a special "finisher" to Indian meals called Mukhwas. Which is sweetened coated fennel seeds. As kids we used to eat fistfuls of this.
Here is a bonus menu for you for your next Indian Party
Indian Party Menu
- Appetizer - Chaat dip/ Edamame Chaat/Indian Charcuteri board
- Rice or Bread - Basmati Rice Or Garlic Naan / roti / parathas
- Main Dish- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Side dish - Air fryer spiced Cauliflower /Crispy Ladies Finger/ Masala Potatoes
- Drink - Lassi or Butter Milk
- Dessert - Store- bought hot gulab jamun with vanilla ice cream / Saffron Phirni / Kheer / Halwa
- Extras - Mango Pickle, Green chutney , Onion Raita(indian yogurt sauce)
Here is a post on what to serve with Butter Chicken- a full menu and side dishes