35+ Popular Indian side dishes to go with your meal

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If you love Indian cuisine, here are a few easy-to-make, popular Indian side dish recipes to get you started. Stop doing takeouts and make your favorite restaurant-style side dish at home.

A collage of 4 images with the caption authentic and popular Indian side dishes
35+ Authentic Indian Side Dishes

What does an Indian meal consist of?

The idea of what constitutes a complete Indian meal can vary from one household to the other. Also, what is served during parties or get-togethers is different from an everyday meal.

Let me elaborate.

For example, most everyday Indian lunches/dinners include servings of white rice or rotis (sometimes both) with dal or a curry accompanied by vegetables and/or protein (paneer, egg, fish, chicken, etc.). Some households serve homemade yogurt and/or raitas along with the meal, while some serve it at the end to finish off the meal. Desserts are usually reserved for special occasions such as festivals, birthdays, etc.

Get-togethers or parties are a bit more elaborate.

Dinner parties usually start off with savory appetizers like onion bhaji or Punjabi samosa served with tamarind and green chutneys accompanied by drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic). After an hour or so, once the guests have settled in and have had a chance to mingle, the next course is served, the main course.

An Indian main course, especially at parties, includes at least 3-4 dishes. While curries are a must, people often serve biryanis too. They are usually accompanied by side dishes such as plain or mildly-flavored rice, Indian flatbreads (roti, parathas, puris), dals, raitas, salads, and vegetable or protein-based side dishes.

The final course is, of course, desserts which is the perfect way to wrap up a meal.

I hope this helps you understand how an Indian meal can differ depending on whether it is an everyday meal or a social occasion.

Note: For tips on how to plan a perfect Indian party, check out this post – Indian party menu ideas with sample menus, recipes, and tips! You’ll have all the resources you need to make your next get-together a huge hit!

Now that you have a basic understanding of what constitutes an Indian meal let me get back to the original intent of this post – sharing a collection of delicious Indian side dishes that’ll help you plan and make a complete Indian meal, be it for parties or for busy weeknights.

Don’t worry; we have covered most of your Indian restaurant favorites in this list. If you are looking for a particular recipe and can’t find it here, just leave us a comment, and we’ll get that taken care of.

Rice side dish

Of all the Indian sides, rice is probably the most popular. They are easy to make, budget-friendly, and come together very quickly. Here are a few of my go-to Indian rice recipes that are perfect with curries and dals.

Instant Pot Basmati rice

I have used rice cookers in the past and have made rice over the stovetop, too, but making Basmati rice in the Instant Pot is my absolute favorite method – it takes less time than rice cookers and is hands-free, unlike making it on the stovetop.

You'll love how Instant Pot cooks Basmati rice – fluffy and with each grain distinct and so much faster than a rice cooker. Get the recipe below and learn how to make the perfect Basmati rice. 

Instant Pot Jeera rice

After a long day at work, our hungry stomach often demands a satisfying meal that doesn’t take hours to make. That’s when a good recipe for jeera rice will come in handy. This dish goes really well with dal and curries.

Jeera rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling. Learn how to make this flavorful rice in ten minutes or less.

Instant Pot Sona Masoori rice

In India, making Basmati rice is often reserved for special occasions. Depending on the region, the choice of everyday rice may differ. At home, we ate a lot of sona masoori rice.

This type of rice is medium-grain (sometimes referred to as short-grain) rice which is widely used and very popular in South Indian cuisine. Most famously, it is an integral ingredient used during the Pongal festival (check out this Instant Pot ven pongal recipe).

It goes really well with curries and dals or to make fragrant coconut rice.

This foolproof recipe for Instant Pot sona masoori rice is fluffy and perfectly cooked in under 30 minutes.

Easy yellow turmeric Rice

Homemade Indian Yellow Turmeric Rice has never been easier than this 20-minute Instant Pot recipe. Made with anti-inflammatory turmeric, this fragrant rice recipe makes the perfect side to curries, seafood, chicken, and more!

This yellow turmeric rice recipe comes together in just 20 minutes with the Instant Pot for a vibrant side dish that pairs with curries, seafood, chicken, and more!

Moong dal khichdi

Khichdi is such a versatile dish. It can be served as a complete meal on its own or as a side dish to complement any meal.

A wholesome and nutritious meal –  Moong dal khichdi made from rice and moong dal (split lentils) is comfort food at its best. This one-pot, 5-ingredient meal is easy on your stomach and is perfect for all ages.

Vegetable masala khichdi

Not very different from the simple masala khichdi recipe above, this spiced-up version is just as good and comforting.

This hearty masala khichdi recipe is Indian comfort food at its best! Made with rice, lentils, and veggies, this easy, one-pot dish makes for a complete meal. It is perfect for busy weeknights.

Curd rice (thayir sadam)

The delicately flavored curd rice (also known as thayir sadam or yogurt rice) is a perfect way to cool your palate after a spicy meal. Learn how to make this comfort food in under 30 minutes.

This classic curd rice (thayir sadam or yogurt rice) is a befitting finale to a sumptuous spicy meal. Make this comfort food in under 30-minutes.

Helpful articles on Indian cooking

New to Indian cooking? These articles will get you started in no time.

Indian flatbreads

From dunking into curries to dipping in pickles and raitas to scooping up a side dish, flatbreads are an integral part of the Indian diet. Here are a few of the popular Indian breads that go well with curries and side dishes.


The biggest challenge with rotis is to make them soft and puffy. Don’t worry; I’ve gotten down all the tips and tricks to nail a perfect roti or chapati. 

Learn to make soft and puffed up rotis like a pro – Are your rotis turning out like frisbees? Follow this recipe to make soft Rotis or Chapatis every time!


This is an easy paratha recipe for you to get started with. The step-by-step photos in this post will teach you how to make round, square, and triangular parathas in no time.

This foolproof recipe for plain paratha results in the most crispy and flaky layers possible – just follow the step by step recipe!

Naan (Plain, butter, and garlic)

Though naan is traditionally made in a clay oven (tandoor), you can make it at home without one. This easy-to-follow post will teach you how to make pillowy soft plain, butter, or garlic Indian naan bread at home using your stovetop. 

Plain, Butter and Garlic naan recipe
Easily make pillowy soft naan bread with this plain, butter, and garlic naan recipe.


Poori is a deep-fried bread that is often served for brunch or lunch with aloo bhaji (spicy potato side dish) or shrikhand (sweetened hung yogurt). The recipe below will give you all the tips and tricks to make puffed-up pooris.

Poori is a deep fried Indian bread commonly consumed as breakfast or sometimes as a meal accompanied by Aloo Subzi (Potato gravy). Here’s a fail-proof recipe to make those puffed up pooris that we all love!

the best FLATBREAD recipes

30+ Authentic Indian Flatbread Recipes

From naan to parathas to many different types of rotis, this list of 30+ Indian flatbread recipes will not disappoint. They are perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner with a delicious bowl of Indian curry. You can also enjoy them for breakfast or as a snack with a hot cup of tea.

Vegetarian side dishes

Check out some of the popular vegetarian side dishes that are perfect for everyday meals as well as special occasions. We love eating paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and include it in our diet at least once a week.

Kadhai paneer

Restaurant-style kadhai paneer is made with freshly ground spices, chunks of paneer, and a blend of onions, peppers, and a spicy masala sauce. It’s a filling vegetarian dinner, perfect for busy weeknights.

This restaurant-style Kadhai paneer is made with freshly ground spices, chunks of paneer, and a blend of onions, peppers, and a spicy masala sauce. Serve it with fresh roti or naan for a filling weeknight dinner.

Palak paneer

If you have never had palak or saag paneer before, think of it as a mildly spicy, creamy curry made from spinach and cottage cheese. The silky texture makes it a popular dish to dunk your naans in. Check out this recipe below.

This simple and easy Palak Paneer (saag paneer) recipe is a healthier take on the popular restaurant-style spinach and cottage cheese curry. Learn how to make it quickly using an Instant Pot or stovetop. 

Paneer makhani

Learn how to make your favorite take-out curry –  restaurant-style paneer butter masala or paneer makhani at home in less than 40 minutes!

Follow this easy and simplified recipe to make Restaurant-style Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani at home!

Matar paneer

Matar Paneer recipe combines green peas (matar) with cottage cheese cubes (paneer) in a creamy tomato onion-based gravy. This delectable dish with a hint of garam masala pairs really well with warm rotis or naans.

Paneer lovers rejoice! Here’s a delicious and creamy, easy restaurant-style matar paneer recipe that you’ve got to check out.

Aloo palak (potato and spinach curry)

This comforting recipe for aloo palak (aloo saag) comes together in under 30 minutes for a delicious vegan side dish. Made in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, this simple potato and spinach curry pairs perfectly with fresh roti, paratha, or rice.

Healthy, hearty, and ready in under 30 minutes, this simple recipe for aloo saag makes a delicious vegetarian entree perfect for busy weeknights.

Masala aloo (spicy Bombay potatoes)

Simple, flavorful, and crispy, this Instant Pot Bombay Aloo recipe comes together in 30 minutes for a side dish your whole family will love. With directions for Instant Pot and stovetop, you can easily make this vegan and gluten-free spiced potato recipe any night of the week.

Fluffy on the inside and crispy and spiced on the outside, these roasted Bombay Potatoes are a vegan and gluten-free side dish you can easily whip up in your Instant Pot or stovetop in under 30 minutes.

Aloo Sabzi (easy Indian potatoes)

Learn how to make this classic Indian potato recipe in under 30 minutes using a pressure cooker like Instant Pot. This versatile dish is easy to make, and it is perfect for those who are new to Indian cooking.

Aloo Recipe – This classic Indian Potato recipe is this easy and quick side dish that is perfect for those who are new to Indian cooking. Pair with rice and dal to make a complete meal or savor it with rotis or pooris

Jeera aloo

Indian cuisine is known for its lavish use of spices and for being time-consuming. When you are beginning to cook Indian food, these facts alone can make it intimidating. Don’t worry; there are enough and more Indian food recipes that can be made in less than 30 minutes and need just a few spices. This jeera aloo recipe is one such example.

Jeera Aloo Recipe – Made by sauteeing potatoes (aloo) in a tempering of olive oil and cumin (jeera) seeds, this simple yet delicious side dish is perfect for those who are new to Indian cooking. Pair with rice and dal to make a complete meal. 

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Aloo gobi

Aloo Gobi is the quintessential Indian way of cooking potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower  (gobi). It is a classic side dish that is best served hot with warm rotis.

Aloo Gobi is a vegan and gluten-free dish that is an eternal favorite at all Indian restaurants across the globe. Learn how to make this Punjabi-style cauliflower and potato curry in less than 30 minutes using an Instant Pot or over the stovetop.

Baingan bharta

Baingan bharta is a smoky-flavored curry made by mashing fire-roasted eggplants and cooking them in a rich onion-tomato gravy. A popular dish from North India, Baingan bharta pairs well with roti or rice.

Making Baingan Bharta (roasted eggplants) is easier than you think. All you need is patience and a good recipe :-). Make this delectable dish today!

Bhindi do pyaaza

If you love okras, this dish is for you. Made with a copious amount of onions and bhindi (okra), of course, this side dish pairs well with rotis.

Bhindi-do-pyaza or stir-fried okra with onions combines okra with twice the amount of onions and a few spices to create a delectable dish that is a hot favorite with okra lovers. This caramelized onion and okra dish takes all of 20 minutes to cook and goes well with rotis and dal.

Bhindi masala

This air fryer bhindi recipe is an even easier version of my already simple bhindi masala recipe. Not only does the air fryer make this Indian okra dish easy to prepare, but it also cooks okra perfectly and is not the least bit slimy. This makes air fryer okra a popular dish even with kids, especially when served with fresh roti or rice, accompanied by dal.

You'll love this air fryer version of Punjabi bhindi masala. It comes together in less than 30 minutes with very little hands-on time and yields perfect results every time!

Cabbage kootu

Cabbage kootu is a simple South Indian side dish that needs less than 30 minutes to cook. Pairs well with rice accompanied with sambar or rasam.

Cabbage kootu – This delightful combination of cabbage and chana dal sabzi is a simple and delicious accompaniment to rice and sambar. Make this easy vegetable dish in about 30 minutes using your Instant Pot.

Beans poriyal

Beans poriyal is traditionally made over the stovetop, but this Instant-Pot version will blow your mind – because it pressure cooks in zero minutes. Pair it with rice and your favorite curry for a complete meal.

You'll love this South Indian dish, beans poriyal: a simple stir-fry of crisp green beans, light spices, and fresh coconut—perfectly cooked in an Instant Pot.

Turiya bhaji

Turai or Tori vegetable (ridge gourd in English) can be made either as a curry or a dry side dish. Get the recipe to make South Indian-style turiya or perey upkari. It is a simple dish made by stir-frying the gourd and finishing it with a coconut garnish.

This quick and easy Turai / ridge gourd recipe is a keeper. It takes only a few ingredients and steps and yet yields a delicious and satisfying side dish.

Non-vegetarian side dish

Some of these non-vegetarian side dishes also double up as appetizers or starters. Check out these amazing chicken, seafood, and egg-based side dishes.

Tandoori salmon

This salmon tikka cooks on the pan or in a pressure cooker using Mealthy CrispLid to achieve that fresh out-of-tandoor flavor.

Spicy and tangy bite-size pieces of salmon are grilled to perfection to make this delicious dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make. 

Tandoori chicken

While Tandoori chicken is often served as a starter/appetizer, it makes a great side dish with naan too.

This authentic Tandoori chicken recipe will make the most flavorful and authentic chicken that is crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside – just like it is supposed to be! The recipe includes both Instant Pot and oven version. 

Tandoori chicken tikka

This delicious, tender Tandoori chicken tikka recipe takes only 30 minutes! Try making it on your stovetop or an air fryer!

Chicken ghee roast

Chicken Ghee Roast is made by stir-frying (or roasting as they call it in India) chicken in fairly copious amounts of ghee (clarified butter) and a medley of spices. This recipe is truly one of a kind – I highly recommend you try it!

Indulge your senses with this simple and straightforward recipe to make the iconic Kundapur chicken ghee roast (a fiery and tangy delicacy from Mangalore) at home.  

Masala egg roast

For days when you don’t want to make an elaborate meal, make this easy masala egg roast recipe that goes well with a side of curd rice.

Masala Egg roast is perfect for days when you want to make a quick, simple, and healthy dish to feed your kids when they come home ravenously hungry after school or from their activities.


If you grew up in an Indian household as I did, there is a high probability that you had dal (lentil soup) for at least one of your meals. Here are a few of my favorite dal recipes that I constantly make at home.

Dal palak (spinach dal)

Mildly spiced and oh-so-creamy, this spinach dal (dal palak) recipe comes together in under 30 minutes for a protein-packed meal everyone will enjoy. This hearty, vegetarian spinach dahl cooks up in one pot for a comforting meal you can easily pair with fresh rice or roti.

Love lentil soups? Try this creamy dal palak (spinach dal) recipe. Takes 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or stovetop for a quick and easy vegetarian dish.

Dal fry

This recipe for dal fry comes from my mom’s kitchen and is fabulous if you ask me. I know I am biased, but I would love for you to try it and share your opinion.

This recipe for Dal Fry is very close to my heart because it comes from my mom’s kitchen. This is my humble attempt to recreate the hearty and lip-smacking dal my mom makes in an Instant Pot. Stovetop recipe is included as well.

Tadka dal

With toor dal as its key ingredient, this tadka dal is easy to make, needs only a few ingredients, and makes for a nutritious accompaniment to roti or rice.

One pot recipes are the best! That’s why you’ll love this Tadka dal (tempered dal) recipe – make it in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker – and you’ll have your meal ready in no time.

Dal makhani

If you have never had Dal Makhani before, think of it as a creamy, lightly-spiced curry made from whole urad dal and red kidney beans (rajma). You could easily overpower the dish with spices but don’t. The stars of this dish are the lentils – let them shine.  

Restaurant-Style Dal Makhani – You've got to try this creamy delicious lentil curry that graces the menus of Indian restaurants worldwide. Learn how to replicate the flavors of this traditionally slow-cooked curry quickly in an Instant Pot

Moong dal

If you are looking for a comforting, healthy, and easy weeknight meal, you’ll love this flavorful recipe for moong dal (yellow lentil soup). Also known as mung dhal soup, it’s a vegan-friendly lentil dish that pairs perfectly with rice, rotis, and many other popular Indian dishes. Make it in your Instant Pot or over the stovetop.

Moong dal (Yellow lentil soup) is a flavorful and delicious lentil dish that makes for an easy weeknight meal. Best of all? It's healthy too!


Raitas are a perfect way to cool your palate. Here are a few raita recipes that are a keeper!

Cucumber tomato raita

This cooling yogurt-based accompaniment is perfect for balancing the spice and heat in Biryanis and Pulaos. Learn how to make it in under 10 minutes.

Boondi raita

Boondi raita is probably the easiest raita recipe out there. All you need is 5 minutes to get this yogurt dish together!

Boondi raita is made by soaking crispy chickpea flour balls in spice-infused creamy yogurt. Serve it with biryanis or with rotis and a side dish – it is the perfect way to wrap up your meal. 

Cucumber raita

Cucumber raitas are an integral part of an Indian meal. Cucumbers and yogurt both have a cooling effect and will help settle your stomach after spicy food. Try this easy recipe today.

This delicious, cooling Indian raita is made of grated cucumber combined with creamy yogurt, cilantro, and tempered with curry leaves. This yogurt dip is a perfect way to wrap up a spicy Indian meal. 

A collage of 4 images with a caption that says 30+ Easy Instant Pot Rice Recipes
30 Easy Instant Pot Rice Recipes


10+ Raita Recipes

Bookmark this collection of 30+ easy Instant Pot Rice Recipes – they’ll come in handy when you are in the mood to switch up your rice routine. From Indian Instant Pot recipes like chicken biryani to global recipes such as Mexican rice, you’ll find a variety of options to choose from.

Other collection of Indian recipes to check out

  • Rice side dishes – Check out this round-up of 25+ best rice side dish recipes you can pair with curries or meat such as chicken, pork, etc
  • 30+ Authentic Indian curry recipes – Learn all you need to know about Indian curries and get some easy and authentic recipes that’ll get you cooking in no time.
  • 10+ Indian chutney recipes – These authentic and tantalizing Indian chutney recipes are just what you need to elevate your meals. Check out this collection of 10+ popular chutney recipes that are perfect with Indian breakfast, snacks, and main courses too.
  • 45+ Indian sweets and dessert recipes – Check out this extensive list of easy dessert recipes that are perfect for dinner parties, festivals, or for days when you are just craving something sweet.
  • 35+ Best Indian breakfast recipes – Running out of ideas on what to make for breakfast? Here’s a list of easy Indian breakfast recipes for your inspiration so that you are never bored eating the same things over and over. 

Get dinner on the table faster!

Learn my meal planning + prepping secrets to make fresh Indian food without spending hours in the kitchen.

An overhead shot of Gujarathi kadhi along with rice, rotis and a side of lemon


simple indian meals

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