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What to Serve with Dahl? 10 BEST Side Dishes

If you appreciate Indian cuisine and simple meal ideas, dhal may be the perfect fit for your taste buds.

This dish contains nutritious and tasty ingredients such as lentils, tomatoes, garlic, and sometimes eggplant.

It has a similar taste to curry but with a more liquid consistency.

It can be served as a standalone dish or can be served with other dishes as well.

But, to complete the meal, it’s best to add complementary dishes like rice or bread so everyone leaves the table feeling full.

So, here’s our look at some of the best side dishes for dahl.

Let’s begin.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Dahl?

Variety is essential when it comes to serving side dishes with dahl.

Although dahl is delicious and satisfying on its own, having it regularly can become monotonous.

Mixing the side dishes can bring new flavors, textures, and temperatures to the meal, making it more exciting and enjoyable.

Another benefit of serving side dishes with dahl is to balance out the flavors.

Dahl can be pretty flavorful but also quite spicy.

In addition, side dishes can help make the meal more filling.

All in all, serving side dishes with dahl is an essential aspect of the meal.

It can enhance the overall dining experience by adding variety, balance, and satisfaction.

Experimenting with different side dishes can help to find the perfect pairing for your personal taste.

What to Serve with Dahl? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Knowing the correct item to pair is vital in creating a much more wholesome and delicious meal.

So, here’s our take on the 10 best side dishes to serve with Dahl.

1. Rasam

Rasam is a famous Indian soup typically made using tamarind juice, cumin, chili, lemon, pepper, and tomatoes.

It makes an excellent pair for dhal, which is often served over rice.

The main ingredients for this side dish include rasam powder, curry leaves, tomatoes, tamarind paste, garlic, crushed black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander, and salt.

This traditional rasam recipe delivers a tangy and spicy combo that helps balance out the rich and creamy dhal.

Thus, making it a great addition to any dhal meal.

2. Pilau Rice

One authentic and tasty side dish to serve with dhal is Pilau rice.

You can easily make this dish at home and trusts us; it’ll be better than most ready-to-eat varieties sold in supermarkets.

And the best part is this side dish doesn’t take long to prepare.

It’ll take roughly around 20 minutes.

It typically includes flavorful ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and bay leaves.

The spice-packed dish pairs exceptionally well with Dahl.

After all, Dahl is heavenly with anything that’s rice.

You can also serve the rice with an excellent spicy dhal and add naan on the side.

This is an entirely satisfying combination, and you’ll likely end up repeating it again.

3. Onion Bhajis

Oven-baked onion bhajis are a great side dish or starter that pairs exceptionally well with our main hero, “dhal”.

Onion bhajis are a popular dish in curry houses.

The dish is composed of shredded veggies and a mixture of spices, which are then deep-fried.

It can get quite messy while preparing onion bhajis, but it’s worth the taste and flavor.

However, if you want to avoid the mess, you can also prepare onion bhajis using the oven, which is considered more manageable and healthier.

You can keep them as an appetizer post your dahl treat, or you can simply dip them into the dahl and snack on them.

4. Naan

Naan bread is not your ordinary side dish for dahl.

It’s an essential companion for any dhal dish.

For those unaware, naan is bread with a pillow-like soft texture that’s perfect for dipping and soaking the dhal’s flavorful sauce.

Moreover, making naan at home is quite simple and easy.

But you can also buy it from any restaurant that sells the dish.

So, if you’re searching for a dish that can satisfy your hunger without taking away the authentic taste of dahl, naan is a great pick.

Plus, you can also add cheese or butter to enhance the flavor of your naan.

5. Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a type of rice that’s flavourful and offers many health benefits.

It is considered a staple food in many Asian households and, in this case, considered an excellent side dish for Dahl.

You can find uncooked basmati rice in grocery stores, but if you’re not well-versed in the rice, it’s best to buy cooked basmati rice.

If you’re in a hurry, you can cook the rice via a pressure cooker to help reduce the cooking duration.

The rice’s aromatic fused with the spicy and rich taste profile of the dahl allows you to enjoy the meal to its fullest.

Let’s say it’s enough to make you want more.

6. Roasted Tomato & Egg Chutney

This is not a well-known recipe, but it’s undoubtedly a tasty side dish that compliments a bowl of dahl pretty well.

So, if you’re running out of “desi” dishes to pair your dahl with, consider using this dish.

This isn’t exactly a complex dish.

Hence, even if you’ve never made the dish, don’t sweat about it.

You can make it using simple home ingredients like tomatoes, salt, garlic, roasted chilies, and egg to create this delicious treat.

To enjoy at its best, smash the eggs and have it with your bowl of dahl.

This will create a delicious flavor-packed meal that can help energize your day.

7. Garlic Lemon Pork Ribs

Dahl is quite versatile, and it doesn’t just work well with veggies.

It pairs pretty well with meat dishes as well.

One such item is garlic lemon pork ribs, and which serve as a great side dish for dahl.

Plus, you don’t need to go all out with the ingredients.

You can use daily ingredients like garlic, pork ribs, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil.

Just make sure you cook the ribs thoroughly.

The meatiness and juiciness of the ribs combined with the dahl’s hearty flavor help deliver a whole new dish.

And the best part is, you can still taste the dahl as it is.

8. Traditional steamed modak

Modak is a popular Indian dessert.

It’s a type of boiled, steamed, or fried dumpling with jaggery and coconut tiling.

The cover is made using either wheat or rice flour.

You can either make it in its original form or create it according to your liking but without stripping away its original form.

This will withhold its traditional taste, which will be better suited with a sizzling bowl of dahl.

9. Bombay potatoes

Who doesn’t love potatoes? They’re a great team player and make a great side dish for dahl.

You can quickly ditch the usual roasties or chips and settle with a serving of Bombay potatoes.

These are roasted potatoes with a fluffy texture that effortlessly complements the thick and spicy sauce of the dahl.

And if you’re looking to get the best from both dishes, we suggest letting them rest for a day and then eating them.

10. Mango Chutney

Chutneys are yet another popular Indian treat.

Mango chutney, in particular, is a sweetened condiment made using fresh mangoes and paired excellently with dahl.

These create a great side dish for dahl as the sweetness balances well with the spicy kick of the dahl.

You can further serve other items like grilled, chilled, roasted veggies, etc., alongside this mango chutney.


Dahl is an excellent and rich dish and is considered an essential part of Indian cuisine.

It combines earthy flavor with a spicy twist and comes with several health benefits as well.

But sometimes, it can be challenging to understand which side dishes deserve to be served alongside this decadent dish.

Fortunately, you can try and test some of the side dishes we’ve mentioned and find one that suits your taste.

The dishes we’ve mentioned above are excellent accompaniments to dahl, and we hope you enjoy them.

Yield: 4 Servings

What to Serve with Dahl? 10 BEST Side Dishes

What to Serve with Dahl? 10 BEST Side Dishes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Rasam
  • Pilau Rice
  • Onion Bhajis
  • Naan
  • Basmati Rice
  • Roasted Tomato & Egg Chutney
  • Garlic Lemon Pork Ribs
  • Traditional steamed modak
  • Bombay potatoes
  • Mango Chutney


  1. Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  2. Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  3. Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  4. Prepare and serve for delicious meal!

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