Majority of us here don’t celebrate Deepavali, but there’s no denying we love our curry all the same! We are fortunate enough to live in a country that enjoys curries of all kinds, from fish head to chicken to Japanese to Malay and even Thai curry. Along with these curries, we also commonly have a smorgasbord of accompanying sides that make this Asian cuisine one of the best one to enjoy when you want to have a feast of a time with friends and family. If you’re still scratching your head over what side dishes would go well with that huge pot of curry, we’ve got some ideas on hand to help you beef up the party!
There is absolutely no better way to mop your plate of curry clean than with a fluffy portion of naan. Hundreds of years ago, the Moguls brought naan bread to India (the Moguls came from Persia and the Persian word for bread is naan). These days, restaurants serve a variety of naans (and even more innovative with pratas!) with flavours like garlic, cheese, keema and peshwari (naan with nuts and raisins). You make naan by first making a dough with flour, water and yeast. Then you may add any other ingredients. The naan is rolled out and finally, baked in an oven (traditionally, tandoor ovens are used but western style ovens make naan just as well).
Raita is commonly found in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines and is a condiment made with yogurt (dahi) and can be used as either a sauce or dip, or even a salad. The yogurt may be seasoned with coriander, cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Raita is generally made to town down the spiciness of other dishes, with varieties including onion, garlic, mint, and cucumber. The best types of raita use fresh, full fat, thick and creamy yogurt to achieve the best consistency and texture.
The closest Western equivalent of Indian chutney is jam or compote. However, chutney takes on its own flavours, given it is generally made with fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar. Chutneys are as diverse as there are regions in India, and can have varying flavour profiles like sweet, sour and spicy. For example, coconuts and peanuts both grow well in southern India, whereas mint grows in abundance in the north. Tomato chutney is common everywhere, but Bengali tomato chutney is sweet, due to the addition of dates or mangoes, and is used to cleanse the palate between spicy and sweet courses, while Hyderabadi tomato chutney packs more heat thanks to the use of dried chillies.
Vegetable dishes are an abundance in Indian cuisine due to their prominent Hindu presence, restricting their diet to vegetarian options. That doesn’t mean, however, that these dishes lack in diversity as they use all types of vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, lady’s fingers, cauliflowers, legumes, lentils, spinach, and many others. Some of the more commonly seen vegetable side dishes in Indian restaurants here include palak paneer (puréed spinach with paneer, seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices), aloo gobi (dry curry with cauliflower, potatoes and peas) and bhindi masala fry (okra stuffed with spices and stir-fried).
No Indian feast is complete without the wondrous Asian carb staple that is rice! Briyani already comes in all forms – from chicken to mutton to lamb. But did you know there are also so many other amazing Indian rice dishes you have yet to try? Pulao is another type of rice dish that comes in a plethora of combinations like, Aloo Matar Ka Pulao (rice with potatoes and peas), Kashmiri Pulao (rice with dried fruits and cooked with cinnamon, cardamom seeds, cumin and cloves), chickpeas and radish pulao and coconut milk pulao. In addition to that, most Indian rice dishes use basmati rice, which is a rice grain type that is longer in length than your regular white rice. With these grain type, the Indians create numerous basmati rice dishes that vary according to the region it originated from, based on local ingredients.
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having written all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey, journalling her epicurean trails and sweaty gym sessions with relentless fervor.