The 30 best Indian side dishes for Paratha bread, from pickles to curries and drinks for a filling and delicious meal.
What is paratha?
Paratha, not to be confused with parotta, chapathi or roti, is 1 of the most popular types of Indian bread (there are about 30 different Indian breads.) This unleavened flatbread is crisp yet still flaky and chewy, with many layers created by slapping the whole wheat dough many times. The way it's made is a little similar to how a French croissant is made- but you're folding ghee (and not butter) in the layers, after which the paratha is baked in a tava then shallow-fried.
If you're wondering what to eat with paratha, here are some of the best Indian side dishes that go very well with this Asian bread! (Note: whilst naan, biryani, chapatti etc are all very popular Indian sides, I've not included them in this list of sides as I think it'll make the meal too carb-heavy. )
- If making your own paratha, you can vary them by stuffing them with different fillings, such as:
- spiced mash potatoes (aloo ka parantha- the most common type of stuffed paratha)
- other vegetables such as beetroot, cauliflower, carrots, spinach and green peas
- mung bean dal
- paneer cheese
- chicken keema
- Whilst ghee is traditional, you can also substitute with vegetable oil to be healthier.
- If you can buy frozen parathas, you can use them to substitute for puff pastry in a pinch, or even as the base for a pizza!
- Food is sometimes eaten with the hands in India- always remember to use the right hand as the left is considered unclean!
- Frozen parathas are quite high quality these days, and taste almost as good as homemade ones made from scratch.
The typical paratha is made with lots of ghee (animal fat) so, unfortunately not very good for you. You can tweak the recipe to make it healthier but it's best to eat in moderation.
Papadum (Lentil chips)
Also known as appalam (Tamil Nadu), apadam (Andhra Pradesh), happala (Karnataka) and papad, these Indian snacks are served on the side at many Indian restaurants. You can get them already fried in the grocery store but I highly recommend frying your own- we do this very often in my house and all our guests love them!
They are sold uncooked as a packet of flat discs- the name actually means flattened disc- which you can then deep-fry or air fry. (If you live outside of Asia, you'll need go to an Indian super market to get them.)
Tip: there is no need to salt the pappadum as the pre-cooked versions are already spiced.
Bhalla (Lentil balls)
I have yet to have an Indian meal that did not come with 1 of these sauces on the side!
- Coriander chutney
- Some recipes mix mint in too
- Date chutney
- Tomato chutney
- There are red tomato chutneys and green tomato ones!
- Mango chutney
If you have too much chutney, you can use them as spreads for sandwiches- I made too much of a delicious mango chutney the other day and the extra tasted great in a chicken sandwich!
The yogurt helps to cool the spice and is a great side dish for stuffed parathas. To make an easy raita dish, mix full-fat yoghurt (you can use Greek yogurt), diced red onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala and citrus juice (lime or lemon)- garnish with some coriander and mint leaves.
You can think of achar as Indian kimchi. Achars differ based on the part of India you're looking at- some use sesame oil in their recipes whilst other parts prefer mustard oil.
The most popular achar is mango pickle (aam ka achar) but you can also try:
Tip: if you don't have time to ferment homemade achar, you can get ready made ones in the Indian grocery stores.
Note: in Singapore, we have a pickle that is also called Achar but it's made differently.
Many Indian households make their own curds by fermenting milk with naturally acidic liquids, such as lemon juice, and eat it almost everyday. Click through for. a simple 2-ingredient curd recipe!
Dal/ dahl/ daal
Dal is 1 of the most ubiquitous Indian side dishes- they're made from lentils which are a great plant-based protein as well as other split pulses such as peas and beans.
South Indian soup
Meat and vegetable curries provide a delicious sauce for parathas- in Singapore and Malaysia, we love to dip our roti prata (roti canai) in curry sauce (or sugar), even for breakfast!
Lassi, an Indian yogurt-based dish, comes in both sweet and salty forms. My favourite is mango lassi- it's so good the only time 1 of my friends quarrelled with her husband was over his failure to get her a mango lassi!
Other popular lassis include:
- saffron lassi
- Makkhaniya lassi (lassi with lumps of butter)
- there is even a cannabis Bhang lassi!
What are your favourite Indian side dishes for Paratha? Let me know if I've missed something out- if not, I'd be super grateful if you share this post on your social media if you've found it helpful!