Don't Serve Tandoori Chicken Without One Of These Side Dishes

Tandoori chicken is one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine with a rich history dating back about a century, according to Food52. The bright red, crispy-skinned version of tandoori chicken that is commonly served today originated about 100 years ago in Pakistan, where a man named Kundan Lal Gujral popularized the dish. When Gujral later opened a restaurant in Delhi, he was credited with popularizing Indian food as a whole, per Food52.

Because tandoori chicken is heavily spiced and extra flavorful, serving it with dishes that are more on the simple side will guarantee a well-balanced meal and allow the chicken itself to shine. Better Homes and Gardens recommends sticking to easy, starch-based products like rice and bread, with dips and salads full of cool, fresh ingredients like cucumber and mint to complement the chicken's spiciness

If you need a place to start, we have your back! Read on to discover two classic side dishes to eat with tandoori chicken.

Pair tandoori chicken with pulao

Rice pilaf is a popular recipe that can be endlessly modified to complement different flavors, so the Indian version, otherwise known as rice pulao, tastes great alongside tandoori chicken (via Indiaphile). Pulao is a simple dish, which makes it a perfect sidekick to the complex flavors of tandoori chicken. 

According to Bon Appetit, the main difference between regular steamed rice and pilaf is that the latter is cooked by first sautéing the dried rice with aromatics like onion and garlic before getting cooked through in spiced broth or liquid. 

While there are many variations on pilaf and Indian pulao specifically, you'll want to use spices like cumin, cloves, turmeric, curry powder, and cinnamon. Most recipes call for bay leaves and chicken stock, both of which infuse flavor into the rice as it cooks. Pilafs also commonly include raisins or currants, nuts, and fresh herbs to be mixed in at the end for added texture and flavor (via New York Times).

Tandoori chicken goes well with naan

Naan is an essential part of any Indian meal, and it's perfect to serve alongside tandoori chicken. Naan bread is easy to make and requires less rising time than other breads, so you can whip it up on a whim just before dinner (via Better Homes and Gardens).

Originally cooked on a tandoor, according to Recipe Tips, naan bread is basically asking to be paired with tandoori chicken. But if you don't have a tandoor lying around, it's easy to make naan on the stovetop or oven instead. All you need are a few basic baking ingredients like yeast and flour, and some yogurt to give naan its signature tangy taste (via New York Times).

If plain naan isn't your style, there are endless variations on this classic dish — New Idea Food suggests making it your own by adding garlic, cheese, or another topping of your choosing, or swapping the yogurt for a plant-based variety to make it vegan (via Minimalist Baker).