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What to Serve with Tandoori Chicken

  • 7 min read

Tandoori chicken – a delectable, aromatic delicacy originating from the Indian subcontinent – is known for its distinctive smoky flavor, vibrant red hue, and succulent texture. Marinated in a blend of yoghurt and warm spices, then cooked to perfection in a tandoor (a traditional clay oven), this dish is a true gastronomic masterpiece. But what to serve with it? What sides and accompaniments can complement its rich, intense taste and transform a simple meal into a complete dining experience? This article is your one-stop guide to answering that very question.

Aromatic Basmati Rice

The subtlety of plain basmati rice makes it a perfect canvas for tandoori chicken’s bold flavors. Its unique aroma and light, fluffy grains gracefully absorb the chicken’s spiced juices, offering a harmonious balance in each mouthful. For an elevated twist, try jeera (cumin) rice or saffron-infused rice, which introduce gentle undertones of flavor without overpowering the star of the meal.

Indian Bread Varieties

Indian bread is a traditional staple to serve with tandoori chicken. The most popular options include naan, a soft and fluffy bread cooked in the tandoor, and roti, a whole wheat bread cooked on a griddle. For the adventurous food enthusiast, there’s also room to explore the realm of stuffed parathas, rich kulchas, or the crispy, layered laccha paratha.

Cool Raita

A cool, creamy raita is the perfect antidote to the fiery heat of tandoori chicken. This Indian yoghurt-based side dish often incorporates cucumber, mint, or boondi (tiny fried balls of gram flour) to provide a refreshing contrast. The coolness of the raita not only soothes the palate but also enhances the tandoori spices, creating a beautiful gastronomic harmony.

Tangy Chutneys

Indian cuisine is incomplete without its assortment of chutneys. These tangy, sometimes spicy condiments act as the perfect foil to the richness of tandoori chicken. You can opt for the classic mint-coriander chutney, its refreshing taste contrasting wonderfully with the smoky chicken, or try a tamarind chutney for a sweet-and-sour kick.

Salad with a Citrus Twist

A crisp, fresh salad is another excellent side dish for tandoori chicken. To play off the deep, smoky flavors of the chicken, consider a simple cucumber and tomato salad, or take things up a notch with a kachumber salad, featuring diced onion, cucumber, and tomatoes dressed in lemon juice and chaat masala. The citrusy tang and crunch add a refreshing element to the meal, making it a must-try for any food enthusiast.

Lentil Dishes

Lentil dishes, or dals, are a staple of Indian cuisine, and they pair wonderfully with tandoori chicken. Opt for the hearty, butter-infused decadence of dal makhani, or the light and aromatic tones of dal tadka. These protein-packed sides not only provide nutritional balance but also complement the tandoori chicken’s robust flavor.


A meal with tandoori chicken is not complete without the right drink. A chilled glass of lassi, an Indian yoghurt drink, can be a delightful accompaniment, its creamy sweetness balancing out the spices. Alternatively, a cup of masala chai can add warmth and depth to the meal, while a refreshing mint lemonade can provide a citrusy counterpoint to the heat.

To conclude, pairing tandoori chicken with the right sides and accompaniments can elevate your dining experience, turning a simple meal into a diverse, satisfying feast. So the next time you’re planning to enjoy this delicious delicacy, consider including one – or more – of these delightful pairings. Bon appétit!

Is tandoori chicken good for health?

Tandoori chicken can be part of a healthy diet, but it is important to be aware of the potential health risks.

The main ingredients in tandoori chicken are chicken, yogurt, and spices. Yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium, and the spices in tandoori chicken can provide antioxidants and other health benefits. However, tandoori chicken is also high in calories and fat, and it can be cooked in unhealthy oils.

Here are some tips for making tandoori chicken healthier:

  • Use lean chicken breast instead of dark meat.
  • Use a healthier oil, such as olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Grill or bake the chicken instead of frying it.
  • Serve with healthy side dishes, such as grilled vegetables or brown rice.

If you are watching your calorie intake, you may want to limit your portion size of tandoori chicken. However, if you enjoy tandoori chicken and make it part of a healthy diet, you can enjoy its benefits without any major health risks.

Here are some of the potential health benefits of tandoori chicken:

  • Protein: Chicken is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass.
  • Calcium: Yogurt is a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health.
  • Antioxidants: The spices in tandoori chicken can provide antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage.

However, there are also some potential health risks associated with tandoori chicken:

  • Calories: Tandoori chicken is high in calories, so it is important to be mindful of your portion size if you are watching your weight.
  • Fat: Tandoori chicken can be high in fat, especially if it is cooked in unhealthy oils.
  • Salt: Tandoori chicken can be high in salt, so it is important to be mindful of your intake if you have high blood pressure or other health conditions.

Overall, tandoori chicken can be part of a healthy diet, but it is important to be aware of the potential health risks. By making healthy choices, such as using lean chicken, grilling or baking the chicken, and serving with healthy side dishes, you can enjoy the benefits of tandoori chicken without any major health risks.

What to eat with chicken tikka?

Here are some side dishes that go well with chicken tikka:

  • Naan: Naan is a type of flatbread that is perfect for scooping up the tikka sauce.
  • Rice: Rice is a classic side dish that can be served with any type of curry.
  • Vegetables: Tandoori chicken is often served with grilled or roasted vegetables.
  • Salad: A simple salad can help to balance out the richness of the tikka sauce.
  • Raita: Raita is a yogurt-based condiment that is often served with Indian food. It can help to cool down the heat of the tikka sauce.
  • Chutney: Chutney is a condiment that is made with fruits, vegetables, or herbs. There are many different types of chutney, so you can choose one that complements the flavors of the tikka sauce.

You can also serve chicken tikka with a drink, such as:

  • Lassi: Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that is popular in India. It can help to cool down the heat of the tikka sauce.
  • Coke: Coke is a classic drink that can be enjoyed with any type of food.
  • Beer: Beer is a good choice if you are looking for a drink that will complement the flavors of the tikka sauce.

Ultimately, the best side dishes and drinks to serve with chicken tikka are the ones that you enjoy the most. Experiment with different combinations until you find the perfect ones for you.